I have tons of file on my desktop. I am using latest macbook pro.

After selecting the file using mouse I hit delete and then "command and delete" and none of them work.

So finally I hit ctrl + mouse click and then I chose "Move to trash".

Is there a way to delete the file using only keyboard?

  • 1
    Also, is there a way to delete a file, instead of only moving it to the trash bin? I mean, other than "rm" at the prompt? – lpacheco Jun 16 '11 at 11:26
  • Did the answer solve your problem? If yes you can mark it as accepted; if no can you provide more information? – styfle Jul 2 '11 at 22:49
  • @lpacheco -- No, the Finder does not provide the ability to do this directly. You can press the keyboard commands to send to Trash and immediately empty the trash, or check out this question and answer (apple.stackexchange.com/questions/43577/…) for other ways to extend Finder to be able to do this. – whiskeychief Aug 6 '15 at 10:24

command+delete works just fine. Highlight the file (single click or use your keyboard to select it), then hold command and without releasing it, push delete. This moves the file or folder to the trash.

Note that delete is in the same place as Backspace on a Windows keyboard.

  • 1
    A variety of other OS X apps also require Cmd-Delete instead of simply Delete, mimicking the Finder. – Matthew Frederick Jun 16 '11 at 3:11
  • how did you make the command, delete and backspace show up as buttons? – iGbanam Jun 16 '11 at 9:34
  • 1
    <kbd>keyname</kbd> – jm666 Jun 16 '11 at 9:52
  • To select the icon of the file -- if no windows are active (or they are all closed -- you can start typing the icon's name. – whiskeychief Aug 6 '15 at 9:53
  • 1
    By the way, you can use ⌥⌘⌫ to bypass the Trash and delete it immediately. – SilverWolf Sep 19 '17 at 15:01

The full procedure to delete a file from the desktop, without the mouse, that should work almost anywhere in OS X, includes the following.

Command-Tab to switch applications until the Finder is the active application.

If any Finder windows are currently open, press Command-Shift-D to open a new window containing the Desktop folder, or Option-Command-W to close all active Finder windows and make the Finder's desktop active;

To highlight the icon, type the first few letters of the icon's name, or press the arrow keys until it is selected (highlighted);

Command-Delete to send the icon to the trash;

Optionally, Command-Shift-Delete to empty the trash.

Learning the keyboard shortcuts takes time, but many of the steps in the Finder can become natural, almost "automatic" with enough practice.

(This answer gives the key names in U.S. English. The Command key is also labeled ; The Option key is also labeled ; The Shift key is also labeled ; and as mentioned by Styfle, the "delete" key is called "Backspace" on other operating systems.)

  • 1
    This so confusing with irrelevant information. – igauravsehrawat Jan 10 '16 at 6:12

I had an issue with command+delete not working to delete things on the desktop that looked like apps I had installed earlier. Turns out they weren't files, but instead mounted DMG files that needed to be ejected with +E.


Just in case if someone uses external Microsoft Sculpt Ergo keyboard + Macbook Pro 2016. I'm able to move file to Trash with 'Win'+'backspace' keystroke.

  • 1
    Yes, in general the Windows key is the Command key for all operations. – grg Sep 19 '17 at 15:01
  • It's more related to the fact that 'Win'+'Delete' doesn't work for me, but should, if we assume that 'Win' == 'Command' – St.Shadow Sep 25 '17 at 17:24

highlight, then SHIFT + DELETE; click ok

  • How do you highlight with the keyboard only? – nohillside Dec 12 '16 at 15:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .