Can't Empty Trash on a Mac

Help! 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".

  1. Drag the file from your Trash bin to the Desktop.
  2. Launch a Terminal Go > Utilities > Terminal and type the following into the terminal window leaving a space after f:
  3. cd ~/.Trash && sudo rm -rf

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

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