Trash was one of the Mac’s original killer apps. Here are a few tips to help you get more out of – and into – your Mac’s Trash.

First, there are three primary ways to move files and folders from the Finder into the Trash.

1. The most common method is to simply drag the file or folder into the Trash.

2. You can also use a mouse with the right-click feature enabled to quickly move files into the Trash. Simply right-click on the file you wish to move to the Trash. A contextual menu will open. Scroll through the menu list and choose – guess what – “Move to Trash.”

3. A faster method is to click on a file once to highlight it, then hold down the Command and Delete keys at the same time. The file will instantly move into the Trash. This is especially useful when you’re deleting many files. Bonus tip: you can move many files into the Trash at once by first holding down the Command key, then clicking once on each file you want to move into the Trash. The files you want to move into the Trash should be highlighted. Next, and without releasing the Command key, simply click “Delete.” All the files will move into the Trash.

There are also a few different ways empty the Trash.

1. In the Finder menu at the upper left corner of the screen, select “Finder > Empty Trash.”

2. In the Dock, click down on the Trash icon for two seconds. A menu will open with an option to “Empty Trash.”

3. In the Finder, hold down the Shift-Command-Delete keys all together at once. The familiar “Are you sure you want to remove the items in the Trash permanently” dialog will pop up.

4. If you want to empty the Trash without the “Are you sure you want to remove the items in the Trash permanently” dialog, hold down the Option-Shift-Command-Delete keys together. Again, this will only work when the Finder is active. The easiest way to activate the Finder is to click on the Finder icon in your dock, or by simply clicking on your desktop. More on this below.

Sometimes there are stubborn files that refuse to be deleted from the Trash. Usually you can force delete these files by holding the Option key as you choose Empty Trash from the Finder’s File menu. If that does not work, read this article:

Note: Mac users often say “In the Finder,” or “activate the Finder.” Finder is OS X’s primary application. You’re using the Finder whenever you’re moving files around on your desktop, or when you’re working with your various “Documents,” “Movies,” “Photos,” etc folders. You can tell if you’re using the Finder when you see the word “Finder” in the upper left corner of your Mac’s screen. Read the following article to learn more about Finder. Some of the features described are for Leopard only, but many of the concepts translate to Tiger and earlier versions of OS X:


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