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Users can sudo rm -rf a file or they can move it to the trash and empty the trashcan. I want to know whether one option has benefits over the other with regard to the "health" of an internal solid state drive on a Macbook pro laptop.

  • You had two questions in here. This site works better when there is only one question per question. That way, it's easier for other people to find solutions if they have the same problem. I've edited out your second question, but feel free to ask it separately. – nohillside Mar 4 '18 at 8:48
  • It's a non issue. See this relevant answer: apple.stackexchange.com/a/289040/119271 – Allan Mar 5 '18 at 13:03
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Both options (as well as any other user-level way of deleting files) will have the same result at the end: the directory entry of the file will be removed and any disk blocks used by the file will be marked as free (details depend on file system used). So there is no difference at all on device level.

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Deleting a file or moving to Trash will modify the directory, which is cached and will have similar impact (probably no net impact) on the underlying storage.

Neither will actually have any impact on the storage used for the file contents, although in the case of deletion the sectors/blocks will be marked as free. As this is also done in a separate/shared area of the disk the impact will be minimal.

If a trashed file is later deleted the impact is similar to a deletion.

The net result is that moving to Trash and deletion have similar impact. Moving to Trash first will result in 2 modifications to directory storage, with minimal (if any) impact.

This happens independent of storage technology. Provided the disk has a reasonable free space this is not worth worrying about. Actual SSD block erasure is asynchronous, and SSD have a pool of spare blocks and SSD firmware should balance block usage.

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  • so practically speaking, there's no effect; technically speaking, there's negligible effect? If the trashcan method has an added step, I wonder if those added steps over time increase the chance for an error to occur. Also, would the answer change if we're talking about large files (~1gb) rather than a collection of disparate ones? – grad student Mar 5 '18 at 19:31

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