How to Force Empty Trash on Mac Effortlessly

Under usual circumstances, getting rid of the deleted files in your Mac should be a piece of cake. But, in certain cases, things will not go your way even with such an easy task. In other words, there are times in which you will have to struggle to empty your Mac’s trash. During the past period, search engines have received few queries related to such issue. In that case, you will have to force empty trash on Mac.

As a general practice, users tend to delete files that aren’t any longer needed. When these files are dragged and dropped to trash, they don’t exist in the original location. In fact, things might be OK as long as there are a couple of lightweight items in the trash. However, when the trash items gather in large numbers, it can be problematic due to two main reasons. First is that the deleted files require space to be saved in the hard disk too. When time goes on, it can consume a significant amount of space. The second reason is that these trash files can leave massive loads of junk files on the computer. As a result, you will experience a considerable loss of performance on your computer. So, things will become so frustrating when you don’t get the expected performance from your Mac. Therefore, it is exceptionally important to get rid of the trash files on a regular basis.

PS: here, you will find out how to empty trash on iPhone, and How to Uninstall Applications on Mac as well as how to easily fix unable to move message to trash on iPhone too.

Reasons why you cannot empty trash on the Mac?

Many individuals expect everything to happen smoothly when it comes to emptying trash files in Mac. In most of the cases, it is simple. In fact, it’s a matter of selecting the trash icon located on the dock and choosing Empty Trash option. If not, you will be able to use Command, Shift, and Delete keys together to delete the trash items.

However, things will not go your way all the time. There are times that things with your Mac may go wrong. Occasionally, you might notice that some of the junk files become a problem as they become undeletable. The reasons for trash files to become undeletable are mentioned below.

  • If you try to delete a file which is currently in use or opened by an app
  • If the respective file is used by an app that runs in the background.
  • Or if the name of the file you intend to delete has special characters
  • If the file is considered to be too important to be deleted by the system
  • If the file is corrupted and it requires to be repaired
  • Or if the respective file is under system protection integrity
  • If the file you intend to delete is locked. In this case, you will see a lock icon towards the bottom-left corner of the respective icon. Then, you will have to right-click on the respective file and select the option called ‘Get Info.’ If the respective file is marked as locked, you should deselect the same.

How to perform a force empty trash on Mac through its terminal?

Now, let’s learn how to do a force empty trash on Mac in a very effective way. If you cannot get rid of the items in the trash, you can use this option. In this case, we will be using the terminal, so you don’t need to download any third-party app.

If you are using Mac OS X, you can use the command sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/ to do this. In that OS, the respective code will force empty trash on Mac without any issue. However, if you are using Mac El Capitan, Sierra, or a newer version of Mac, the process is bit different. You can follow the steps mentioned below with Mac’s terminal and force empty the trash for good.

  • 01. First of all, you should go to ‘Applications.’ If not, you can use the spotlight feature to open ‘Terminal.’

  • 02. Now that the terminal is opened, you should insert the command as mentioned below.
    sudo rm –R

  • Please make sure that there is a space after R and you must avoid inverted commas. Then, make sure that you hit the ‘Enter‘ key.
  • 03. Now, click on the Trash icon located in the dock. Then, you should pick all the items that are required to be deleted completely from your Mac’s Trash. Then, make sure that the files and folders are dragged to the Terminal window, which is already opened.
  • 04. Hit the ‘Enter‘ key to proceed to the next step.
  • 05. You will have to enter the Administrator password at this stage. However, the password you enter will not be displayed when you type it in the terminal.

  • 06. After entering the password correctly, hit the ‘Enter‘ button once again. This should complete the process.

  • Please note that the time it takes to complete the process will vary depending on the number of files. That means, the more the number of files, the longer it will take to empty the trash. So, be patient and wait for the results.

How to get back the files I have lost during force empty trash on Mac?

There are times you will regret emptying trash. For instance, what if you have accidentally deleted a file which is absolutely necessary? Is that it? Are those files gone forever? Not necessarily. Have you made a blunder in deleting the files in trash and you need to get back those files? Well, the good news is that it’s possible to get those files back no matter how they are lost. Even if you’ve intentionally deleted the files or it has happed due to malware attack, you can recover them.

The requirement, in this case, is that you will have to use a third-party tool to recover these files. Although there’re plenty of third-party tools to get it done, we strongly suggest you do good research beforehand. We have done lengthy research on this topic, and we were able to end up with a very powerful tool. It is called iMyFone AnyRecover.

Thanks to AnyRecover’s highly user-friendly interface and the data recovery modes, you can recover data faster than you think. To recover data, you don’t need to be an expert programmer. Instead, all you need is to follow the simple instructions provided. If you follow the instructions properly, you can retrieve all the files lost from the trash.

Another benefit associated with AnyRecover is that it supports all the storage devices you use. For instance, it can recover data from external hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives, etc. In addition to that, it can recover all the common types of files you use. You can recover documents, images, videos, audios, and many other files through this tool. So, if you have lost files due to forcing empty trash on Mac, AnyRecover is the best option.

Reasons to use iMyFone AnyRecover

Here are the reasons for you to rely on iMyFone AnyRecover.

  • iMyFone AnyRecover doesn’t require you to possess advanced knowledge in handling it because it is highly user-friendly.
  • It is compatible with more than 1000 file types.
  • This software is capable of recovering deleted files from all the storage devices. For instance, you can recover data from both internal and external storage devices using this software.
  • It allows you to preview the files prior to recover them, and that makes the process more accurate.
  • AnyRecover can recover data even from virtual disks, and that explains how powerful this tool is.

Get iMyFone AnyRecover

How to use AnyRecover to retrieve the files you have lost due to force empty trash on Mac

You may follow the steps mentioned below to get your lost files back in the hard drive.

  • 01. First, you should launch the iMyFone AnyRecover app using ‘Applications.’ Then, make sure that you select the option labeled ‘Trash Recovery.’

  • 02. Now, choose the type of files you intend to recover from the trash. Then, choose the option labeled ‘Scan.’ This will initiate the process of scanning.

  • 03. You will now see a new window in which the recoverable files are previewed. After observing it, you can go to the recovery process by pressing the ‘Recover‘ option.

  • If you want to make the recovery process more intense, you can use the ‘Deep Scan‘ mode as well. It will allow you to find more hidden files.

Try iMyFone AnyRecover

So, that’s how to force empty trash on Mac. If you have lost any files due to force emptying, you can use the tool we introduced. Good luck!


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