Since Sierra, we can tell the Finder to remove items from the trash after 30 days. I have some questions about this:

  • How can I tell how many days are left for a given file in the Trash?

  • Where is this information stored? Get Info ⌘I doesn't help.

  • When does the Finder actually delete a file that has been 30 days in the trash?
    Right after the machine wakes up on the 31st day, for instance?

  • Are automatic deletions logged somewhere?

I'm running High Sierra if that makes any difference.

  • I have a rough explanation (not good enough for an answer as I'm missing key details)... This is all manged through the Finder process. More than likely, the files have extended attributes (meta data) attached to them along with entries into a SQLite3 database to schedule deletion. What I can tell you is that there is no "countdown" attached to the file and deletions aren't logged unless you configure your system to do so.
    – Allan
    Aug 4, 2020 at 19:49
  • @Allan, thanks. I tried xattr -l on a file before and after it is put in the Trash and the output was the same. Same thing after it was restored.
    – lhf
    Aug 4, 2020 at 19:57
  • scheduled processes aren't written to the file, it would be handled with an internal process. Like, if you had a dentist appointment, you wouldn't put a sign on your dentist's door and check it every day, you'd put it in your calendar and check that. macOS uses SQLite3 for a lot of this type of thing. I just don't know where or which database they would use.
    – Allan
    Aug 4, 2020 at 20:01
  • 2
    Half a workround - list view shows a Date Added column on the Trash. Sort by that & you can manually check which are approaching 30 days old.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 5, 2020 at 6:25
  • @Tetsujin, that's exactly what I've been doing.
    – lhf
    Aug 5, 2020 at 10:18


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