Key Takeaways to Recover Trash on Mac
  • Mac Trash is a folder/application that is used to keep deleted files from the Mac internal drive and a variety of external drives (USB flash drive, Pendrive, SD card, TF card...)
  • Mac allows users to retrieve temporarily deleted files from Trash by the Put Back option
  • System Preference has the option to keep Trash files for 30 days, later all deleted items will be emptied from Trash
  • Option+Command (⌘)+Delete, Delete Immediately and Empty Trash is meant to delete files permanently, you cannot undo any of the actions to retrieve files
  • Permanently deleted files will bypass the Trash and delete forever

Can you recover deleted files from Trash on Mac? How about you have emptied the Trash? Is there any chance to undo empty trash to get your documents, pictures, videos, or audio files back? Don't panic. As long as you take care of the lost data by taking the right measures, you can easily undelete files from Trash on Mac, or rely on capable Mac data recovery software for a full recovery.

※ A small tip:  Simply press the Command (⌘)+Z keyboard shortcut so you can undo the last performed action of deleting a file/folder.

How to Recover Accidentally Emptied Trash on Mac

"I accidentally emptied my Trash. Is there a way to recover my documents?" - from Apple Community

Don't worry if you have emptied your Trash on Mac. This post provides effective solutions to recover deleted files on Mac after emptying the Trash Bin. Before you follow the step-by-step guide, check this video to perform Mac Trash recovery.

  • 00:00 - Trash Recovery
  • 00:26 - How Mac Trash Works
  • 01:21 - Recover Files from Mac Trash
  • 01:51 - Recover Emptied Trash Files

Method 1. How to Recover Deleted Files from Trash on Mac

Applies to whom:

  • Select a file and press Command (⌘)+Delete on the keyboard;
  • drag and drop a file onto the Trash icon on the dock;
  • Control-click a file and choose Move to Trash

The Trash Bin on Mac functions the same as Recycle Bin on Windows 10 computers, which is designed to provide a temporary place for holding deleted files and data. If you realize that you have deleted something important you didn't mean to, you can restore it from the Trash bin easily.

Follow how-to:

  • Open Trash on your Mac
  • Locate deleted files or folders you deleted in Trash
  • Option-click on the file and choose Put Back

Recover Mac Trash files by put back

※ Restored files are sent to their original location before getting deleted.

Method 2. How to Recover Deleted Files from Emptied Trash on Mac

Applies to whom:

  • Use Option+Command (⌘)+Delete to permanently delete a file
  • Select a file and choose the Delete Immediately option
  • Clear the whole trash bin files by clicking the Empty button in the Trash
  • Enable the option "Remove items from the Trash after 30 days" in Finder Preferences

methods of permanently delete mac files

However, it's not always that simple to recover lost files if you have emptied the Trash bin. In this regard, you need a more capable way to undelete files from emptied Trash on Mac.

Data recovery software is a wise solution for any data loss situation. Whether you emptied the Trash bin or permanently deleted files on your Mac, it can scan and recover all types of lost data. It is worth mentioning that the data recovery software not only supports the recovery of Mac internal disk data but also applies to external storage devices like SD cards or external HDDs.

What makes data recovery software mighty?

Every time a file is deleted, the system will mark the storage space where the file is located as empty, but the deleted file is actually kept in the storage device until the storage space is overwritten by other data. This is how data recovery software works. It scans and finds all deleted files before they are overwritten and restores them to a safe location. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is such a data recovery tool. Here are the reasons why we recommend it.

EaseUS Emptied Trash Recovery Tool:

  • Deleted Mac file recovery in Trash or losing access to Trash
  • Compatible with macOS from the latest Monterey to Mavericks.
  • Support recovering more than 1000 types of files and previewing recoverable files for free.
  • Highly improved operational efficiency on M1 Chip. (Check to Load System Extension on the Mac with M1 Chips)

Tips for increasing data recovery rate:

  • Stop all the write operations, such as editing, saving, creating, and deleting files.
  • Do not access data on the target disk, such as view files or folders.
  • Do not format or reformat the disk.

Follow the steps below to recover Trash files from Mac:

Step 1. Scan for deleted files

Select the hard drive, external drive, or SSD where your important data & files were deleted and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for deleted files on Mac

Step 2. Filter the lost files

The software will run quick and deep scans and work hard to find as many deleted files as possible on the selected volume. Filter wanted files through the "Type" and "Path" options.

Filter and select the lost files

Step 3. Recover deleted files

Double-click the deleted files to preview. Then, click the "Recover" button to get them back.

recover deleted files from Mac


That's all about Mac Trash recovery. You can either check the Trash and click the "Put back" option or use EaseUS macOS Ventura data recovery software to recover lost files from your MacBook or iMac.

How to Recover Deleted Trash on Mac FAQs

Here are some related questions that you may be interested in. Read on and solve your problems easily.

1. How to permanently delete files on Mac after emptying Recycle Bin?

You can permanently delete files on Mac with these solutions:

  • Permanently delete files on Mac using shortcuts
  • Permanently delete files and folders on Mac using Terminal
  • Permanently delete files and folders on Mac with third-party tools

2. Can I recover emptied Trash on a Mac?

Files are permanently deleted when you empty the Trash. Follow the steps below to recover permanently deleted files on Mac:

  • Recover Deleted Files with Mac data recovery software
  • Restore Mac Trash Files via Time Machine backup
  • Recover Deleted Files with undo options
  • Retrieve Deleted Files with Terminal commands

3. Where is the trash on Mac?

Usually, it is on the desktop. If it is not there, click its icon in the Dock. A Finder window called Trash opens and displays any files it contains. To retrieve an item that is already in the Trash, drag it back out, either onto the Desktop or back into the folder where it belongs.

4. Where do deleted files go after emptying the Trash?

Files that are moved to the Trash can when you delete them. If you empty the Trash, these files are still located on the hard drive and can be retrieved with the right software.

5. Can I recover emptied trash on a Mac?

Yes. It's a piece of cake to recover files from Mac emptied Trash with the help of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Mac. It only takes three steps to recover files from emptied Trash:

Step 1. Select the location and click the Scan button.

Step 2. The software will run both a quick scan and a deep scan to find lost files.

Step 3. Select the file(s) and click the Recover Now button to get them back.

6. How do you empty the trash on a Mac?

  • Click and hold the Trash icon in the Dock.
  • A popup will appear that says Empty Trash. Select it. 

You can also empty the Trash from any open Finder window by holding down the Command + Shift + Delete keys.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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