How to Force Empty Trash on macOS

No command is working. No keyboard shortcut helps. Have you tried to solve the typical situations like ‘file in use’ and ‘locked file’? Do you still find it impossible to Empty Trash? It may seem that you will never delete the files from your Trash on macOS. Both older versions like El Capitan and newer operating systems like Mojave might benefit from Force Empty Trash, but it is not always secure. You might need the help of your Terminal or third-party apps. So, here is how to Empty Trash or get rid of any item stored in the Trashcan.

First, discover how to do it with the help of a native utility called Terminal. Here, a Mac owner can issue any commands, and emptying trash is just one of them. Follow these instructions:

  • Go to Applications
  • Launch Terminal.
  • Enter cd ~/.Trash and push Return.
  • Enter sudo rm –R followed by a space.
  • Select the Trash icon in the Dock to launch a window with the information regarding all items stored in the Trash.
  • Pick everything you see and move to the Terminal window. This way, the user places the paths of all those items into the rm
  • Next, push Return and type the admin’s password.

Watch the Trash icon coming back to the empty condition. Now, there is a Command Line that you can apply to Force Secure Delete just anything you want.

Mind that the –f flag stands for the force deletion to rm. It is a rather dangerous trick, so do it only as a last resort. The presence of secure removal makes sure that the eliminated item is never recoverable. Type this caution:

sudo rm -f /file/to/delete

A beginner or average user should not play with such commands. Experts recommend that only experienced users work with the command line.

You may also ask about the locked or owned files that have to be eliminated. To get rid of such items, apply prefix sudo to the –rf flag variation of rm. It will activate the superuser opportunities. As a result, the system will overwrite any ownership issues or file locking. It is equally safe and threatening because of the superuser access. Enter this caution to activate this option:

sudo rm -rf /path/to/folder/that/you/want/to/remove/

Unexperienced users might want to try third-party software to guarantee security and ease of the process. In case you need to safely remove whatever you want from your Mac, from information stored on the startup disk to the external drive, you should better choose one of the available secure deletion applications offered by the third-party developers.

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