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How To Securely Delete Files On Your Mac

How To Securely Delete Files On Your Mac.

If you don’t already know how the file deletion process works on your Mac, you can check it out to ensure that when you delete the files, they are gone forever.

Most of the time, when you delete a file on your Mac, your Mac only removes the link to your file. The file you deleted continues to exist on your computer, but without reference to it.

This makes you think that your file is gone forever and no one can recover it. However, the reality is that your file still exists on your computer, and good data recovery software can recover the file for you, even if you empty the trash on your Mac.

To help you with this, your Mac provides you with a safe removal option. Using this feature, you can delete your files and no software can recover them. There are actually various ways to safely delete files on Mac and here we are going to cover three of them.

Use Terminal to safely delete files on Mac

Terminal lets you do a lot of things on your Mac, and one of those things is the ability to safely delete files on your computer. With an in-app command, you can permanently delete files so that they cannot be recovered by any application or software.

The command that allows you to securely erase data on your Mac is called rm. It has a P argument that overwrites your data three times to make it nearly impossible to get it.

You really don’t have to dig deeper and learn more about the command to use it. All you need to know is that the team ensures that your files are securely deleted and cannot be recovered in the future.

Launch the Terminal application from the launcher on your Mac.

Type the following command, press spacebar, drag the file you want to delete, and press Enter.

rm -P

The file you selected will be safely deleted from your Mac. You also won’t find it in the trash can, as it has been completely removed from your computer.

Since the command does not allow you to restore the file, double check the command before running it, otherwise you will end up deleting an important file that cannot be restored on your computer.

Use an application to securely erase files on the Mac

The ability to safely delete files is something that most users sometimes want, which is why there are some applications that allow you to safely delete files on your Mac. These applications work in much the same way as the terminal method, but use different algorithms to help get rid of files.

Permanent Erase is one such application that allows you to permanently delete files from your Mac. It overwrites your data multiple times and also encrypts it to ensure it is unreadable.

Go to the Permanent Eraser app website, download and install the app on your Mac.

Delete the files you want to remove from your Mac as usual. These files should go to the trash bin on your computer.

Run the application you just installed. You will be prompted to safely delete the trash bin. Click OK at the prompt and all files in the Trash will be safely deleted.

All your files in the trash have been deleted permanently. You will not be able to obtain these files using any applications or software.

Every time you open an app on Mac, you will be prompted to safely erase the Trash on your computer. Clicking OK will completely delete the trash bin files from your computer.

Combine Permanent Eraser with Finder

As you can see, the default Permanent Eraser behavior is somewhat awkward. When you open the app, you are prompted to empty the trash immediately, which you are not used to seeing on your Mac.

Fortunately, the app integrates with Finder. This means that you can use the functions of the application without opening the application itself. You can work with the application directly from any Finder window on your computer.

Here’s how to make Permanent Eraser and Finder work together:

Launch the Automator app from Launchpad. You are about to create an application in Automator.

When Automator opens, select the Application option and click the Select button at the bottom.

When a new application window opens, drag an action called “Get Selected Search Items” from the list of actions and drop it into the main panel on the right side of the screen.

The second and final action you will want to add to your application is Erase Selected Items. Select it from the list and drag it to the main panel.

Save the application by clicking File and then Save. Enter a name for the application and click Save.

Now your application is ready and let’s add it to Finder. Open a Finder window, find the newly created app, press and hold Option + Command, and drag the app to the Finder toolbar.

The application will be in the toolbar, allowing you to easily delete files. Now, every time you want to safely erase a file, drag and drop it onto the application icon in the toolbar. The file will be permanently deleted.


It is important to always check if the files you delete on Mac have actually been deleted from your vault. If it doesn’t, your files will remain available for recovery and good data recovery software will be able to recover them. Thanks to the guide above, you now know how to permanently delete files on your computer.

How To Securely Delete Files On Your Mac

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