When I try to delete some items, whether from the keyboard (Command+Delete) or by dragging to the Trash on the dock, I get a message informing me that I can only permanently delete the item.

Why is that? How can I change that? (Is it a permissions issue?)

  • Please run the command ls -leO@d ~ ~/.Trash and post the results -- that might help show exactly what needs fixing. Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 14:40
  • It reports this: drwxr-xr-x+ 37 Moshe staff - 1258 Mar 27 13:26 /Users/Moshe 0: group:everyone deny delete drwx------ 18 Moshe staff - 612 Apr 1 14:49 /Users/Moshe/.Trash
    – Moshe
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 1:22
  • That looks entirely normal -- apparently it's not permissions on either your .Trash or home folder. Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


If you suspect it's a permissions issue (and permissions can be the cause of a great many problems in OSX), open Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app) and select 'Repair Permissions' from the First Aid tab. It will output permissions problems if finds and fixes.

  • This worked! It found a bunch of permissions settings and fixed them.
    – Moshe
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 3:41

The Finder can't create or manage trashbins over network shares, and will tell you that.

  • It does the same for files on my desktop.
    – Moshe
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 17:04
  • Interesting. It might then be permissions: open a Terminal, type ls -ld ~/.Trash. It should look something like drwx------ 46 allbery staff 1564 Mar 30 23:50 .Trash/ (with your username instead of mine).
    – geekosaur
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 17:14
  • So how would I fix permissions? With that command?
    – Moshe
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 17:28
  • Depends on what's broken, but simple permissions issues would be sudo chown $USER ~/.Trash; sudo chmod 700 ~/.Trash.
    – geekosaur
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 17:29
  • Nope, still wants to trash things permanently.
    – Moshe
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 17:39

Check out this link. It provides a number of options for you to try.


A variety of issues can result in making it difficult or impossible to either move files to, or empty, the Trash in Mac® OS X. This FAQ, derived from our book Troubleshooting Mac OS X, covers the following Trash-related topics:


  • 1
    This community appreciates a little extra bit of info or something like that to make answers more than just a link. Can you add some such tidbit here? Thanks! Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 1:33

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