How To Delete Files Without Sending Them To Trash On Mac

When you delete files or folders or items in the Finder, they aren’t actually deleted until you empty the Trash. Get rid of files and folders as well as other items that you no longer need without sending them to trash. Instead of dragging items to the Trash in the Dock or pressing the Command + Delete, you can immediately remove files even from the trash in one go.

Maybe you are the guy who moved from Windows to Mac and wanted to use the cool Windows-like shortcut keys on Mac to remove files completely from the system i.e. Shift + Delete on Windows. Fortunately, you can force delete the files which directly remove them instead of sending them to Trash.


It’s a pain having to empty the trash every time you delete something in the Finder. While the Trash is ideal for those who want the restore deleted files back if they changed their mind later, some of you may frequently delete items from the system then again delete them from the Trash which creates a doubled task.

Here are a couple of methods to do delete files without moving them to the Trash, and they both involve the Option key.

How To Delete Files Without Sending Them To Trash On Mac

One of the methods to remove the files is to use the keyboard shortcut with the Option key.

  • Make use of the shortcut Command + Option + Delete to delete files instead of the usual Command + Delete to remove the files directly from the system.

This is the easiest option I find, you just need to practice pressing the Option key along with the Command + Delete. So, now you figure out the fastest way to delete files on Mac without sending them to Trash.

Another way to delete the files from the system is to use the Finder’s File menu in the menubar.

  • Open Finder and go the files or folders or items that you want to delete and click the File menu while pressing the Option key. A menu with new options will be displayed, go the bottom and click on Delete Immediately… in place of the usual Move to Trash. Here’s a screenshot showing it.



If an item is locked, you will need to confirm that you want to delete it and unlock the item before deleting it.

How To Unlock An Item That Is Locked?

To unlock the item or the file or folder that you want to delete, choose File -> Get Info or press Command + I, then remove the Locked checkbox. This will require administrator permission. If you are not logged in as an administrator, you may need to click the lock icon, then enter an administrator name and password.

Note: If you haven’t backed up your files recently or turned off Time Machine, you should store a backup copy on a storage device just in case you change your mind and want the deleted item later. It is suggested that if you keep restoring items from Trash, then use this guide with caution.

Want more tweaks and customizations on Mac? Check out how to cut and paste files on Mac and also lock the folders with a password to protect it from prying eyes. More tips and tricks, guides, and tutorials on Mac and Windows are available.

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