How to Force Empty Trash in Mac OS X

These instructions may have changed, a new version can be found here.

One of the problems I see coming up over and over again on my Mac is the inability to empty the trash. I like to keep my trash can clean so every time I get 2 or 3 things in the trash I empty it. But, probably 3-4 times per week the trash won’t empty because one of the applications that I was using on some of the files in the trash just won’t let the file go.

So, I have to do something, because I (like the crazy person that I am) can’t stand to have stuff in my trash when I tried to get rid of it. So I resort to a simple little Terminal command to empty the trash no matter what is in it.

rm -rf ~/.Trash/*

Just copy and paste the code above into Terminal and your trash will be emptied immediately without having to see any dialog boxes at all.


  1. No, sorry to tell you, but this command, posted hither and yon all over the Internet, simply does nothing. I even tried it with no stubborn files in the trash, just normal, old screenshot picture. I suspect some security update from Apple has negated it.

  2. I’ve seen many solutions but the fact of the matter is that they aren’t !00% for instance the Terminal thing that is suggested up above dons not fix the trash can therefore you have to do it every time witch its really annoying!
    i suggest take it to your nearest apple store or call apple and have the deal with it.

    PS. this isn’t the only problem i have had with macbook’s so much for a full-proof program with no glitches…

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