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The Trash & Deleting Items

The Trash is a special place on your hard disk where you place items you want to delete. Items in the Trash remain there until you empty the Trash, which permanently deletes them. In Mac OS X, the Trash appears as an icon in the Dock.

To move an item to the Trash

  1. Drag the icon for the item you want to delete to the Trash icon in the Dock.

  2. When the mouse pointer moves over the Trash icon, the Trash icon becomes selected (Figure 43). Release the mouse button.

    Figure 43Figure 43 To move an item to the Trash, drag it there...


  1. Select the item that you want to delete.

  2. Choose File > Move to Trash (Figure 44), or press $%D.

    Figure 44Figure 44 ...or select the item and choose Move to Trash from the File menu.


  • The Trash icon's appearance indicates its status:

  • If the Trash is empty, the Trash icon looks like an empty wire basket.

  • If the Trash is not empty, the Trash icon looks like a wire basket with crumpled papers in it (Figure 45).

  • Figure 45 When an item has been moved to the Trash, the Trash icon looks full.

  • You can delete more than one item at a time. Begin by selecting all the items you want to delete, then drag any one of them to the Trash. All items will be moved to the Trash.

  • Moving a disk icon to the Trash does not delete or erase it. Instead, it unmounts it. Working with disks is covered a little later in this chapter.

To move an item out of the Trash

  1. Click the Trash icon in the Dock to open the Trash window (Figure 46).

    Figure 46Figure 46 Opening the Trash displays the Trash window.

  2. Drag the item from the Trash window to the Desktop or to another window on your hard disk. The item is moved from the Trash to the window you dragged it to.

To empty the Trash

  1. Choose Finder > Empty Trash (Figure 47), or press s$%D.

    Figure 47Figure 47 Choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu.

  2. A Trash warning dialog like the one in Figure 48 appears. Click OK to permanently remove all items that are in the Trash.

    Figure 48Figure 48 The Trash warning dialog asks you to confirm that you really do want to delete the items in the Trash.


  1. Point to the Trash icon, press the mouse button, and hold it down until a menu appears (Figure 49).

    Figure 49Figure 49 When you point to the Trash icon in the Dock and hold the mouse button down, a menu with an Empty Trash option appears.

  2. Choose Empty Trash. The contents of the Trash are permanently deleted. No warning appears.


You can disable the Trash warning dialog (Figure 48) in the Finder Preferences window. I explain how in Chapter 4.

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