I keep cleaning it once any file goes to it even though I have it set to clean automatically. I just deleted an important file thanks to this habit. I’d like to modify things so I can save myself from the practice of quickly emptying trash.

Is there a way to hide the trash can from the dock?


6 Answers 6



Neither the Trash nor the Finder can be removed from the dock.

  • 3
    That answer is definitely not what I’m looking for. Tell that everyone who created this world and you would be fired in a second
    – Arturo
    Nov 28, 2019 at 15:51
  • 4
    @Arturo, "I reject your reality and substitute my own"?
    – user28434
    Nov 28, 2019 at 16:25
  • 11
    @Arturo You’re trying to solve a problem that isn’t a problem except for the way that you’ve chosen to behave, and then criticizing people for telling you the truth just because you don’t want to hear it. I realize you’re new around here, but it’s not a great way to ask for help. If I had the misfortune of working for you, I wouldn’t be around long enough to be fired, I would have quit already. Life is too short to deal with people who refuse to listen.
    – TJ Luoma
    Nov 28, 2019 at 16:40
  • 8
    I’m not refusing to listen, and this is not a problem. I simply want to make my life more comfortable by modifying the machine that was meant for such purpose. @TJLuoma
    – Arturo
    Nov 28, 2019 at 16:42
  • 2
    I totally agree that this would not be a good solution to OP's problem, but this is actually an unusual software limitation. Windows Explorer and a couple Linux DE's I'm familiar with let you toggle the display of the trash bin on the desktop; I'm surprised MacOS doesn't provide such a switch. Nov 29, 2019 at 3:46

The trash can is working as intended - it's a "pre-deletion folder" that allows you to recover something before it gets permanently deleted. Going in and arbitrarily emptying it because "any file goes into it" defeats that purpose.

Allow it to do it's job and delete files periodically, automatically.

  • 13
    I think you didn't understand... read again
    – Arturo
    Nov 26, 2019 at 22:16
  • 30
    I understand completely. This an XY Problem. The problem is your habit causes the inadvertent deletion of important files (X) and the perceived solution you're looking for is to remove the trash can (Y). The solution to the problem is to allow the trash can to be and function as it was designed (change your behavior).
    – Allan
    Nov 26, 2019 at 22:23
  • 6
    @Arturo It’s cool if you don’t prefer this, but Allan has a very valid point as do you. Your habit caused you pain, and as a human, it’s nicer to get an accommodation to help with our habits. Also, I wonder if you know TimeMachine in Catalina can restore files from a snapshot? You might be able to just restore something when you realize you need it back and can empty the trash as fast as you please.
    – bmike
    Nov 27, 2019 at 0:00
  • 3
    @Harper-ReinstateMonica Many people are 'neat freaks' and obsessively clean out of habit, or prefer to have clean workspaces. This also extends to digital workspaces: not storing files or folders on your Desktop, keeping the Recycle Bin or Trash can empty, closing your web browser (and not having more than a couple tabs open at once) completely when you not using it, shutting down your computer when you're not using it (vs putting it to sleep or just leaving it on entirely). In other words: it's just how some people are; it's not necessarily a behavior exhibited in response to some stimulus.
    – TylerH
    Nov 27, 2019 at 17:45
  • 3
    @Arturo Your problem is that you're trying to make your Mac fit with your behavior, but that's not the Apple way, you need to change yourself to fit the great Apple not the other way around
    – Maxim
    Nov 28, 2019 at 15:30

I apologize since I didn't test this solution (not certain if it works on macOS Catalina), but I really think Arturo deserves an answer whether people agree with the goal or not

I find the attitude that "the Designer is always right" - that seems so pervasive in the Apple community - unconstructive. In my opinion sometimes - arguably rarely - users know what they are doing, and they definitely always have the right to experiment and mess things up if they want to. E.g. to find solutions to the numerous edge cases that were intentionally neglected (as a trade-off) or not conceived of by the Designers. There are additional reasons (like non-aligned goals for the users and Designers) but this is not a TED talk.

Copy-pasted (with light editing) from original answer by Minimal Mac:


To hide the separator line in the dock, I downloaded an app called cDock and changed the theme to Transparent.


To add the trash folder to the Finder sidebar, go to this website and follow the instructions: http://www.macworld.com/article/1138661/trashinsidebar.html. (I wouldn't try to change the folder icon, as he says to in the article.) You might want to do this before removing Trash from the dock.


  1. Go to "Macintosh HD/System/Library/CoreServices." Find "Dock." Right-click, and select "Show Package Contents." Go to "Contents/Resources." Find the "DockMenus.plist" file and copy it to your desktop (or somewhere else on your Mac). We do this so that we can backup our DockMenus.plist file before editing it.

