To permanently delete files and folders on your Mac, you need to put them in the Trash (or Bin) and empty it. To delete large files, you can use Storage Settings in System Settings. Alternatively, you can use a third-party Mac shredder app.
Hi, I’m Devansh. Since I first became a Mac user, I’ve made it a habit to delete unwanted files permanently every week on my iMac and MacBook.
In this article, I’ll show you the best ways to empty the Trash and delete files permanently. I’ll also introduce you to the best third-party file eraser tools for Mac.
If you want to ensure that you delete files permanently on your Mac without any possibility of recovery, keep reading!
- Method 1: The Native Method to Delete Files Permanently on Mac
- Method 2: Use Storage Settings to Bypass Trash
- Method 3: Use Third-Party File Eraser Tools
Method 1: The Native Method to Delete Files Permanently on Mac
When you delete a file on Mac, it sits in the Trash (known as ‘Bin’ outside the US) in the dock until you empty it manually. Here are the steps to do so.
Step 1: Click the Trash in the dock.
Step 2: Click Empty in the upper-right corner.
Step 3: Click Empty Trash in the warning message box. To skip this message, press the Option key when you click Empty.
Alternatively, right-click the Trash in the dock and click Empty Trash.
If you want to avoid doing this step manually in the future, you can set it up to delete files automatically every 30 days. Open Finder, click Finder in the menu bar, Settings, and go to the Advanced tab. Enable Remove items from the Trash after 30 days.
Method 2: Use Storage Settings to Bypass Trash
There’s another way to delete large files and apps on your Mac permanently.
Open System Settings (or System Preferences), go to General > About > Storage > Storage Settings. Click the ‘i’ icon next to Applications or Documents.
Here, you can browse through files and permanently delete them. Remember, the files you delete using this method will bypass the Trash, so do it with caution.
Method 3: Use Third-Party File Eraser Tools
If you found the above steps too time-consuming, opt for a third-party file eraser tool instead. The most user-friendly and intuitive ones are CleanMyMac X, BuhoCleaner, and BitRaser.
These tools also provide junk removal, malware protection, and optimization features. BuhoCleaner and CleanMyMac have a free trial available so you can try them without any worries.
Here are some common questions about permanently deleting files on Mac.
How To Delete a File That Won’t Delete?
First, ensure that you’re not using that file. If it’s open in a program, quit the program. If it still doesn’t work, put your Mac in Safe Mode and retry. Since Safe Mode turns off startup items, you can delete that file without interference.
Can You Bypass Trash When Deleting a File?
Yes, there’s a keyboard shortcut for that. Select the file you want to delete and press Option + Command + Delete. In the warning box that appears, click Delete to confirm it. If you delete files this way, you won’t need to perform the extra step of emptying the Trash!
How to Delete Locked Files on Your Mac?
If a file is locked, click Continue to move it to the Trash.
To unlock the file before you move it to the Trash, right-click it, click Get Info, and deselect Locked. You need to be logged in as an administrator to do this.
How to Permanently Delete Files from External Drive?
You can delete the files as you usually would on your Mac, by dragging them to the Trash in the dock or right-clicking and selecting Move to Trash. Be sure to empty the Trash before you eject the drive. To wipe the drive, open Disk Utility, select the drive under External, and click Erase in the top-right corner.
You can delete files permanently on your Mac by dragging them to the Trash and emptying it. You can also find and delete large files using Storage Settings in System Settings. If you want to skip all these steps, use a file eraser tool like BohoCleaner.
Whether to delete sensitive files or make your Mac run faster, knowing how to delete files permanently can often be handy. Feel free to use any of the above methods—Trash, Storage Settings, or a third-party app—based on your goals and use case.
Do you have further questions about permanently deleting files on Mac? Let me know in the comments!