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How to empty Trash after 30 days on macOS

SSDs are becoming common on laptops but those of a larger capacity cost quite a bit. On Macbooks, paying for a bigger SSD often means an exponential difference in the price tag. If you have a Macbook with a smaller SSD, and no HDD to go with it, you want to keep as much space on it free as possible. One way to keep space on your SSD free is to keep the Trash clean. MacOS has an option to empty Trash after 30 days which purges all files that have been in there for more than that amount of time. Here’s how you can enable it.

Empty Trash after 30 days

This is a built-in feature on macOS and there are two ways to enable it.

Storage management

Click the Apple menu on the menu bar, and select ‘About this Mac’. In the window that opens, select the Storage tab. On the Storage tab, you will see how storage is being used up on your Mac and it will also tell you how much space the Trash is consuming. Click the Manage button on this tab.

You will see a few features you can enable to manage the storage on your Mac one of which is ‘Empty Trash Automatically’. Click the ‘Turn On’ button next to it. You will get a confirmation message asking if you want to empty the trash automatically. Click the Turn On option on this message and all files that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days will automatically be deleted.

Finder preferences

You can also turn on this automatic file deletion feature for Trash from the Finder preferences. Click Finder in the menu bar, and select Preferences. Go to the Advanced tab, and you will see an option called ‘Remove items from the Trash after 30 days’. Enable it, and files that have been in Trash for more than a month will be removed, periodically.

This is a good way to optimize storage space on a Mac regardless if you have an SSD or an HDD. You should regulate other locations on your Mac where you tend to just dump files e.g., the Downloads folder. There’s no similar option for the Downloads folder however, you can use an Automator action to get the job done. The process isn’t as elegant as that for the Trash but it does work and it can be applied to any folder you like.

If you’re a Windows 10 user looking for the same thing, there’s a similar feature that you can turn on if you use Storage Sense.

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