Secure Empty Trash on a Mac

If you need to delete sensitive information and have it completely inaccessible, you�ll want to use the �Secure Empty Trash� feature. This works by writing over a file immediately after it has been removed from the filesystem, something which otherwise takes place over time throughout normal computer usage.

Secure Empty Trash Quickly in OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion makes it easier than ever to access secure file removal:

  • Command+Right Click the Trash can
  • Select �Secure Empty Trash

Using secure empty, which is also accessible via the Finder menu, will take a bit longer than emptying the Trash as normal, this is because the aforementioned overwriting process is taking place. The more files you are secure deleting, the longer this will take.

Get in the habit of using Secure Empty Trash anytime you are removing something that is truly sensitive and that you don�t want others to regain access to. Things like financial statements, credit card information, personal files and diaries, or deleting the source files and finished documents from openssl file encryption.

Enable Secure Empty as Default

For nearly every version of Mac OS X, there is also an option to always securely empty the Trash, enabled within the Advanced Finder preferences. If you regularly work with private data this is a good feature to turn on.

Always Use Secure Empty Trash

While the Secure Empty Trash feature makes recovering data significantly more difficult even by professional data recovery services, if you want true data removal without any traces, performing a secure format of a hard drive is the safest bet and is always recommended when transferring ownership of a Mac or it�s hard drive.

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