Most Mac users know how to delete files from their Mac’s hard drive. You simply select the file or files you want to delete, and either drag them to the trash can on the dock, or right-click and choose “Move to Trash,” and the files are all gone, right?
Well, not exactly. Following the above directions doesn’t really delete the files, it basically gets the files out of your way, and allows that space to be used if needed. Sure, you can also empty the trash on your Mac, but there are plenty of ways others could recover those “deleted” files.
What if you want to make sure your “trashed” files are actually gone, never to be seen again?
The easiest way to make sure files are permanently gone, simply use your Mac’s “Secure Empty Trash” function.
To use Secure Empty Trash, just move your files to the trash can as we described above. Now, when you want to empty the trash, by performing a few extra steps, you’ll make sure your files are really gone.
When emptying the trash, instead of right-clicking the trash can and selecting “Empty Trash,” hold down the Command Key, (the first key to the left or right of the spacebar), while right-clicking the trash can, and you’ll see “Secure Empty Trash” as your option. While still holding the Command Key, click “Secure Empty Trash,” and your file will be deleted, never to be seen again.
You can also go to go to the “Finder” menu and click on “Secure Empty Trash,” it’s your call, really.
You’ll notice doing a secure empty trash will take a bit longer to complete than simply emptying the Trash. That’s because instead of just marking your files as deleted, Secure Empty Trash also overwrites the “emptied” files by randomly writing data over them. The more files your securely empty, the longer the process will take. But at least you can be sure they’re gone for good.