How to force-delete in Mac OSX

Written by kate sedgwick Google
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How to force-delete in Mac OSX
Sometimes files won't delete easily. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Deleting files on your Mac is normally a simple matter of using the "Empty Trash" command, but sometimes, you might receive a warning that one or more files is in use and can't be deleted. When this happens, there are a few simple steps you can follow to erase unwanted data taking up space on your hardrive.

Skill level:


    Force delete files

  1. 1

    Close any programs associated with the file in question. If the problem is with an image file, for example, close Photoshop, Preview, iPhoto, or any other software you use to view or process images. For a video file, close iTunes, QuickTime, or any other viewing software. Then try deleting the file again.

  2. 2

    Restart your Mac. If closing associated programs doesn't work, restart your computer and try again. If that doesn't take care of the problem, use the following steps.

  3. 3

    Open Terminal (Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities/ Type in or paste the following command:

    rm -rf ~/.Trash/*

  4. 4

    Press "Return."

  5. 5

    Check the Trash to see it empty.

Tips and warnings

  • Your Mac requires some files to operate properly. If you don't know what the file you're trying to delete is, do some research on its properties first to see what function it serves before deleting it.

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