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I've had this infuriating problem for quite some time now, where I can't empty my Trash. More specifically, every time I empty it, there's a folder called temp(1) that keeps reappearing in there after a while. I managed to determine this folder comes from iCloud (specifically the .trash folder under the iCloud library folder). I have no idea how all that information got in there (I had no idea iCloud has its own trash folder), but it's been there for a while apparently.

iCloud trash folder folder in iCloud web interface

I've tried everything I could think of to remedy this:

  • delete the .trash folder from the console
  • rename it
  • move it to other iCloud tracked folder (like Desktop)
  • delete it using the iCloud web interface
  • delete it from my iPhone

No matter what I do, it keeps reappearing. It's driving me insane. My guess is that there's some server side error and the iCloud storage server can't remove this folder, so that's why it keeps getting resurrected. Any idea what I can do in this case?

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    Just a thought, what if you sign out of iCloud, reboot, empty the trash and sign back in. Does it then return? Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 22:26
  • Hi Steve, yes the folder would keep reappearing during the sync with iCloud drive servers, as it would not be removed from there. I've tried removing it from the web interface (using the "Delete all" option, see pic from main description) but it's not working (folder will reappear after a while). Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 11:23
  • If you delete it from web interface and it comes back, one of your clients is syncing. Apple support can tell you more details if you can’t track that down yourself.
    – bmike
    Commented 2 days ago

3 Answers 3

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I found out why this was happening. I have a Windows box which I completely forgot I installed iCloud on. For some reason, that temp folder would not get deleted on the Windows machine, and it was re-uploaded to iCloud every night. That's why it was re-appearing on the other devices.

After deleting the folder from the Windows machine, the issue stopped happening. Case closed.

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For me it was the hidden .Trash folder on the PC in the iCloud Drive folder in my Windows User Profile folder, for some reason neither deleting within iCloud nor Emptying the trash on my Mac sync'd as such on Windows thus they stayed in .trash hidden folder in Windows. I guess when iCloud on the PC sync'd it put them back in iCloud.

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For others you may not know where other PCs you have also running iCloud(Yes I got multiple laptops)

  1. Login to iCloud webapp
  2. Click to enter iCloud Drive app (still with web)
  3. Find Trash folder on top of the left sidebar

and you will find the folder that you have no idea why it keep returning.

  1. Click the three-dot icon menu
  2. Click Delete forever
  3. If it returns again, click Recover, it can solve the issue. image of iCloud drive contextmenu
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