How to Add a Trash Icon to the Desktop of Mac OS X
Long ago in a time far far away, OK really it was just prior to Mac OS X, there used to be a Trash icon on the Desktop. Yup, earlier versions of Mac OS didn’t have a Dock at all, and the Trash was just another item on the desktop, sitting in the bottom right corner.
For the nostalgic, you can easily replicate this functionality by using the command line to create a symbolic link of the actual functioning Trash to a folder named Trash on your desktop. That may sound complex but it’s really not, you can do it with a single line entered into the Terminal application.
How to Add a Trash Can to the Mac Desktop
Launch the Terminal app (found in /Applications/Utilities) and enter the following syntax exactly:
ln -s ~/.Trash ~/Desktop/Trash
Hit return, and a new folder named ‘Trash’ will appear on your desktop. This folder has direct access to the Trash in the Dock, thus any files or folders you drag here will be sent to the Trash as usual.
You can assign any icon you’d like to this folder to make it look like a Trash can, the image below is the actual Mac OS X trash icon in it’s 512x512px transparent PNG format:
Digging around the web can help to find the flat oldschool varieties from Mac OS 6, Mac OS 7, 8, and 9. Even earlier versions of Mac OS X had slightly different trash icon varieties.
Note that the desktop Trash can described here doesn’t have full Trash functionality, the icon won’t change if it’s full, and it also lacks the ability to eject disks that are dragged into the directory, but for those dreaming of the days of Trash on the desktop from Mac OS 7 they may find that acceptable.
If you want to remove the desktop Trash icon, just drag it to the (actual) Trash in the Dock where it will be deleted.