Key Takeaways to Recover Emptied Trash on Your Mac
  • Mac Trash is a folder/application that keeps deleted files from the Mac's internal drive and various external drives (USB flash drive, Pendrive, SD card, TF card...).
  • Mac allows users to retrieve temporarily deleted files from Trash by the Put Back option.
  • System Preference can keep Trash files for 30 days; all deleted items will be emptied from Trash.
  • Option+Command (⌘)+Delete, Delete Immediately, and force Empty Trash on Mac are meant to delete files permanently. You cannot undo any of the actions to retrieve files.
  • The Mac Trash recovery tool can recover permanently deleted files from the emptied Trash bin. 

Can you recover deleted files from Trash on Mac? How about you have emptied the Trash? Do you want to recover data and undo empty Trash to return your documents, pictures, videos, or audio files? Don't panic. It is possible to recover an emptied Trash bin on Mac. If you take care of the lost data properly, you can easily undelete files from Trash on Mac.

User Case: Can I Recover Emptied Trash on Mac

"I accidentally emptied the Trash. Is there a way to recover my documents?" - from Apple Community

Whenever a file is deleted on your Mac, the system will mark the storage space where the file is located as empty. Still, the deleted file is kept in the storage device until other data overwrite the storage space. The same goes for emptying the Trash. In this case, you can use professional data recovery tools to help you recover deleted emails after emptying Trash and other common files. It scans and finds all deleted files before they are overwritten, restoring them to a safe location.

So, don't worry if you have emptied your Trash bin on Mac. You can use the effective solutions provided in this tutorial to recover deleted files on Mac.

How to Recover Permanently Delete Files on Mac After Emptying Trash (Recommended)

This method applies to these scenes:

  • Use Option+Command (⌘) + Delete to delete a file permanently
  • Select a file and choose the Delete Immediately option
  • Clear the whole trash bin files by clicking the Empty button by right-clicking the Trash icon
  • Enable the option "Remove items from the Trash after 30 days" in Finder Preferences

methods of permanently delete mac files

Recovering deleted files from Trash bin is not always simple if you have emptied the trash bin. In this regard, you need a more capable way to undelete files from the emptied Trash on Mac.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is a wise solution for data loss in any situation like accidental deletion, emptying Trash bin, hard drive formatting, SD card corruption, lost partition, macOS crash, etc. It can scan and recover over 200+ file types.

It is worth mentioning that this data recovery software supports the recovery of Mac internal disk data and external storage devices. It can recover deleted photos on Mac and support many other file types. It can recover deleted files from SD cards, USB flash drives, pen drives, and external HDDs.  Here are the reasons why we recommend it.

Tips for increasing data recovery rate:

  • Stop all the write operations, such as editing, saving, creating, and deleting files.
  • Do not access data on the target disk, such as view files or folders.
  • Do not format or reformat the disk.

Follow the steps to search for lost lost and recover emptied Trash files from Mac:

Note: You can create a backup by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the deleted files from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Scan for deleted files

Select the hard drive, external drive, or SSD where your important data & files were deleted and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for deleted files on Mac

Step 2. Filter the lost files

The software will run quick and deep scans and work hard to find as many deleted files as possible on the selected volume. Filter wanted files through the "Type" and "Path" options.

Filter and select the lost files

Step 3. Recover deleted files

Double-click the deleted files to preview. Then, click the "Recover" button to get them back.

recover deleted files from Mac

If this file recovery tool addresses your problem, share it with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! By the way, EaseUS also provides data recovery services to help users solve serious data loss issues.


We also provide a video tutorial for undoing an empty Trash bin on Mac. 

  • 00:00 - Trash Recovery
  • 00:26 - How Mac Trash Works
  • 01:21 - Restore Files from Mac Trash
  • 01:51 - Recover Emptied Trash Files

How to Recover Emptied Trash on a Mac Without Software

If you prefer solutions and recovering emptied trash on a Mac without software, use the following methods to restore files from emptied trash on your Mac. 

Method 1. Restore Emptied Trash with Time Machine Backup

This solution applies to whom:

The Time Machine is a built-in tool on your Mac that enables you to back up files automatically. After backup, you can restore your files to a previous start, and the recovery process won't be long. Check how to use Time Machine for Mac Trash recovery:

Step 1. Connect your external storage device for Time Machine backup to your Mac. 