  2. Download and install PlistEdit Pro (http://download.cnet.com/PlistEdit-Pro/3000-2247_4-47890.html—try to avoid downloading the extra stuff the process tries to get you to accept).

  3. Download the DockMenus.plist file from this website: http://www.mediafire.com/download/ze7d0wci9j014ys/DockMenus.plist+2.zip. (It's from the guy who made this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Miwmapcrig.)

  4. Open this downloaded file in PlistEdit Pro. Go to "dock" and display the children underneath it. After clicking on "7," add a "New Sibling." This new sibling will have two children underneath it. Edit to match what you see in the picture below. Save this file.

8 Dictionary 2/key/value pairs; command Number 1,004; name String REMOVE_FROM_DOCK

  1. Copy this file to the "Resources" folder, replacing the original "DockMenus.plist" file (which you should have already backed up in step 1).

  2. You can now right-click on the Trash icon and select "Remove from Dock." You can right-click on the empty space and do the same. (You can even remove the Finder icon, but I don't recommend that).

This process is reversible. In fact, every time you log out of your Mac account and log back in, the space and the trash icon will reappear. Just right-click both of them and select "Remove from Dock."

  • This won't work in systems with SIP (El Capitan and later) without disabling SIP first, and won't work in Catalina without more drastic intervention. As for the philosophical aspect: sometimes you have to say "you can't turn a spoon into a screwdriver. Use the tools as intended." Programming allows some flexibility, but not an infinite amount. The human brain is the most capable of re-programming to new methods.
    – benwiggy
    Dec 26, 2019 at 9:45

I have a folder called zzTrash in my home directory (the filename puts it at the end of the directory listing). I stick it on the Finder sidebar. Inside that folder I have folders like zzTrash2019-08-09 which contain, guess what, all the stuff from the time I emptied trash on that date.

I drag unwanted files either into zzTrash or into actual Trash. At intervals ( monthly; realistically when name collisions start to be annoying), I create a date folder inside zzTrash, and drag stuff from a) the actual trash and b) the stuff that is cluttering up zzTrash (which isn't a dated folder) into that dated folder.

Things which I positively know I will never need, get left or put in actual Trash, and emptied. This would never be content I created! This would be stuff I downloaded or generated from other data.

At rare intervals, date files from zzTrash get moved to an external drive.
If I am short disk space, first thing I do is hit "show all sizes" and root through zTrash looking for any biggies I can trash for real.

So if your itch is to empty out the Trash, move it to zzTrash immediately.

Regardless, you have to master your habits. Obviously, you've carved a rut in your road / created reflexive autopilot about deletion, and you've stopped putting enough thought into your actions. Solving that problem is why I do zzTrash.

Turn off auto-empty, obviously. That setting is not appropriate for content creators, it is for content consumers.

  • 9
    zzTrash function sounds like what actual Trash is for. Why overcomplicate?
    – user28434
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:41
  • 1
    @user28434 I don't have the latest MacOS, so if actual Trash saves things forever and pushes them out to an external drive, that is news to me. The reason to "overcomplicate" as you say, is OP. Nov 27, 2019 at 22:53
  • "saves things forever and pushes them out to an external drive" — you mean "makes backups"? There're automatic tools for that too. But "Trash" is not a proper name for your "Backup".
    – user28434
    Nov 28, 2019 at 9:17
  • 1
    @user28434 they're not using "zzTrash" as an actual trash, more like an archival method. They trash files on a regular basis, then move those to the archive (zzTrash), then when they run out of space on the internal HD, they move them to the external HD. It's not what the actual trash is used for, and it's not a backup method. Nov 29, 2019 at 5:01

You can start treating mac's trash the way Photos' trash works. It auto-deletes stuff after 30 days. This preference is can be set in Finder Preferences → Advanced tab as "Remove items from Trash after 30 days". And then convince yourself that you're not under a space crunch.

Also, tick "Show warning before emptying the Trash" which can be a bit of a deterrent if you keep your finger away from keyboard, specially "Enter" key.

You can also set the sort order to "Name" & lock the last file. Refraining from "Empty Trash", you should use select all → delete immediately. This would ask for password, in the end won't let you delete a single file.


I also want MacOS to gave us this setting! Idially it would be in system preferences, perhaps it's accesable at an unknown-to-me OS level.

What is possile is a 'Dock replacement' -- a third party program that will hide your doc and relace it with it's own 'better' vesion of what that third party developer thinks is a better Dock. One such advantage is hiding the trash can 🗑️→🙈=😄. The one's I know of are:

Dock example w/out 🗑️ Dock example that has no trash can

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