When it comes to deleting files in OS X most of us get the idea.  While in the Finder, drag items to the Trash and delete them either by clicking down on the trash can in the dock or select and item and type Command + Delete.

The three most common ways of emptying the trash are

  1. 1.    Through the Finder Menu by clicking on Finder and then Selecting Empty Trash
  2. 2.    Selecting the Trash icon in your Doc and then Selecting Empty Trash
  3. 3.    Or holding down Command + Shift + Delete keys.

Now emptying the trash appears to clear up room on your hard drive but it doesn’t actually delete the data. The space taken up by these files has merely been set aside to be overwritten by new information.This means that until you actually use the space it is possible for someone to use a data recovery tool and restore your deleted information.



Introduced in OS X 10.3 you can now Secure Empty Trash, which permanently and immediately deletes files by overwriting your data with digital nonsense.  This ensures you that your deleted confidential information is gone, and gone for good.

To Secure Empty your Trash simply put the items you want to delete in the Trash.

  • In the Finder go to the Finder Menu and Select Secure Empty Trash.
  • A dialog will ask you if you are sure you want to do this.  Click OK and the files will be permanently deleted.
  • One last thing since we are talking about trash… Lets say you are trying to delete something securely that appears to be locked.


When deleting the file you get the message that states you lack “sufficient” privilege or permissions for “Emptying the Trash”.  In this case try the following Troubleshooting steps:

  • Repair you permissions using the Disk Utility.
  • Bring the file back onto the desktop and try reassigning its permissions using Get Info in the Finder.
  • Or hold the Option key as you choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu.

If none of these resolved your issue than more advanced method for doing this need using the Terminal. I will be covering this in another article.

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