How to delete files on macbook air

How to delete files on macbook air? (Quick Guide 2023)

We should take care of our Mac by keeping it organized and for its efficient working. When my Mac starts running out of storage space or if I want to make it faster, I need to clean up by getting rid of files I don’t need. Whether it’s old documents, movies you’ve already watched, or files you don’t need anymore, clearing them out is vital to keep your Mac in top shape. 

Let’s also understand why some files refuse to be deleted and how to deal with them.

In this guide, I’ll show you different ways to easily delete files on your MacBook Air.

How to delete files on macbook air

What are the ways to delete files on Macbook Air?

Here are some possible methods through which we can delete files on Macbook Air:

1. Move to Trash:

  • I found the file I want to delete.
  • I click on it to select it.
  • Then, I drag it to the little Trash bin on my screen, usually found at the bottom.
  • Once it’s in the Trash, I right-click on the Trash bin and choose “Empty Trash” to get rid of it forever.

2. Secure Empty Trash:

  • I click and hold on the Trash bin icon.
  • While holding, I click on “File” at the top left.
  • I choose “Secure Empty Trash” to make sure the file is gone for good.

3. Using Terminal:

  • I go to my Applications, then open “Utilities,” and find “Terminal.”
  • In Terminal, I type in “sudo rm –R” (with a space at the end).
  • I then drag the file I want to delete into the Terminal window.
  • Pressing Enter, I enter my computer password when prompted.

4. Delete Files Using Safe Mode:

  • I restart my MacBook Air.
  • While it’s restarting, I hold down the “Shift” key.
  • Once it’s in Safe Mode, I go to the file, put it in the Trash, and then empty the Trash.

5. Delete Immediately:

  • I select the file I want to delete.
  • I hold down the “Option” key.
  • Next, I click on “File” in the top menu and choose “Delete Immediately.”

6. Create Temporary User Account:

  • I open “System Preferences.”
  • I created a new user account.
  • I move the file I can’t delete into the Trash in this new account.
  • Afterward, I log back into my main account and delete the temporary account, including the file.

7. Use Trash Shortcuts:

  • For a quick delete, I just select a file and press “Command + Delete.”
  • To instantly get rid of a file without sending it to the Trash, I press “Shift + Command + Delete.”
  • If I want to empty the Trash without being asked for confirmation, I press “Option + Shift + Command + Delete.”

8. Use Optimize Storage:

  • I click the Apple logo in the top left, then choose “About This Mac.”
  • Clicking on “Storage” and then “Manage,” I look at the recommendations and delete what I don’t need.

9. Use Third-Party Apps (e.g., CleanMyMac X):

  • I download an app like CleanMyMac X.
  • I follow the instructions to scan and delete large or unnecessary files.

10. Delete Hidden Files with Caution:

  • – If I need to find hidden files, I press “Command + Shift + period” in Finder.
  • – I’m careful when deleting hidden files, especially in System and Library folders. I only delete them if I’m sure.

Everyone should be careful especially when using Termina, and always have backups of important files just in case something goes wrong.

What should we do if our files won’t be deleted?

When I have trouble deleting files on my Mac, I first check if any programs are using the file and close them. Then, I try to delete the file by right-clicking it in the Trash while holding Option. If it’s locked, I uncheck “Locked” in File > Get Info (or Command + I). To deal with permission issues, I adjust user permissions in Get Info or log in as an admin. If the problem keeps happening, I close related apps with Command + Q and stop processes in Utilities > Activity Monitor. If nothing else works, I’ve found that a simple Mac restart often does the trick to solve the problem.


In conclusion, keeping our MacBook Air organized and freeing up space is essential for best performance. We’ve explored various methods to delete files efficiently. However, when files refuse to be deleted, we’ve also learned practical steps to troubleshoot and resolve these issues, ensuring our Mac works accurately. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I recommend not deleting or moving files in the System and Library folders you come across when you open your hard drive. It’s also a good idea to avoid deleting or moving. App files in your Applications folder since these are essential built-in apps for your Mac’s operating system.

When we place files in our Mac’s Trash, they’ll remain there until we decide to empty them manually. We also have the option to configure our Mac to automatically clear the Trash after a set period. However, it’s important to note that when we delete items from iCloud Drive and they end up in the Trash, they will be removed from there automatically after 30 days, regardless of our Trash settings on the Mac.

When we delete files on our Mac, they typically stay in the Trash until we decide to empty them. We can also set our Mac to automatically empty the Trash after a certain period in the Finder preferences. However, if we delete files from iCloud Drive and move them to the Trash, they will be automatically removed from the Trash after 30 days, regardless of our Finder settings.

Willaim Faulkner

About Author

I’m William Faulkner, author of LaptopsU, a laptop & MacBook review blog. I’ve been writing about laptops & MacBook for over seven years now and I love it! In my reviews, I try to provide accurate information on the specs of each laptop & MacBook, as well as my opinion on how it performs.

I thrive on finding new laptops & MacBook to review and helping people make informed buying decisions. If you have any queries you can get in touch with me through following social media accounts.

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