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Deleting/Emptying Trash

matt9013

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 27, 2013
333
16
How much strain does deleting/emptying the trash have on the HDD? Is it safe to always empty after something goes in or should I do it like once a week or something? Does it even put that much strain on the HDD at all?

Thanks, first time owning an iMac and replacing the HDD isn't as easy as it was on my Macbook. Don't want to do anything that could speed up the death of the HDD if I can avoid it.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,687
2,895
Delaware
If you choose the option to do a "Secure Empty Trash" every time - that may put unnecessary wear and tear on the hard drive, and probably is not ever needed, unless for those folks who are, shall we say, more paranoid than the average user. :D Normal Empty Trash, no real affect on the life of the media.
The only real issue with emptying, or not emptying the trash, is that items in the trash continue to take up space on your drive until you actually empty the trash.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,914
10,704
California
Cool, for some reason I always thought it would strain the HDD a little.

Thanks
Nah... it may help to understand a bit how this works. Let's say there are 353 files in the trash and you empty the trash. The OS does not really erase those files like you might think. All it does is remove the pointers to those 353 files from the index (think of table of contents). Kind of like if you took a book and ripped out the table of contents or index pages. The content is still there, but there is no way to find it directly any longer. So the OS deleting that table of contents entry is very very little stress on the drive.
 
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kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,421
723
Nah... it may help to understand a bit how this works. Let's say there are 353 files in the trash and you empty the trash. The OS does not really erase those files like you might think. All it does is remove the pointers to those 353 files from the index (think of table of contents). Kind of like if you took a book and ripped out the table of contents or index pages. The content is still there, but there is no way to find it directly any longer. So the OS deleting that table of contents entry is very very little stress on the drive.
Cool, for some reason I always thought it would strain the HDD a little.

Thanks
A disk drive is essentially always working (reading/writing) when you Mac is operating. The OS is putting and taking, Spotlight and (perhaps) Time Machine are doing their thing, and so on. Apps like mail and web browsing are also actively using the disk, usually several processes/several times a second. Drives are designed for this, and asking it to delete files marked as Trash is just another thing in a long, and constant, to-do list. The idea behind "trash" is to give you a chance to undo the act of throwing something away, so to that end not deleting very often (weeks? months?) may be a good idea.
 
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