If you have lots of files in Mac Trash, but can't clear the entire trash for whatever reason, you can use a convenient feature to delete certain files or individual folders from the trash. This lets you selectively target and delete some items that are in Mac Trash without emptying and deleting everything, which can be useful if you want to see other files in the Trash before deleting them completely from Mac.
For example, if you have 1000 items in the Recycle Bin on a Mac, but you want to delete a single 8 GB file, you can target the 8 GB file you want to delete right away while ignoring the other items in the trash. Using this convenient "delete instantly from the trash" is quite simple, so it works.
To delete specific files from the Recycle Bin on Mac without emptying the entire Recycle Bin
- Open the Recycle Bin on Mac as usual by selecting it from the Dock
- Find and select the file or item you want to delete individually in the Recycle Bin
- Right-click the individual file or name icon and select "Delete Immediately"
- Confirm that you are immediately to delete the selected file or document from the Recycle Bin
- Repeat with other specific files to delete them immediately as desired
This is a particularly useful trick if you are tripping a very large or messy trash on a Mac, since you can target individual large files to free up disk space.
In the screenshot examples shown here, a 7GB Xcode installer was specifically aimed at instant deletion from the Recycle Bin, without deleting the other files found in the Recycle Bin.
Some other useful tips for managing large trash folders are to use Quick Look to view files in the trash (since trash items cannot be opened but you can preview them with Quick Look) and learn how to undelete files to The Recycle Bin on the Mac with the "Replace" feature that sends the file from the Recycle Bin back to its original location, handy if you decide you don't want to delete that file or item after all. And of course, if you forget to empty the trash all the time, you can always put the trash automatically on the Mac, which will remove items after they have been in the trash for 30 days.
If this sounds faintly known, it may be because elsewhere in the Mac Finder you can use "Delete Instantly" to bypass the trash completely and immediately delete a file from the Mac, without having to use the trash or empty the trash at all .