I recently upgraded my Mac from Snow Leopard to El Capitan. I had been using a utility called Compost, which automatically deletes anything that has been in the trash more than a configured amount of time (also there are lots of other options, like if the disk is more than n% full). It doesn't seem to be working any more. The preference pane still works (although it's a 32-bit pane so it requires an annoying reload of System Preferences), and I can see the process running in Activity Monitor, but files aren't getting deleted.

Unfortunately, the developer stopped maintaining it several years ago. Anyone know of something similar that works in El Cap?

2 Answers 2

  • After doing a quick google search, a user from MacRumors mentioned Hazel, which has this feature, although pricy at $32
  • TrashTimer is a free alternative app, works straight from the preference pane.
  • Or, for the DIY-er, this discussion on the Apple Communities forums has two answers, one by twtwtw, and one by Tony T1.

twtwtw's answer uses an Applescript and a launchd plist file to automatically execute the script at midnight. The files in trash then gets today's date written into the comments section, and if the date matched is older than x days, deleted. TL;DR: File is deleted depending on the date written in the comments section of file.

Tony T1's answer uses only a plist file in the launchd, and it deletes files based on the created date. Tony T1 also adds this:

Notes: -- I use -mindepth 1 -prune, so that if a FOLDER is in the Trash, every file in the folder is deleted (-R), (even is it is less than 7 days old -- good for App bundles). -- Some files might not be deleted if srm has an error (for example, write protected files owned by another user) -- This only handles the Users Home Trash. If you have attached drives, adjust accordingly.

Sidenote for a fix for Tony T1's answer

Alternative to Compost – MacRumors forum

Apple Communities discussion

  • Thanks, I'm trying TrashTimer now, I'll see how it goes.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 20:08
  • Thanks! Please remember to upvote or mark as answered so that people will know that this is the solution for future cases!
    – MrU
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 0:19
  • Of course. I'm just waiting to see that it actually works, which will take a day.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 0:26
  • +1 for Hazel; it offers much more functionality than what the OP is requesting, so if you seek to leverage it more fully the price is not as much of an issue. Been very happy user myself for a few years.
    – Brian M.
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 14:53
  • @BrianM. It does look like a decent app, but I don't think I would get much use out of its features.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 17:32

It is not available anymore and it is certainly not compatible. In general I don't advise to use such "tools" at all. If you are working on your mac what is easier then look at the Trash bin and empty it from time to time? If you do not have enough space to have some files in your Trash bin, you are already too low on free space anyway....

  • For the most part I'd like to ignore the trash. I grew up on computers where deleting files was immediate. I have lots of disk space available, that's not the problem. I just don't want to have to do something manually when the computer can do it for me.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 20:00

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