Mac Slow to Empty Trash?

Is your Mac taking forever to empty the trash? Well the reason for this could be down to one simple hidden setting; Secure Empty trash has been turned on by default. Before explaing how to configure this setting let me start by explaining what it is and how it works.

Most people believe that when they have deleted a file it is removed from the computers hard drive permanently, unfortunately it isn’t quite as simple as that.

Instead of the file being destroyed in many cases it is just the index that remembers the location of the files data that is erased, which leaves the actual data still salvageable by some data recovery programs. Secure empty trash is a utility thats built into Mac OS X that attempts foils data recovery methods by repeatedly writing over the blocks the deleted files occupied. A side effect of this security measure is that it much much slower to empty trash.

Follow these steps to configure the Secure Empty Trash default setting:

1. Go to the Finder menu and choose preferences, this will open the Finder Preferences panel.

Finder Preferences

2. choose advanced from the top menu.

Finder Preferences Advanced

3. Untick the Empty Trash securely option.

Empty Trash Securely

Before you go

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded blurtit.com which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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  • Yes it will leave things insecure, since they are technically still on your drive, but when all you are trying to delete are some images and text files, secure emptying your trash is over kill. You mostly want speed over security. If you are deleting, for example, a 401k PDF, you might want secure empty trash on. For the most part, the faster empty trash is better.

  • Thank you. I was stuck for like 2 days. But now I finally dont have to wait for emptying my bin. It took like more than a minute just to empty the bin which has got some small file.