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How do I Empty Trash?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 15, 2024 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

Whether it is Mac, Android, or iPhone, piling up files is completely useless. Therefore, it is necessary that the users empty the storage space even from the Trash Can to make sure that enough space is left for the important data files. But when a user is deleting the files in bulk, it is common to make some mistakes. Almost everyone knows how to empty trash, but knowing how you can retrieve the deleted files is also crucial.

Many people want to know that if you empty trash, is it gone forever or the data can still be retrieved somehow. If you are one of them, then go through this article and you'll know how to empty trash on Mac/iPhone/Android. We have also provided you a tool that can help you recover your accidentally deleted files.

Part 1. Reasons for Emptying Trash

The reasons for emptying the trash can vary from one person to another. However, here we have mentioned the most common reasons why you may need to empty your device trash.

Part 2. How to Empty Trash on Mac?

Just like any other device, Mac also has a straightforward process to erase the device data. But that doesn't mean that there is no other way to delete the data. Here, we have gathered several different methods to empty trash in Mac Sierra/OS X/ El Capitan.

1. How to Empty Trash on Mac?

The most common guide on how to do you empty trash on Mac is given below:

  1. To start with, tap and hold on the Trashcan logo in the Dock.
  2. Now, a popup will show for "Empty Trash". So, you need to select it. Or you go to the Finder menu, select Empty Trash, or hit "Command+shift+delete". A message will pop-up to confirm that you are sure to empty your trash.


2. How to Secure Empty Trash on Mac?

By simply emptying the trash on Mac is generally enough to get rid of unwanted files. However, it does mean that it actually erased the files from your Mac. They still present on your hard drive, and they are just marked as ready to be overwritten by other files. Sometimes, you delete files that are very sensitive, and you don't want that anyone gets access to those files. Considering this, Apple has offered a secure empty trash option too. This will overwrite the deleted files with meaningless data. It may take more time as compared to the above method, but it offers a more reliable and secure file deletion.

Well, how to secure empty trash on Mac? Follow the below steps:

  1. To commence the process, tap and hold on the Trashcan icon.
  2. Next, you need to hold the Command key, and then, tap on the Trash. Now, empty trash will become secure empty trash. And you need to select it. You can also do this from the Finder window. So, you go to the Finder menu and choose Secure Empty Trash.


3. How to Force Empty Trash on Mac - Terminal?

Well, can't empty trash on Mac? There can be many reasons Why your efforts to empty the trash on your Mac does not work. Maybe a file is still in use although you know well it is not. Or maybe a file is locked. However, whatever the reason is, you can force empty trash on Mac using Terminal. If you are good at using Terminal, then it is a plus point for you.

The terminal command will bypass all the problems that are stopping Trash Bin from emptying. To learn how to do it, follow the below steps:

  1. To start with, open the Spotlight by pressing the CMD + Space. Next, type terminal, and hit the Return option to run it.


  2. Now, you need to type the command i.e. Sudo rm-R. Next, press the Space key to delete the files forcibly.


  3. Next, move to the Trash, and here, choose all the desired files you want to delete. After that, drag the selected files into the Terminal window, and press the Return option.


  4. Here, you need to enter the admin password for your Mac, and press Return to confirm. Eventually, run the command to delete the desired files.

Part 3. How to Empty Trash on iPhone?

Now, how do I empty trash on my phone? Just like the Trash folder on Mac, there are also this type of folders on iDevice that recycles data you deleted. You have to delete these trash files in order to free up storage space on your iPhone.

How to Empty Trash on iPhone Mail?

You may have multiple emails linked to your iPhone, which allow you to check out all your emails on the one go. Emails you delete take more storage space in the trash folder. Luckily, it is easy to empty trash in iPhone Mail, and follow the below steps to do this:

  1. To begin with, go to the Main app on your iPhone and click on the email account for which you want to empty the trash.
  2. Next, click on "Trash" to open the trash interface. Here, click on the "Edit" button, and then, click on the "Delete All" option to remove all the emails present in the trash folder.


