Empty Trash on Mac OS X without Secure Empty Trash

I’m not a huge fan of emptying the trash on my laptop. There’s really nothing too important on it anyhow. But this evening I felt like a little new year cleaning would be appropriate so I clicked the only option I had: “Empty Securely”. To my surprise, I had about over 200k items to be deleted.

It took about two hours before I finally gave up. There’s nothing important in my Trash, I just want the free space. Enter Terminal.

It’s pretty simple to remove most empty files quickly.

  1. Open
    Terminal

    (Applications / Utilities / Terminal.app)

  2. Type:
    cd /Users/<name>/.Trash
  3. Ensure that you’re in the correct directory by typing:
    pwd
  4. Type:
    rm -rv *

Make sure to replace <name> with your logged in user name. If you don’t know you’re user name, you can get a list of all users by typing: ls /Users/

You’ll see a list of files fly by! It’ll go much faster than securely emptying the trash.

That’s it! Enjoy the free space!

Please note: This does not do a “secure delete” and only removed the file record. All the data is still there so anybody with enough know-how can recover the files.

Also, you’ll only be deleting files for your own user account. You can delete from other accounts … so long as you have access.

Leave a Reply