One of the nice features of the recycle bin in Windows is the ability to sort it by the date an item was deleted. This way if you accidentally delete something, you can easily find it because it will be at the top of the list.

Is there any way to do something similar in Mac OS X's Trash folder?

I see that there is a date modified field, but that is not updated when the file is deleted.

  • Why do you use the Trash as a "backup folder" ?? I'll suggest that you use the build in Time Machine, and then only use the Trash for the stuff you really want to delete. That is what the build in backup solution (Time Machine) are there for - finding old files that has been deleted or modified. Commented Apr 9, 2011 at 10:00

4 Answers 4


Update for OSX 10.9 Mavericks:

It appears that you can now sort by Date Added in OSX Mavericks. In Trash right click one of the columns and click to check the Date Added column. The click on the column header until the list of files is sorted by Date Added descending.

For OS X 10.7 Lion:

Go to the AppleScript Editor, paste in the following script and save it in /Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts:

on adding folder items to this_folder after receiving added_items
    repeat with this_item in added_items
        do shell script "find " & quoted form of POSIX path of this_item & " -exec touch {} \\;"
    end repeat
end adding folder items to


  1. Right-click on any folder in Finder, go to Services and click Folder Actions Setup.

  2. Cancel the dialog asking which script to attach.

  3. Click the checkbox to Enable Folder Actions

  4. Click the plus sign to choose the Trash.

    Press ⌘ cmd + ⇧ shift + G and type in ~/.Trash, click Go or press ↩ return, and then click Open.

  5. On the right side, click the plus sign to choose the AppleScript that you saved earlier.

Thanks to Graham for the link which pointed me in the right direction.

  • 2
    Does the Date Added field actually show anything for anybody? Mine shows -- for every file in the Trash. Sorting by Date Added does nothing either.
    – user11633
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 15:33
  • Phong, I'm looking at it right now and mine shows a date in the Date Added column (on Mavericks). As to why it might be blank on Mavericks, I'm not sure.
    – Nate
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 19:16
  • 1
    I've also seen someone else mention the Date Added column somewhere else. They said their column showed -- for all files in the Trash, but clicking the column header actually sorts the files somehow...
    – user11633
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 19:25
  • 1
    Weirdly enough, Date Added started getting populated in my Trash…?
    – user11633
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:48

This hint from Mac OS X Hints describes how to create a simple Automator Folder Action that performs touch on every file that's trashed.

  • 1
    Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please summarize or excerpt it in the answer. The idea is to make the answer stand alone.
    – nohillside
    Commented Jul 20, 2013 at 13:53

I don't think there is anything exactly like that in Mac OS X.

However, if you accidentally deleted something in the Finder, you can use the "Undo" command to move the file back.

  • 2
    IF that's the very last file you deleted.
    – Petruza
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 16:46

Thank you for the above answers. I do not have a right click option on any of my Mac devices, but was able to do this: With Trash folder open, use CTRL + click on a column head. Then choose Date Added from the drop-down menu. Worked perfectly for me, and I hope it works for you. Should be a default column if you ask me!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .