How to Empty or Delete Trash Bin on Mac

I can’t delete a file from the Trash bin on my Mac. When I try to ‘Empty Trash’ I get an error message saying ‘The operation cannot be completed because the file is locked’. Believe it or not, this is a fairly common problem and one which almost every Mac user will encounter at some point in time. In the following simple solution, I show you how to once and for all, delete the file from your system.

Deleting a file from Trash that can’t be emptied:

Empty Trash Error

Common errors upon attempting to Empty Trash include: “The operation cannot be completed because the file is locked” or “The operation cannot be completed because the item is in use“.

  • Drag the file from your Trash bin to the Desktop.
  • Launch a Terminal Go > Utilities > Terminal and type the following into the terminal window leaving a space after f:

    cd ~/.Trash && sudo rm -rf

  • Drag the file from your Desktop to the terminal window and then press Enter
  • Enter your password when prompted and press Enter

If all goes well, the file should now be deleted from your system!

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