How to Clean up Mac Trash & Temp Files

Written by matt scheer
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How to Clean up Mac Trash & Temp Files
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Cleaning up trash and temporary files on a computer creates more space on the hard disk. Another benefit is that it allows the computer to run faster because it doesn't have to look through stray files. Temporary files are created by programs for different reasons. Some programs delete them automatically after use and others leave them behind. However, the Mac operating system is UNIX-based, which automatically deletes temporary files at start-up. Cleaning up the trash and temp files on a Mac requires only a few steps.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Two-finger click the trash icon in the dock on the Mac desktop. Another option is to double-click the trash icon to open the dustbin window.

  2. 2

    Click on "Empty Trash" in the menu that appears after two-finger clicking. After double-clicking, a new window appears. Click on the button that says "Empty" at the top right corner of the window.

  3. 3

    Hit the power button and click on "Restart." This shuts down and turns your computer back on, which clears the temporary files.

Tips and warnings

  • Another option to maintain your computer is to run the "Disk Utility" application that comes with the operating system. Click on the hard drive icon in the left-hand menu. In the main menu click on "Repair disk permissions" to defragment all the files. This application is only for occasional use.

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