Usually, emptying the trash folder is a quick and easy process. Open the folder and click the Clear button in the upper right corner.

What if you can’t delete a file from your Mac’s wastebasket?

Use these tips, fixes, and fixes to empty the wastebasket.

  1. Restart your Mac

Ideally, when an application or file is closed, it should free up the CPU memory it occupies. But in rare cases, the program continues to take up memory space on the computer, which can cause problems.

To make sure that’s not the case here, a quick restart before we move on to more complex solutions.

Restart the Mac and empty the trash again. If it doesn’t work, skip to the next section.

  1. How do I empty the bin on my Mac when using files

Typically, a Mac’s Trash folder is not emptied because some of the files are still in use.

Another application or some kind of backend process might be using them. Either way, you know this is the case because a pop-up window tells you that the operation cannot be completed because the project is in use.

You must close the file before you can delete it. For example, if the project is a Word document, you must close it in Word. If it is an application, you must exit the application. And so on.

Sometimes, you may not be able to accurately identify where the file was opened. In these cases, it is possible that a background process is using it. To test if this is the case, press Option + Cmd + Esc to open a forced exit window.

Closing it now might prevent any other programs from clearing the bin on your Mac.

Advanced file usage troubleshooting

The boot or login entry may be using the relevant file. You can solve this problem by starting the Mac in safe mode. This prevents some software from starting automatically.

To start the Mac in safe mode and empty the trash:

Close the Mac.

Open the Mac and immediately hold down Shift.

After starting in safe mode, open the bin.

Click the “Clear” button (in the upper right corner).

This deletes the file if the startup application is using it. If not, the other option is to use the terminal to check which application has locked the file. Here’s how you do it:

Open the trash can.

Press CMD + Space to start Spotlight.

Enter terminal and press enter key.

Type lsof and press the space bar. This command lists open files and displays a list of files used with the process that opened them.

Return to the bin and drag the files you want to delete to the terminal.

Press enter to run the command.

This displays a list of applications that use the file.

If you see the list, you must close all programs. Keep in mind, however, that the terminal may not provide the full name of the application. Therefore, you can try to close multiple applications.

3. How to empty the trash can when the files are locked

In another case, the attempted deletion of the file may be locked. You can easily correct this problem by going to the bin and unlocking them. You need to do the following:

Open the trash can.

Hold down the Control key and click the file you want to delete.

Click to get information.

Disable the lock check box.

This will unlock the file and let you delete it. Again, you can do this by clicking the “Clear” button. Alternatively, you can hold down the Control key and click the file, and then click Delete Now.

  1. How do I empty the garbage can when the disk needs repair

Hard drive problems may prevent the bin from being emptied. You can run the tests by launching the disk tool and using the first aid function.

Follow these instructions to complete the process:

Press CMD + Space to start Spotlight.

Enter the Disk Tool and press Enter.

Select the name of your hard disk. Make sure it contains the files you want to delete.

Click First Aid, and then select Run.

The first aid function notifies you when it finds any errors, but it cannot fix the problem while the main drive is running. You need to restart the Mac in recovery mode to fix the disk problem on the boot drive.

Fixing your Mac disk is a good option when you have a problem and other steps don’t work. In most cases, disk repair should permanently delete items in the bin.

If the root cause of the problem is not a disk problem, you may need to force the wastebasket empty.

  1. How to force the emptying of rubbish bins

There are several ways to force the emptying of bins.

If the file is locked and you cannot unlock it, you can try to delete it while holding down the Option key. Try holding down Option while clicking the “Clear” button. By holding down Option, the Mac bypasses any locking of the file.

This is useful if the Mac doesn’t allow you to unlock any files.

Another option is to use terminal commands to force the emptying of the bin. This overrides any locks on the file and deletes the files that are still in use. It also addresses any other errors that prevent bins from being emptied.

Therefore, this is an effective way to permanently delete a file:

Press CMD + Space to open Spotlight.

Enter the terminal and press Enter to start it.

Type sudo rm-r and press Space. This is a command to force a file to be deleted.

Return to the bin and drag the files to be deleted to the terminal window.

Press enter.

Enter the MAC administrator password to authorize commands. (This doesn’t show up when you type; it’s a security feature.)

Press enter to confirm and run the command.

This will immediately delete the bin files.

Emptying the trash can is a great way to keep your Mac clean and tidy. It saves disk space and helps your Mac run more smoothly.