How to Permanently Delete Downloads on Mac: A General Guide

Greetings Mac users! Are you tired of all the clutter on your computer, specifically those pesky downloads that just won’t seem to disappear? Well, fear not, as we have the solution for you. In this article, we will be discussing the 12 steps on how to permanently delete downloads on your Mac. Follow these simple and easy steps to free up some much-needed space on your computer.


Step 1: Find the Downloads folder

The first step to permanently delete downloads on your Mac is to locate the Downloads folder. This folder can be found in your Dock or in your Finder window. Once you have located the folder, click to open it.

Step 2: Sort by Date

The next step is to sort the downloads by date. This allows you to see all the newest downloads first, which makes it easier to delete the ones you no longer need. You can easily sort by date by clicking the “Date Added” option at the top of the folder.

Step 3: Select Downloads to Delete

After you have sorted the downloads by date, you can select the ones you want to permanently delete. You can do this by highlighting the file or group of files. If there are multiple downloads you want to delete, hold down the Command button while selecting.

Step 4: Move Downloads to Trash

Once you have selected the downloads you want to permanently delete, move them to the Trash. This can be done by dragging and dropping the files into the Trash bin in your Dock.

Step 5: Empty Trash

After you have moved the downloads to the Trash, you must empty the Trash to permanently delete them. You can do this by right-clicking on the Trash icon in your Dock and selecting “Empty Trash”.

Step 6: Check Other Folders

In some cases, downloads may be saved in other folders on your computer, such as your Desktop or Documents folder. It’s important to check these folders to ensure all the downloads you want to delete are deleted.

Step 7: Delete Downloads from Downloads History

Downloads may also be saved in your Downloads history, which is accessed by clicking on the Downloads icon in your Dock. To delete downloads from your Downloads history, click on “Clear” at the bottom of the list.

Step 8: Use Terminal

If there are downloads you want to permanently delete that are still on your computer, you can use Terminal to do so. Open Terminal and type in “sudo rm -rf ~/Downloads/*” and press Enter. This will permanently delete all files in your Downloads folder.

Step 9: Use a Third-Party App

There are also third-party apps available that can help you permanently delete downloads on your Mac. Some popular options include AppCleaner, CleanMyMac, and CCleaner.

Step 10: Delete Downloads Automatically

If you want to save time and automatically delete downloads on a regular basis, you can set up a cleaning schedule using a third-party app like CleanMyMac. This will ensure your Downloads folder is always clutter-free.

Step 11: Use iCloud

You can also use iCloud to permanently delete downloads on your Mac. Simply enable iCloud Drive and move your downloads to the iCloud Drive folder. You can then permanently delete the downloads from your computer, knowing they are still accessible in iCloud.

Step 12: Regularly Clean Your Computer

Lastly, it’s important to regularly clean your computer to prevent downloads from piling up and taking up unnecessary space. Make it a habit to go through your Downloads folder and delete any files you no longer need on a regular basis.


Now that we have gone over the 12 steps on how to permanently delete downloads on your Mac, let’s dive deeper into some of the explanations for why these steps are important.

Permanently deleting downloads from your Mac can help free up space on your computer, making it run faster and more efficiently. It can also help protect your privacy by ensuring any sensitive documents or files are completely removed from your computer.

In addition, regularly cleaning your computer is important for maintaining its overall health and longevity. By keeping your computer clutter-free, you can prevent issues such as slow performance, crashes, and even data loss.

Tips and Tricks

1. Make a habit of regularly cleaning your Downloads folder.

2. Use a third-party app to help automate the cleaning process.

3. Consider using iCloud to store important files instead of cluttering up your computer with downloads.

4. Be sure to check other folders besides your Downloads folder, such as your Desktop or Documents folder.

5. Use Terminal with caution, as it can potentially delete important files if used incorrectly.

6. When in doubt, consult with a professional or expert.

7. Back up important files to an external drive to ensure they are not lost during the cleaning process.

8. Consider creating a dedicated folder for frequently downloaded files to keep them organized and easily accessible.

9. Regularly update your Mac’s software and security features to ensure optimal performance and protection.

10. Don’t be afraid to seek out tutorials or online resources for more information on how to properly maintain your Mac and keep it clutter-free.

In conclusion, permanently deleting downloads on your Mac is an important part of maintaining a healthy and efficient computer. By following the 12 steps outlined in this article and implementing some of our top tips and tricks, you can ensure your Mac is always clutter-free and running smoothly. Happy cleaning!

Advantages and Disadvantages


1. More storage space: Permanent deletion of downloaded files frees up storage space on your Mac. This can improve overall performance and prevent your Mac from running slow due to limited storage.

