How to Empty Trash on Mac to Free Up Mac Storage

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

The Mac trash can is fairly straightforward and easy to use, but if you're a new Mac user you may be wondering how to delete trash on a Mac. It's important to periodically empty Trash and purge files that you don't want anymore, so we’ll walk you through how to empty Trash on Mac.

Related: How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

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Why You’ll Love This Tip

  • Avoid running out of storage on your computer.
  • Get rid of files that you no longer want.
  • Delete sensitive files you want to get rid of.

How to Empty Trash on Mac

You can delete all files in Trash at once, or just specific files. We will cover both ways below. To learn more Mac and other Apple device tips, check out our Tip of the Day newsletter.

  1. First, make sure that none of the files that you wish to delete are currently open on your Mac. If they are, close them. 
  2. To empty Trash completely, right-click (or control-click) the Trash icon.

    Open Trash
  3. Click Empty Trash.

    Empty Trash
  4. In the pop-up confirmation window, click Empty Trash.

    Empty Trash
  5. If you wish to delete only some specific files rather than all the contents of your Trash, click on the Trash icon in your Dock to open the Trash folder
  6. Select the file(s) you wish to delete.
  7. Right-click the selected files, then click Delete Immediately.

    Delete Immediately

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of occasionally emptying your trash. This keeps your Mac organized and free of extra files you neither want nor need.

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Author Details

Devala Rees's picture

Author Details

Devala Rees

Devala Rees has been a writer since the age of eleven, and a loyal user of Apple products for even longer. His writing background is quite eclectic, from freelance professional articles to Hindu religious scholarship to fantasy novels. Much of his writing on various topics can be found on