How do you delete things on Mac that Cannot be deleted?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

To delete items on a Mac that cannot be deleted, such as locked files or folders, you need to follow a few steps. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through the process:

1. Confirm the item is locked: Before attempting to delete a file or folder, make sure it is actually locked. Locked items have a small padlock icon on their icons or in the Get Info window. If you’re unsure, select the item and press Command-I to open the Get Info window. Look for the “Locked” checkbox under the General section.

2. Unlock the item: If the item is locked, you’ll need to unlock it before deleting. In the Get Info window, deselect the Locked checkbox by clicking on it. You might need to authenticate with your admin password to make changes. Once unlocked, close the Get Info window.

3. Move the item to Trash: With the item unlocked, you can now move it to the Trash. Simply select the item and drag it to the Trash icon in the Dock, or right-click on the item and choose “Move to Trash” from the context menu.

4. Empty the Trash: After moving the locked item to the Trash, it is not immediately deleted. It remains in the Trash until you empty it. To do this, either right-click on the Trash icon and choose “Empty Trash” or click on the Trash icon and select “Empty Trash” from the Finder menu. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-Delete to empty the Trash.

5. Confirm deletion: Deleting items from the Trash is permanent and cannot be undone. Before emptying the Trash, double-check its contents to ensure you’re not deleting any important files. Once you’ve confirmed, proceed with emptying the Trash.

If you encounter any issues during the deletion process, make sure you have the necessary permissions to modify or delete the item. If you’re unable to unlock or delete an item, it may be because you don’t have sufficient privileges. In such cases, you might need to log in as an administrator or contact the owner of the item for assistance.

To summarize, to delete locked items on a Mac:
1. Confirm the item is locked.
2. Unlock the item by deselecting the Locked checkbox in the Get Info window.
3. Move the unlocked item to the Trash.
4. Empty the Trash to permanently delete the item.

Remember, exercise caution when deleting files, especially if you’re unsure of their importance. It’s always a good practice to back up important files before deleting them, just in case.