Your Mac Doesn’t Want to Empty the Trash? Make It!

Ever tried to empty the trash on your Mac, only to be told that “Operation can’t be completed because the item [file name] is in use?” Sometimes it is in use, and you must halt the process that’s using the file or let it finish before taking out the garbage. 

However, I’ve found that there are times when an item WASN’T in use, but macOS thought it was. In this case:

  • Double-click on your Mac’s Trash bin in the app dock or hold down the Command key on your keyboard while you click.
  • Choose the item you want to delete.
  • Right-click on the item.
Modal dialog saying "Are you sure you wan to permanently erase the items in the trash?"
  • Select Delete Immediately from the dropdown menu.
  • Click Delete to confirm that you want to delete the item.

Note: you can’t undo this action.