Undo Moving a File to Trash in Mac OS X

Oct 28, 2010 - 7 Comments

Finder If you accidentally sent a file to the Trash can on a Mac, you can undo that file or multiple files movement into the Trash with one of two easy tricks to essentially undo that file action.

You can use either method below to accomplish this, with the “Undo” command working if the trash action was the most recent, otherwise you’d want to rely on the “Put Back” method to restore a files location and undo the Trash move.

Try the “Undo” Command to Move a File From Trash in OS X

The first to try is a simple keyboard shortcut for Undo, this works to “Undo” the file trashing if it just happened and was the most recent action on the Mac. For example, if you just now put a file in the Trash, hit Command+Z and it will “Undo” it and move the file back out of the Trash. But the Undo command only works if it was the last activity, so if the file was sent to the Trash a while ago you can use the Put Back trick instead.

Use “Put Back” to Undo an Accidentally Trashed File on the Mac

The Put Back command returns the file(s) to their location in OS X Finder prior to deletion. This only works if the file is located in the Trash, not if the Trash has been emptied.

  • Open the Trash can
  • Select the file(s) you want to put back in their original location
  • Right-click on the file(s)
  • Choose “Put Back” to send the file to its original location within the Finder

send trash file to original location

You can also do this with a keyboard shortcut from the Trash can. Select the files within the Trash and hit Command+Delete and it will also move them back to their original location before they were sent to Trash.

You may recall that Command+Delete normally sends files to the Trash from within the Finder, but if you’re within the Trash and a file in that Trash folder is selected, the functionality is reversed.

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Posted by: Manish Patel in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

7 Comments

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  1. Roberto Carlos says:

    False, I have not the option with Right-click = “Put Back”
    Mac OS X version 10.5.8
    or the option is in Snow Leopard????

    • Robin says:

      This feature has been in Mac OS for years, it may be labeled as something else like “Send to Original Location” prior to Snow Leopard.

      I’m in SL so I can’t tell you though but I recall using this even in Mac OS 9!

    • katak says:

      same. there is no “Put Back” option. my mac 10.5.8. even any word that have a same function.

  2. markux says:

    in Snow Leopard there isn’t this option

  3. deanomarr says:

    Command + Z does the same thing and you don’t need the trash open to do it.

  4. Ticino says:

    On my Snow Leopard there is no option between “Open with” and “Empty Trash” as your screen shot shows.

    Command Z has no effect.

    Is there some hidden preference we have to enable, perhaps? Does this work solely if you have only just put something in the rubbish, not discovered later that there is something there that you inadvertently deleted and you want to return to it’s original location?

  5. Rowan says:

    This only works on files deleted using finder, files deleted using itunes etc won’t have this option.

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