Permanently Delete Email and Files Immediately (without going to Trash first)

Email management can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming. I ran into an instance a few days ago where I needed to clean up thousands of mail messages in order to reclaim that space. Ordinarily, this would require me to review each folder in my mailbox, select a range of emails then delete them. The problem is, that just moves them to another folder (the Trash folder), which means I have to do it all over again on order to make a real difference in reclaiming that space.

Fortunately, there’s a simple keyboard combination that will help speed things up and significantly reduce the time that it takes to manage your email. This tip also applies to the deletion of files in Finder.

Caution: before we proceed, just a reminder that when we use the following keyboard shortcut, it will permanently delete the email or files that we are deleting. That’s the idea behind this. If you permanently delete a file or email using this method, there’s no recovering that data without going to a backup.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, here we go…

To permanently delete email or files from Finder, we simply highlight the items we want gone forever, and use the following keyboard shortcut:

Option + Command + Delete

That’s it! When applying this deletion method to email in Mail, those messages simply disappear forever. When we apply this deletion method to files in Finder, we are presented with the following message:

This keyboard shortcut may also apply to other applications on your Mac. Feel free to test it out by creating an item that can be permanently deleted and give it a try.

Posted on February 3, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.