4 Useful Trash Keyboard Shortcuts Every Mac User Should Know (Plus, 7 Bonus Trash Tips)
Trash is one of those overlooked aspects of Mac OS X that you probably don’t think much about, most of us just drag a file into it, empty the Trash to delete a document and free up disk space, and that’s about it. That’s fine, but there are also a handful of genuinely useful keyboard shortcuts that pertain to Trash on the Mac, and if you spend any time in the Mac file system they’re worth learning.
These keystrokes must have something in Finder selected in order to work, whether that’s a single file, a folder, or a whole group of documents. We’ll cover 4 handy keyboard shortcuts for the Mac Trash, and also review some other handy Trash tips…
1: Send an Item to Trash Instantly
- Command+Delete with any file or folder selected will send it instantly to the Trash in Mac OS X
2: Return Items from Trash to Original Location
- Command+Delete with anything currently in the Trash selected returns it to the original location in the file system. You can also access this by right-clicking an item and choosing “Put Back”
3: Empty Trash
- Shift+Command+Delete will immediately empty the Trash. This is the safer approach since it brings up the warning dialog telling you the action is permanent.
4: Force Empty Trash – Without Warning
- Shift+Option+Command+Delete will immediately force empty the Trash with no warnings, regardless of what’s in the Trash.
7 Bonus Tips for the Trash
- You can delete a specific file from Trash without emptying the entire thing
- You probably know that you can’t open files from the Trash, but that doesn’t mean you can’t preview them. If you want to investigate a file in the Trash without moving it, you can use Quick Look to preview a file in the Trash
- Don’t want a file to be in the Trash, but can’t remember where it was originally? Use the “Put Back” feature to undo moving a file to Trash on Mac
- You can turn off the Empty Trash sound effects on the Mac if you don’t find them useful
- You can also “Secure Empty Trash” on a one-off basis, or set it to be the default setting by changing the Advanced Finder preferences, found under the Finder menu
- For the nostalgic, a Trash icon can be placed on the desktop like the good old days of System 9 and before by using symbolic links
- Forcibly empty the Trash when a file is locked or in use by turning to the command line, this will let you override every and any warning that may be encountered when attempting to delete the Trash, even if a file is locked or in use, but be forewarned as there’s no reverting!
Do you have any other helpful tips or tricks for managing the Trash on a Mac? Maybe you know some other great keyboard shortcuts for Mac Trash use? Share with us in the comments below!