How to Delete Files on Mac

Aug 12, 2021 - 4 Comments

How to Delete Files on Mac

Ever wondered how to delete files on the Mac? Whether you got yourself a new Mac, switched from Windows, or just never really thought to delete files or folders before, you’ll find that it’s easy to remove unnecessary files from the filesystem anytime you want to.

There is more than one way to delete files on macOS, and we’ll show you both of the most common approaches.

How to Delete Files on Mac via Trash

The most common way for most users to delete files on the Mac is by using the Trash Can. This is a pretty simple and straightforward procedure.

  1. Click on the “Finder” icon located in the Dock.

    How to Delete Files on Mac
  2. This will open the Finder window on your Mac where you’ll be able to browse all the files and apps installed on your computer. Head over to your desired directory using the left pane and select the files you want to delete. Now, use “Control + Mouse click” or “right-click” if you’re using a third-party mouse to access more options. Choose “Move to Trash” to remove the files from their respective locations.

    How to Delete Files on Mac
  3. Alternatively, you can drag and drop any files on the “Trash” icon located in the Dock to perform the same action.
  4. To empty the trash at any point, “Control-click” or “right-click” on Trash and choose “Empty Trash”, which permanently deletes these files.

    How to Delete Files on Mac

Most longtime Mac users use a drag-and-drop approach to drop files to delete into the Trash.

The Trash Can is basically the equivalent of the Recycle Bin from the Windows world.

You can also delete data from the Mac by using the Storage Manager.

How to Remove Files from Mac via Storage Manager

This method lets you delete files, documents, applications, files from Messages, iOS backups, and more, by using the Storage Manager.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the menu bar and choose “About This Mac” from the dropdown menu.

    How to Delete Files on Mac
  2. This will open a new window on your Mac where you’ll be shown the macOS version your system is currently running along with hardware specifications. Head over to the “Storage” section as shown below and click on “Manage” located next to your storage drive.

    How to Delete Files on Mac
  3. Here, you’ll be able to browse for applications, files, documents, etc. from the left pane. Simply select the files you want to remove and click on “Delete” to proceed. You can click-and-drag with your mouse to select multiple files.

    How to Delete Files on Mac
  4. When you’re warned about the permanent removal of files, click on “Delete” to confirm.

    How to Delete Files on Mac

You’ve successfully deleted the files from your Mac for good, and there’s no way to undo the action at this point (through macOS anyway, but if you really must you can recover deleted files from the Mac with apps like DiskDrill).

In addition to this, if you don’t want to completely empty your entire Trash, you can delete files individually from Trash. Files that are stored in Trash can also be restored to their previous location with ease.

If you’re too lazy to manage files stored in Trash, you can set your Mac to automatically empty the Trash after a 30-day period. This is pretty similar to how Windows deletes contents stored in Recycle Bin every 30 days.

Did you accidentally move a file to the Trash? No worries. Next time, make sure you take advantage of the “Command + Z” shortcut to quickly undo the move to trash action. Or, if you aren’t quick enough, open Trash and use “Put Back” to undo an accidentally trashed file.

You can also combine Mac features to do things like find and delete duplicate files that are hanging around the hard disk, which may prove useful as well.

These tricks apply to basically every version of MacOS and Mac OS X, so regardless of which system software version you’re using you’ll be able to use the Trash. Much older versions of system software won’t have the Storage Manager approach however.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Alex says:

    I found just dragging an app to the Trash leaves a huge amount of files associated with app on you Mac. How I go about it is I use an app called Find Your Files and not only look for files associated with the app but also look for the developers name on files associated with the app. Why developers do this is beyond my scope, but you’ll rid yourself of a lot of junk.

    • Daniel says:

      Yes, Apps aren’t really files they are basically a package of many files that automatically get distributed where they need to be in order to run properly. Anything installed with an installer or from the app store is going to have more than just one file to delete

  2. Peter Ashford says:

    To delete a file to trash, simply select it, then press Command + Delete.

    Simple and immediate.

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