There are various reasons to delete a file. However, whatever reason you might have, your Mac might not agree with you.
Since the creation of on-screen technologies, terms such as "delete", "erase", and "format" has been the go-to options in situations where somebody wanted to get rid of a file or application. Also, to safeguard a system in terms of freeing up space or easy removal of malware, the delete key has been beneficial.
However, in recent versions of operating systems, we have been unable in some cases to delete files from our computers. You have probably faced warnings such as ‘folder in use, cannot delete.’
So, how to delete files that won’t delete in Mac?
Well, we shall explain why you can’t delete a file and also the solutions in the sections below:
You have often wondered why you can’t delete an app on Mac. The presence of a Trash bin on Mac has always made it easy to sort out what you don’t need. However, this is not true.
There are underlying obstacles that can hinder you from clearing your system of specific files. At times these hindrances save us from deleting sensitive data, probably those required by the system to run.
However, the obstacles can, at times, go overboard. It is when you are unable to get rid of the average local files that you know are not useful to you and the system.
So why would the system or anything else keep you from doing so?
Well, some of the reasons include:
Usually, the most natural solution to cannot delete files is by dragging them to the Trash. In case you'd want the data back, command + Z would automatically undo your action. To empty Trash, you can access Finder by either double-clicking the Trash icon on your dock or go to the top left section on your Mac and select 'Finder.'
From the Finder menu, you can click on Empty Trash. Also, from the Trash icon at your dock, you can right-click and select Empty Trash.
But that doesn’t always work. An error “file can’t be deleted” may pop-up to alert you of this. In such a scenario, you can do the following:
Make sure that the Finder loading is complete before you can start deleting.
There are several ways to force quit Finder. From the Apple logo at the top right.
It is the general way of doing it.
If you are familiar with the Terminal, you can use the ‘killall’ command to force quit Finder. After successful deletion of a file, you may not be able to empty Trash as the file can’t be deleted from the Trash.
You can also press command and right click the Trash icon to secure empty Trash.
Where the Finder method of deleting apps has not worked out for you, try the following:
Where the item is a folder, delete each file manually to isolate the single erroneous file. If all files get deleted such that the folder is empty, try Trashing it.
Change permissions to empty the Trash. This method makes use of the Terminal using the command ‘chflags’.
The command line can also be used to forcibly empty the Trash using the command ‘sudo rm -rf’. Beware, this command erases everything in the Trash without warning.
Using the sudo command erases everything in the Trash. Thus, you should only use it if you know what you are doing. You can also do a workaround.
If you accidentally deleted important files, just jump to Part 5 for the solutions or directly download Recoverit Data Recovery. It will help you recover all deleted files.
When MacOS thinks the file you are trying to delete is in use by another process, emptying the Trash will not work. Therefore, the first thing to do is to quit all other programs to ensure no other application could use any of the files on your Mac.
To force quit apps on the dock:
With this method, you’ll have to quit all apps one by one.
Using the Apple menu:
After force quitting all apps, now try deleting the file or folder.
If force quitting all programs doesn’t work for you, you can try restarting your Mac or even shutting it down then power it on.
In the process of trying to delete one file, you can end up deleting several of them, and in extreme cases, you might get frustrated and accidentally format your drive.
However, that is not the end of the road. Wondershare offers you Recoverit Data Recovery Mac version 8.0. Recoverit data recovery software is a suitable comprehensive way to cater for recovery options irrespective of how data was lost.
The software has access to various storage devices including a corrupted Mac Hard drive, USB drive, iPod, SD card, etc. featuring compatibility with FAT 16/32, NTFS, and HFS+ file systems.
So, how do you use Recoverit to recover lost files?
Launch the software and select the drive from where the data files are lost. If you don’t know which drive to search, tap on the “I can’t find my partition” option and hit the Start button.
Typically, the software will run an all-around scan and search for the lost and deleted files on the entire drive.
When the scan completes, the files will be listed on the screen. The software will sort out the files according to format to make the search easier. You can select multiple files at a time and have a preview at them.
You also have the option of doing a deep scan on the files at the bottom.
Some of the issues that you face with deleting files on your Mac and end up believing that they can’t be deleted is false. “Why so?” You ask.
First things, first, you needed to relax. Frustrations often lead to irrational behavior. When you feel like it’s becoming impossible and you have done everything don’t start throwing tantrums. Realize that some files can’t be deleted for a reason or you probably are yet to find out.
To find out what kind of files you should or shouldn’t get rid of, check on sites and articles such as this one. You can look at various methods of troubleshooting for an easy time.
As a Mac user, you must have heard of similar cases from friends. Ask yourself what they did differently and try to follow their footsteps.
When memory fails you, and you can’t remember what to do, call the right people. Reach out to online experts who can assist.
Finally, with all that you do, be cautious. While struggling to delete a file, you can quickly end up getting rid of something as important as a system file. Double check on stubborn files when clearing your Hard drive.
Clearing your system is as vital as deleting files and emptying the Trash on your Mac, since with everyday use, your device accumulates unnecessary files. So, when a file error such as "file in use, cannot be deleted" pops up, be careful. Also, you should double check the kind of files you install, especially third-party apps.
However, when you or anybody else is stuck on how to delete files that won’t be deleted, direct them to check out this article. I am sure you have significantly benefited from it so, help others too.