2. Prevents sensitive data breach: Deleting downloaded files permanently is essential if the files contain sensitive information that might lead to data breach. It prevents anyone from accessing your confidential information even if someone gains access to your computer.

3. Reduces clutter: Deleting downloaded files that are no longer needed declutters your hard drive and improves organization. You can easily find important files when you need them and avoid wasting time searching for them.

4. Promotes faster backup: When you permanently delete downloaded files, backup and restore processes are faster and take up less space on your external hard drive. You can be sure that your important data is backed up in a shorter time period.

5. Keeps your Mac running smoothly: When your Mac has limited space, it may not function correctly. By permanently removing unnecessary downloads, your computer will run smoothly, be faster and functional.


1. Loss of important data: One disadvantage of permanent file deletion is that you can accidentally remove a valuable file. It is important to make sure that the files you want to delete are no longer needed.

2. Limited file recovery: Once you delete files permanently from your Mac, there is no way to recover them. It is important to double-check if you have important data that should not be deleted before deleting files permanently.

3. Time-consuming: Permanent deletion of files can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large number of files that need to be deleted. It is important to plan your time accordingly to ensure that you do not delete file(s) that you might need again.

4. May affect program functionality: Some programs may still use files after they have been downloaded. In this case, permanent deletion of the file may affect program functionality, making it difficult for the program to perform its intended task.

5. Requires more computer memory: Permanent deletion of files may use more computer memory than moving files to the trash bin. This can cause your computer to run slower if you do not have enough RAM.


Q1. Why should I permanently delete downloads on my Mac?

A1. Permanently deleting downloads on your Mac can free up storage space and increase the speed of your device.

Q2. How can I find my downloads folder on Mac?

A2. You can find your downloads folder on your Mac by opening Finder and selecting “Downloads” from the left-hand sidebar.

Q3. Is it safe to permanently delete downloads on Mac?

A3. Yes, it is safe to permanently delete downloads on your Mac. However, make sure to check the contents of your downloads folder before permanently deleting any files to ensure that you do not delete any important or necessary files.

Q4. Can I recover permanently deleted downloads on Mac?

A4. No, once you have permanently deleted downloads on your Mac, you cannot recover them.

Q5. How do I permanently delete files on a Mac?

A5. You can permanently delete files on your Mac by selecting the file(s), holding down the “Option” key, and clicking “Delete Immediately” in the context menu.

Q6. Will clearing my downloads folder delete my browser history?

A6. No, clearing your downloads folder will not delete your browser history.

Q7. Can I delete individual files from my downloads folder?

A7. Yes, you can delete individual files from your downloads folder by selecting the file(s) and clicking “Move to Trash” or pressing the “Delete” key.

Q8. How do I clear my downloads folder on a Mac?

A8. You can clear your downloads folder on your Mac by opening Finder, selecting “Downloads” from the left-hand sidebar, selecting the files you want to delete, and dragging them to the Trash. Then, empty the Trash to permanently delete the files.

Q9. Can I schedule a regular clearing of my downloads folder?

A9. Yes, you can schedule a regular clearing of your downloads folder by using a third-party software like CleanMyMac or Hazel.

Q10. Can deleting downloads help speed up my Mac?

A10. Yes, deleting downloads can help speed up your Mac by freeing up storage space and reducing the load on your device.

Q11. Should I delete old downloads or recent downloads?

A11. You should delete old downloads as they are less likely to be needed in the future.

Q12. Can I clear my downloads folder while files are still downloading?

A12. No, it is not recommended to clear your downloads folder while files are still downloading as it may disrupt the download process.

Q13. Should I clear my downloads folder before or after updating my Mac?

A13. It is recommended to clear your downloads folder after updating your Mac to ensure that any outdated or unnecessary files are removed.

How to Permanently Delete Downloads on Mac

Downloading files from the internet has become a common practice nowadays. With just a few clicks, anyone can access any kind of file they want. However, after downloading files, it is important to delete them from your Mac device to save storage space and to increase the longevity of your device’s performance. In this article, we will provide you with a few methods on how to permanently delete downloads on Mac.


Overall, deleting downloads on Mac is a simple task that can be done in just a few clicks. It is essential to regularly delete old and unnecessary files to free up space on your device and to prevent your device from running slow. By using the methods that we have provided, you can permanently delete your downloads and remove all traces of the files from your device. Keep your device running optimally by regularly clearing out your downloads folder, and always make sure to double-check before deleting any important files!

Thank you for reading this article on how to permanently delete downloads on Mac. We hope that the information provided was helpful to you and that you were able to successfully delete your downloads from your device. If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Take care and happy deleting!