How to Empty Trash on iPhone Photos?

Now, how to empty the trash folder on iPhone photos? Follow the below guide:

  1. Go to the "Photos" app on your iPhone. Here, click on "Album", and select the "Recently Deleted" folder.
  2. Next, select the desired files, and click on "Delete All". And then, click on "Delete X Items" to empty iPhone photos trash.

    empty-photos -trash-on-iphone

How to Empty Trash on iPhone Notes?

Just like Photos and Email app, Notes app on iPhone also has a "Recently Deleted" folder. To empty Notes trash on iPhone, follow the below steps:

  1. Open the Notes app, and locate the "Recently Deleted" folder.
  2. Here, click on "Delete All" in order to empty Notes trash on iPhone.

    empty-notes -trash-on-iphone

Unlike Mac, there is no common folder like Trash on iPhone. You have to go to every app for which you want to delete data permanently.

Part 4. How to Empty Trash on Android?

If you see your device is saying "Remove permanently" when you are trying to move a file to trash, then it means there is no space in your trash. The trash folder on the Android phone has 1.5 GB space only. Once this storage space exceeds, you have to delete files from your trash. So, follow the below steps to Google empty trash on Android:

  1. To start with, run the "Google Photos" app on your Android device. Next, you need to log-in to your Google account.
  2. Here, click on "Menu", and select the "Trash" option. In the Trash interface, select the "More" option, and choose "Empty Trash". Finally, click on the "Delete" button.

    empty trash on android

Part 5. How to Undo Empty Trash?

Sometimes, when you are attempting to empty trash can on your device, you realize that you end up losing files you really need in the future. In such a case, you may wonder if there is any way to get back trashed files. So, yes, you can probably do it.

The Common Guide to Undo Empty Trash

  1. To begin the process, move to the Recently Deleted folder, and then, choose the deleted photos from this folder.
  2. After selecting the desired files, tap on the "Recover" button to get back them on your Mac.


What if you want to get other file types, such as videos, documents, audio you deleted? Or What if you want to recover files on iPhone or Android? It may seem you like it is impossible to recover them. But, you can recover your desired deleted files using a reliable and powerful data recovery tool.

How to Recover Trashed Files on Mac?

If you can't recover the files deleted from Trash from the usual method, then you will need Recoverit Data Recovery for Mac. It is an all-in-one recovery software that can restore the data from an empty trash bin. The software can retrieve all kinds of data from various types of storage devices in the most secure way. With the help of it, you can recover photos, videos, documents, etc. The best thing about the tool is that it provides selective recovery. This is one of the most reliable recovery tools available on the internet. It is one of a few data recovery tools that can recover lost or deleted files with a high success rate.

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To know how to undo empty trash, you will have to download and install the software on your computer. Once it is properly set up, follow the steps to recover the files from Trash.

  1. Select the location:

    Begin with running the program and as the home interface opens up, select the drive or device from where you want to retrieve the lost or deleted data. Specify the location and tap on the Start button.


  2. Scan the Trash:

    Choose the Trash folder from Mac to scan for the files. If the normal scan didn't display the files you want to recover, then you can also choose the Deep Scan option.


  3. Preview and Recover Files:

    As the files are displayed on the screen, select the ones that you want to restore and have a preview of those files. Finally, tap on the Recover option and the software will restore the files on your Mac.


With Recoverit Data Recovery software, you can easily get back the lost and deleted files even from the Trash. So, the next time you face a situation like this, use Recoverit for effective and fast data recovery.

Video Tutorial on Mac File Recovery

Part 6. Tips for Emptying Trash

Here, we are going to share some tips for emptying trash you may find them helpful:


That's how to empty trash on computer/ iPhone/Android. Hopefully, this guide helps you to get rid of unwanted data. In case, if you have deleted important files by mistake, then you don't have to panic as you can use Recoverit data recovery software. With the help of it, you can get back your deleted files from various sources.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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