Step 2. Open Finder,  click > "Go" > "Utilities" > "Time Machine".

Step 3. On the Time Machine window, you will see all the backups available to restore. You can scroll the timeline on the right side of the screen to find the version that concludes the lost data. 

Step 4. Select the backup point you need. Then, specify the files you want and click "Restore" to save the recovered files.

undelete Trash from Time Machine

Recovery notice: To ensure that Time Machine can help you recover your data, you need to maintain frequent and regular backups so that you have the latest version of your files when you lose data. You can read Apple's official documentation for complete instructions on backing up your Mac with Time Machine.

Method 2. Undo Empty Trash on Mac Using Terminal

This solution applies to whom:

  • Accidentally emptied Trash folder and lost data 
  • Have some computer knowledge and know how to operate the command line

Same as the Windows Command Prompt, Terminal allows users to manage the Mac with command lines. It provides more advanced features for users who have computer skills. If you know how to use this utility, follow the steps below to recover deleted files with Mac Terminal

Step 1. Start Spotlight and search for Terminal. Or you can navigate to "Finder" > "Applications" > "Utilities" to find "Terminal".

open Terminal

Step 2. In the Terminal screen, type cd ~/.Trash to check the Trash folder.

Step 3. Then, type the ls command to list the files and folders. If you find the deleted files, you can restore them to another location rather than the original place, which can avoid data overwriting and increase the chance of recovery. 

Use Terminal to recover Mac Trash

Remember: When you enter a command line, make sure it is correct before the tool executes the process. Otherwise, incorrect commands can cause more problems. If this method does not work, immediately use data recovery software or backup to retrieve lost data.


That's all about Mac Trash recovery. You can use EaseUS Mac data recovery software to quickly restore deleted files from the emptied Trash folder. You can also select file recovery from backup files, use Mac Terminal, or contact a professional Mac data recovery service. 

Whatever method you choose to recover files from emptied Trash, remember to stop operating your Mac immediately after data loss. Any document saving or software installation will likely overwrite your lost data, reducing the likelihood of recovery.

How to Prevent Permanent File Deletion on a Mac [5 Tips]

Here are some valuable instructions you can take to reduce the data loss risk effectively:

  • Confirm before deleting the file: Use methods that permanently delete data carefully. Essential documents should be stored in a safe location. When deleting data, check whether it is still needed.
  • Back up crucial files regularly: Use Time Machine or other reliable backup methods to copy important files regularly. 
  • Stop using devices instantly: Don't use your Mac or other storage devices after data loss. This is the most vital point to keep in mind.
  • Use professional file recovery software: Install and use popular Mac data recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover data to the maximum extent possible. 
  • Keep your Mac updated: System updates can fix some data loss issues caused by bugs or conflicts. For example, system updates can effectively reduce the risk of system crashes.

Recover Emptied Trash Bin on Mac FAQs

Here are some related questions that you may be interested in. Read on and solve your problems easily.

1. How do you recover permanently deleted files from emptied Trash on a Mac?

Files are permanently deleted when you empty the Trash folder. Follow the steps below to recover permanently deleted files on Mac:

  • Recover deleted files with Mac data recovery software
  • Restore Mac Trash files via Time Machine backup
  • Retrieve deleted files with Terminal commands

2. Where is the Trash on Mac?

Usually, it is on the Desktop. If it is not there, click its icon in the Dock. A Finder window called Trash opens and displays any files it contains. To retrieve an item already in the Trash, drag it back out onto the Desktop or back into the folder where it belongs.

3. Where do deleted files go after emptying the Trash?

Files that are moved to the Trash can when you delete them. If you empty the Trash, these files are still on the hard drive and can be retrieved with the right software.

4. Can I recover emptied Trash on a Mac?

Yes. It's easy to recover files from emptied Trash with the help of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. It only takes three steps to recover files from emptied Trash:

Step 1. Select the location and click the Scan button.

Step 2. The software will run a quick and deep scan to find lost files.

Step 3. Select the file(s) and click the Recover Now button to get them back.

5. How do you empty the Trash on a Mac?

  • Click and hold the Trash icon in the Dock.
  • A popup will appear that says Empty Trash. Select it. 

You can also empty the Trash from any open Finder window by holding down the Command + Shift + Delete keys.

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working at EaseUS for over ten years, starting as a technical writer and moving on to being a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over ten years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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