How to do "Secure Empty Trash" in OS X El Capitan – Securely delete files on Mac


In Mac OS X EI Caption  (10.11 or later), “Secure Empty Trash” feature is missing. Don’t worry. You can use”Secure Empty Trash” equivalent feature to  Securely delete files on Mac.

“Secure Empty Trash” Equivalent

You can use “srm command” in command line to securely delete files. But the problem is you can’t get the file back (even using 3rd party recovery software) unless you have backup.

  1. Open Terminal App from (/Applications/Utilities) folder or using Spotlight search.
  2. Type or paste the following command
    srm -rfv -s
  3. Then drag and drop the paricular file ( you want to delte) in Terminal window. Final command lokk like this
    srm -rfv -s /path/to/folder-or-file
  4. Then press return/Enter key. Enter Administrator password if its require.

Use Delete immediately feature

Open the Trash. Right click the file or folder and choose “Delete immediately” option.

delete immediately on mac

Use 3rd party software & scripts

Use 3rd party utility apps like Cocktail or CCleaner to perform”Secure Empty Trash” equivalent. These apps have secure file deletion options.

Also try to use 3rd party scripts like secure-empty-osx-trash-hdd to securely delete files on El Capitan.

SEE ALSO : How to Delete Locked Items in your Mac Trash

How to erase free space on drive in OS X EI caption

Apple also removed one another feature in EI caption Disk utlility which is used to erase free space on drive.

If you want to erase free space on your Mac drive use the following command

diskutil secureErase freespace LEVEL /Volumes/DRIVENAME

Note: Use the number from 0 to 4 instead of LEVEL. 0 = single-pass of zeros. 1  = single-pass of random numbers, 2 = 7-pass erase, 3 = 35-pass erase and 4 = 3-pass erase (All non single-pass options take long time to complete).

Also change the DRIVENAME to the name of the drive.

12:41 pm

One response to How to do "Secure Empty Trash" in OS X El Capitan – Securely delete files on Mac

I'm running 11.1 & all "Delete immediately" does on my late 2012 mini is put the file back where it had been, i.e if in a folder it puts the file in the Trash, if I try once it is in the Trash, it leaves that, sure, …….. but it returns the original folder!

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