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How To: Return Trashed Files to Their Original Location on Your Mac

How To: Return Trashed Files to Their Original Location on Your Mac

OK, I don’t need this file any longer, so I’ll just drag it down to the Trash in my Dock. Keeps my Mac a bit cleaner, don’t ya know! Whoops! I actually need that file! Now what?

Has this happened to you? Well, don’t worry your pretty little head, Bill. As long as you haven’t already emptied the Trash, (or 30 days haven’t passed since you trashed the file), there’s an easy way to restore that file back to its original folder!

How To: Return Trashed Files to Their Original Location on Your Mac

Just click on the Trash icon down in your Mac’s Dock to open a Finder window that will display the trashed files still on your hard drive.

Select the file or folder you wish to bring back to life, then right-click (Control-click) on the item. A drop down menu will appear. Click “Put Back.”

How To: Return Trashed Files to Their Original Location on Your Mac

The file will be put back into the folder it was deleted from, and a new Finder window will open, displaying the file in the window’s directory. You can now empty the Trash without worrying about permanently deleting the file.

If you’re into keyboard shortcut combos, you can also restore an item from the Trash by highlighting the trashed file or folder and pressing the keyboard shortcut Command + Delete.

There is one more way you can Put Back an item from the trash, and that is to select the file or folder in the Trash and then go to “File” -> “Put Back” from the Menu Bar as shown below:

How To: Return Trashed Files to Their Original Location on Your Mac

Using this helpful hint, you can bring files back from the dead. Use your powers wisely. With a great how-to comes great responsibility.

For more tips and tricks on how to make better use of your Mac, iOS device, Apple Watch, or Apple TV, be sure to visit the “How To” section of our website.

  1. Alan Power says:

    Tried all the variations but nothing works. The headings under File such as Put Back are all greyed out! Any ideas?

  2. Haley says:

    Same thing is happening to me, but only with the items from the “past 7 days.” Help!

  3. Susannah says:

    I’m experiencing the same! so frustrating. Have either of you had success?

  4. Amol Gholap says:

    Here is another AppleScript like the one posted by user227282:

    repeat
    tell application “Finder”
    close windows
    if items of trash is {} then return
    open trash
    activate
    end tell
    tell application “System Events”
    key code 125 — down arrow
    key code 51 using command down — command-delete
    end tell
    end repeat
    You can run the script by pasting it to AppleScript Editor and pressing command-R. I didn’t need any delays.

    If Finder shows a password dialog when it tries to put back some item, try adding something like this to the end of the tell application “System Events” block:

    delay 1
    if exists window 1 of process “SecurityAgent” then
    tell window 1 of process “SecurityAgent”
    set value of text field 2 of scroll area 1 of group 1 to “pa55word”
    click button 2 of group 2
    end tell
    end if
    delay 1

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