Removing files permanently from MAC: Why the storage free space doesn’t increase in Mac even we remove the file from trash

smart macbook

If you are using MAC for the first time, you might be surprised that you keep on removing files from the system, but the disk space keeps on decreasing. This could make you to hunt all the folders in your computer and you end up finding nothing. Some people restore the system to recover from it, but that’s the worst decision they make.

I am sharing this, because I was one of the fool to format the hard disk of my MacBook, and again the same thing happened. If you are using OS X Mavericks 10.9, you will not find the option “Erase Free Space” in disk utility. In the older version of OS X, there is an option in disk utility that erases the files completely from the system, but Apple disabled this option in the latest OS X. I will discuss later how you can use this option.

So what happens when you delete the file from your MacBook or OS X? Why the deleted file doesn’t free up the disk space?¬†

Well, it’s something that is useless to figure out. When we delete a file from OS X, it goes to Trash, just like Windows PC. Now you will certainly want to empty trash to free up the disk space of your MacBook, but when you empty trash, you will not see any changes in the storage free space. You must be thinking what the problem is? But this is not the problem, it’s the advantage of using Mac. Now you are using Mac, don’t think like Windows users ūüôā

When you delete files from Trash in Mac, system keeps it safe until it’s overwritten. If you delete any file by mistake, you can still recover using the recovery software, but it doesn’t mean that can be recovered anytime. If you use the system a lot and exchange files, that space¬†will be overwritten soon when system wants (it’s not in your control once deleted from trash).

If you have not updated the OS X, and still using the older version, you can follow these steps to delete the file permanently from the system:

** Open the Launchpad or Finder

** If Opened Launchpad, type Disk Utility¬†in the search box. If you are in finder,¬†follow this: Applications–>Utilities–>Disk Utility

**  Select Macintosh HD,  and  go to Erase tab

** Click on Erase Free Space, confirm it.

Note: This will delete the all files permanently, and this process deletes only those files that have been removed from trash.

When Macintosh deletes the file permanently from the system, it overwrites those space with some meaningless files to cover that space, and this process takes time depending upon the file size. I am sharing the screenshot of Disk Utility, but in my case, Erase Free Space Option is disabled, because I am using OS X Mavericks 10.9.4.

MAC Disk Utility

Now the question is that why Apple disable this option?

Well, that process decrease the lifespan of the hard disk. Apple thought about the durability and keeping the Hard Disk safe to run the system smoother and faster. To be very honest, erasing free space is not really required, because Mac does everything for you. Mac overwrites the files automatically when more disk space is required for files, and Mac runs its own maintenance time to time.

Mac runs its maintenance in the early morning, when most of the systems are switched off or in sleeping mode (that’s really funny). You can run the maintenance manually typing these scripts in the terminal¬†sudo periodic daily weekly monthly.¬†

It will run one by one or you can run each script one by one, for ex:¬†sudo periodic daily. Once you type the scrip and hit return key,¬†it will ask the password. Please enter the password and hit Return Key again.¬†When system runs the script, it will not show any process. Please wait until it allows you to type next script. That’s it, and now your are done. You can exit.

Using OS X latest version, and still want to delete files permanently from trash?

You can use Empty Trash Securely option in Mac to delete files permanently from trash, but this deletion takes longer than normal deletion. You need to follow these steps:

** Open Trash, then click on Finder {at the top, left hand site(by default)}

** Click on Preferences, and then check the box Empty Trash Securely.

empty trash securely

Now when you delete any files from Trash, it deletes it permanently and overwrite that space with meaningless file. So what is the point of using Empty Trash Securely option unless you have a secure file that needs to be deleted permanently without leaving any footprint. Don’t fool yourself and decrease the lifespan of Hard Disk.


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