Usually, if you want to keep the space free on your Mac, you need to keep deleting the unnecessary files聽including files, folders and other items to get more available storage. In this article, we will go through the steps to help you on how to delete files on Mac聽efficiently聽and safely.聽

The Most Common Ways to Delete Files on Mac

Let's see what are the most common options you have to delete files on your MacBook.

Way 1: Empty Your Trash Bin on Mac

The simplest way to get rid of the files that are no longer need is to move them to the Trash bin of your mac. The files are removed from your desktop or folder, but that’s a temporary solution, the actual files are still placed in the same location of the memory. Follow these steps to permanently delete these files from your system memory.

  1. Right-click the file you would like to delete, then click Move to trash.
  2. Once the file has been removed, click the Trash can to open your Trash.
  3. Right-click the deleted file(s) in the trash, then click Delete Immediately.

empty trash bin on mac

Way 2: Delete Files on Mac with A Keyboard Shortcut

We know that some of our MacBook geeks love to know their way around with the quick keyboard shortcuts. Because it's easy and much faster to do it with this way. Here is how you can permanently delete a file on your Mac by using keyboard shortcuts.

  1. Select the file that needs to be deleted.
  2. Press Option + Command + Delete and click Delete in the next window to confirm the action.

delete file keyboard shortcut

Way 3: Remove Items from The Trash Automatically After 30 Days

When a file is in the Trash for 30 days, it's understood that the file is no longer needed and it's taking up precious space on your permanent drive. Mac gives you the option to select whether any file on your Trash be kept more than 30 days or not. Just follow these steps to turn on this feature:-

  1. Go to Preferences in the Finder application.
  2. Click Advanced tab.
  3. Check the box next to ‘Remove items from the Trash after 30 days’.

remove trash after 30 days

Way 4: Delete Files on Mac with Option Key (Available for OS X 10.11 or later)

Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) gives you another fun way to avoid the trouble altogether and delete files permanently, without the trouble of going to the Trash in the first place. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Finder window.
  2. Select the items to be deleted.
  3. While pressing the Option key, click File and then Delete Immediately.

delete files option key

Way 5: Use The Terminal (for Advanced Users)

Available for macOS Sierra

If you are using macOS Sierra, you can use the terminal command ‘rm’ to delete the selected files securely and permanently. Anything other than the Graphical User Interface should only be for advance users as one wrong command can make your machine do something stupid and something permanent, which you don’t want. You can navigate your way to the file in terminal, or you can enable the service for New Terminal at Folder (System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts and goto Services), which gets you a terminal right where the file is, so you can just enter the command to delete the file from your mac. Once the service is enabled, it's as simple as this:-

  • Open a Finder and go to the folder where the files you want to delete are located.
  • Right-click the folder icon and go to Services -> New Terminal at Folder.
  • Enter the command ‘rm –P filename.ext’

use terminal macos sierra

Available for macOS X Mavericks

For macOS X Mavericks, however, the command has some minor changes to it. You can use either ‘rm’ command the same way, or use ‘rmdir’ in terminal to delete a folder. If there is a blank space in the filename, you need place a Backslash + Space in the filename (if the filename is ‘my folder’, the command will include ‘rmdir my\ folder’.

All these options can be used to permanently delete the files on MacBook, all of them are commonly known, easy to use, but not very efficient in deleting files permanently. Mostly you will have to go through every file on your MacBook and delete every file or you might have to right a large number of commands to securely delete from the Terminal. And, the worst part can be that you end up deleting an important file from your computer. However, you can avoid all this by using some third-party applications to do this work for you.

How to Clean Up Files on Mac聽(The Most Efficient Way)

The easiest and most effective application to delete files on a Mac is Umate Mac Cleaner. It is a powerful Mac cleaning tool, which can help you permanently delete files on Mac聽with simple steps. You can optimize your mac in an easier way instead of manually cleaning. The application has two cleaning modes; Quick Clean聽and Deep Clean.

Quick Clean

The quick clean option runs a fast scan of your systems and identifies and deletes all the files which it detects are useless. The files removed by Quick Clean are 100% safe to be deleted and no important file will be deleted in this process.

quick clean confirm

Deep Clean

To make up more space in your Mac, the Deep Clean tool will scan all those files which are detected as unused, unimportant or additional. You will be presented with the list of files it detects and then you can select which file to be deleted or kept.

umate deep clean

What are the Advantages of using these tools to delete files on Macbook? Using Umate Mac Cleaner helps you clean your Mac system more rapidly than the manual process. You get some of these benefits from the application:

  • Quick Operation: You can delete your files automatically just by making a single click.
  • More Cleanable Files: Umate Mac Cleaner can find and clean up 40 different types of junk files on your computer. 聽聽聽聽
  • Automatic Management: It automatically runs a scan on your Mac and detects all the unnecessary and useless files that can be deleted.
  • 100% Secure: Umate Mac Cleaner can delete all of the unnecessary files with proper safety.
  • Simple to Use: Getting this Mac file cleaner聽up and running on your machine is very easy and simple. Just like this:

You don鈥檛 have to follow hundreds of steps or type any kind of commands to to delete the files on your Mac. Simply, install the tool on your Mac, hit the Scan button for detecting those unneeded files and select the ones that you want to delete. Once you have selected all of the unnecessary files, click on the Clean button. Done! Just need 3 easy steps. What's more, Umate Mac Cleaner has wide compatibility that works well with most of Mac models and OS. You can check if your Mac can run the app below.

umate wide compatibility

Mac version

If Some Files on Mac are "Special", Try to Delete Them with These Ways

While deleting some files on your Mac, you might get an error indicating that you cannot delete a file. Below are the reasons for that and these "special鈥 files can be deleted with two ways:

1. Files you are trying to delete are in use

It is possible that the file you are trying to use is currently open or is running, you cannot delete a file like this, you can adopt any of the steps given below to delete any such file.

  • You can kill the application which is using the file currently or kill all the open applications if you are not sure of the application. After killing the required application, you can now easily delete the file permanently.
  • The application that is using the file may be running in background, in this case, you can either kill the unnecessary process using Umate Mac Cleaner and try deleting the file, or you can restart your MacBook.
  • There is a possibility that a startup program might be using the application, you can try starting your Mac in Safe Mode. In this mode no startup application is launched, the file can be deleted easily.

delete files in use

2. One or more files to be deleted are locked

If a file you are trying to delete is locked by a user of the computer administrator, you will need to check this information first. Right-click on the icon and in the drop-down menu click ‘Get Info’.

If the file is shown as locked and the box next to it is not greyed out, you can simply uncheck this box and try deleting it. But, in case the box is grey and you cannot edit the file status, that means you do not have the required rights to make any changes to the file.

To see what kind of permission you have on the file, to check that you need to hold ‘Option’ key and go to File -> Show Inspector. Next, you can see the window where the Sharing Permissions are visible for the file. Edit your permissions as ‘Read &Write’ and save. (You will be required to enter the admin password for this option. Once you are done, the file can be deleted using the methods described in this article.

delete files are locked


Deleting files on Mac聽can become a gruesome process and it can take all the time in the world you have till you are bored to the extent you want to have a second lunch. How to delete files on Macbook聽with more efficient way? The best solution聽is to use Umate Mac Cleaner and get away from all the fuzz. Let the application do all the work for you, and you just have to sit back and relax!

Mac version