There is this issue on OSX that often when you put a font file into the trash, it can't be emptied as the system thinks the font is still in use:


However, I've uninstalled it using Font Book, I've quit any application that might still be holding on to the font, including the Finder, but it's still reported as being in use. The only thing that helps is completely logging out and back in again, but that's not right. There has to be a better way. Has anyone figured this out?

(I know this isn't exactly a serious problem but it's nagging me.)


You could force remove it using Terminal, if it really bothers you.

Example: rm /Users/akiekintveld/.Trash/font.ttf Would remove a file named "font.ttf" from your trash.

  • That works. Actually I’m trying to find out what the origin of this issue is so I can fix it at the source. But yeah, that’s a simple workaround that I strangely haven’t thought of. Thanks :) – Niels Heidenreich Dec 8 '15 at 17:03

Ok, I did some more research and I think that this is actually a long-standing bug in the system. I’ll post this to whoever else is bothered by this. Using the following Terminal command, you can see what processes are still holding on to the font file (see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8317177/see-what-process-is-using-a-file-in-mac-os-x):

lsof|grep <name of the font file>

(It’s the first column of the data that gets printed.) And then you can restart the process (app) in question and see if you can delete the file now. In my case, it looks like it was the Finder, but I restarted that one and I still couldn’t empty the trash. Next time it happens, I’ll dig deeper (I’ve already deleted the file now).

In case you just want to get rid of the file and don’t care what’s causing the problem (like I do), you can delete the font file directly from the Trash, again using the Terminal, as Austin Kiekintveld suggested:

rm ~/.Trash/<name of the font file>

(When using the Terminal, leave out the <>, they are just to mark that it’s a placeholder)

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