In either case, you will then need to confirm your intention to empty the trash. There are two ways, however, to skip the empty trash confirmation step. The keyboard shortcut Command-Option-Shift-Delete empties the trash while bypassing the confirmation dialog window.
If that four-button keyboard shortcut is too cumbersome or difficult to remember, you can change a setting in Finder's preferences to kill the empty trash confirmation. From the Finder menu option in the menu bar, choose Preferences. On the Advanced tab, uncheck the box for Show warning before emptying the Trash.
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Now, you'll be able to use the standard three-button keyboard shortcut to empty the trash without needing to jump through the extra hoop of confirming your intention. And the keyboard shortcut still involves three buttons, which makes it unlikely that you'll accidentally engage the command. That's my current go-to for trashing files: Command-Delete to move files to the trash and Command-Shift-Delete to empty the trash.
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How to Delete Files and Folders on a Mac
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Lots of people ask me if the only way to delete a file is to drag it to the trash can on the Dock. After all, pressing the [delete] key sure doesn't delete it. Just like [Command][UpArrow] moves you up the folder hierarchy, and [Command][Enter] takes you down into a selected folder, you need to use the [Command] keystroke with the [Delete] key to perform this Mac Finder file delete operation. If it helps, once you get used to it, it becomes second nature.
For instance, I actually appreciate that hitting [Enter] when a file is selected lets me rename the file, while [Command][Enter] opens the file or folder.
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Once you use it you go "Ahhh, I see why they did that". And in the case of deleting files, [Command][Delete] is actually a consistent use of the [Command] key when working in the Finder.
Mac Finder tip: By Alvin Alexander. Last updated: June 3 The short answer is yes, you can delete a file in the Mac Finder with the keyboard by: