Ultimate Guide: How to Delete Files on MacBook Effectively and Safely

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Whether you’re running out of storage space or simply want to declutter your MacBook, it’s important to know how to delete files properly. In this article, we’ll discuss methods for deleting files on your MacBook, explore permanent file deletion, and provide valuable tips for managing your documents and data.

Understanding file deletion on MacBook

Types of delete options on MacBook

There are two primary methods to delete files on a MacBook: moving to the trash and using keyboard shortcuts. Both have their advantages and serve different purposes, whether you want to delete files temporarily or permanently.

Differences between delete and trash options

When you move a file to the trash, it’s not deleted from your MacBook immediately. Instead, it’s stored in a temporary folder, allowing you to recover it if needed. However, if you want to delete a file permanently, you can use the delete option or empty the trash to remove it entirely from your system.

How to delete files permanently from a MacBook

To delete files permanently from your MacBook, you can either use the keyboard shortcuts (discussed in the next section) or empty the trash. Both methods will remove the file from your system, making it unrecoverable.

Delete files on MacBook using keyboard shortcuts

Selecting files for deletion

To select files for deletion, click on the file or folder you want to delete, then hold down the command key and click additional items to make multiple selections.

Deleting files using the delete option

Press the command and delete keys simultaneously to move the selected files to the trash. This action will not delete the files permanently but store them in the trash folder until it is emptied.

Using Shift+Command+Delete to delete files permanently

If you want to delete files permanently and bypass the trash folder, select the items, then press Shift+Command+Delete keys. A prompt will appear asking you to confirm the action as permanent deletion cannot be undone.

Delete files on MacBook using the trash option

Moving files to the trash

To move files to the trash, simply drag and drop them onto the trash icon in your dock or press command+delete. The files will remain in the trash until you decide to empty it.

Emptying the trash to delete files permanently

To delete files permanently, go to the trash folder by clicking on the trash icon, then click Empty in the top right corner. A prompt will appear asking you to confirm this action as the files will no longer be recoverable.

Using third-party apps to delete files

Overview of third-party apps

There are several third-party apps available that can help you manage and delete files on your MacBook. These apps provide advanced features and automation options for managing your files.

Benefits of using third-party apps for deletion

Using third-party apps for file deletion can simplify the process and provide additional features such as secure deletion, automatic file removal, and advanced filtering options.

Examples of third-party apps for file deletion

Some popular third-party apps for file deletion on a MacBook include CleanMyMac, AppCleaner, and DaisyDisk.

Tips for deleting files on a MacBook

Regularly deleting unnecessary files

To keep your MacBook organized and maintain optimal performance, regularly delete unnecessary files and remove unused apps. This will help free up storage space and improve system efficiency.

Using caution when deleting system files

Deleting system files can lead to software issues or even permanent damage to your MacBook. Always exercise caution and ensure that you understand the file’s purpose before deleting it.

Backing up important files before deletion

To avoid accidental loss of important data, always back up your files before deleting them from your MacBook. Use Time Machine or external storage devices to create backups of your files.


Knowing how to delete files on MacBook is essential for maintaining an organized and efficient system. By utilizing keyboard shortcuts, trash options, and third-party apps, you can effectively manage your files and keep your MacBook running at peak performance. Further learning about file management, data backups, and optimizing your MacBook’s performance will help you get the most out of your computer.


How can I recover files that I have deleted accidentally on Mac?

If the files are still in the trash, you can easily recover them by dragging them out of the trash folder or using the Put Back option. If you’ve emptied the trash, you can try using a file recovery software like Disk Drill or EaseUS Data Recovery for Mac.

How do I delete an app and its related files completely on MacBook?

You can use a third-party app like AppCleaner or CleanMyMac to uninstall apps and delete their associated files. Alternatively, you can manually search and delete the related files in your Library folder after uninstalling the app.

Can I schedule automatic file deletion on my MacBook?

Yes, you can use third-party apps like Hazel or CleanMyMac to create rules and schedules for automatic file deletion.

Is there a way to delete multiple files at once on MacBook?

Yes, you can select multiple files by holding down the command key while clicking on the files, then press command+delete to move them to the trash.

What is the difference between deleting and erasing files?

Deleting a file moves it to the trash or removes it from the system, while erasing a file overwrites the data with random characters, making it harder to recover. Secure erasing can be done using third-party apps like Eraser or FileShredder for Mac.