I never empty my Mac's Trash — am I weird?

MacBook Pro 14-inch in coffee house
(Image credit: iMore)

OK, so here's the thing. I never delete anything. Not anymore. Not since the days of living off a paltry 128GB SSD. Now I've room to stretch my legs. And I'm never deleting anything again.

OK, that might be an exaggeration but not by as much as you might think. See, right now I'm writing this on a 16-inch MacBook Pro with a terabyte SSD — easily the best Mac I've ever owned, by the way —  and it's wonderful. Because all of that space means that my dirty little secret can't impact things too much.

My secret? I never empty the Trash on my Mac. In fact, it's worse. I never empty my Downloads folder, either.

Save everything, everywhere, and forever

Am I a digital hoarder? Maybe, although I wouldn't have said that until about 30 seconds before I wrote this sentence. But it might actually be spot on because I just can't bring myself to delete anything. Not permanently, at least. What if I need it again? What if that picture I downloaded from somewhere I can't even remember comes in handy one day?

I'll be vindicated. That's what.

To be clear, nothing I'm keeping is huge. I write words for a living and download pictures from Apple's Newsroom. How much space can any of these downloads really take up? We'll never know, because I dare not look.

In fact, now I'm thinking about things really, maybe I do hoard data. Maybe I've always done it. I used to say that I had things backed up in three different places because I'm a good geek and my people know that nothing's backed up until it's backed up thrice. Right?


It's not that weird, right?

M2 Macbook Pro 13 Inch Close Up Of Touch Bar

(Image credit: Future)

The way I see it that the vast majority of us have more storage than we could ever really need. Sure, there are some people out there creating multi-gigabyte files on the daily but for most of us that just isn't happening. So how much space do we really need? People live on Chromebooks just fine. I bet they never have to empty their Trash. Do Chromebooks even have a trash can icon?

If they did I bet nobody would empty it.

Why would you? What are you hiding, anyway? Are you that keen to make sure that nobody can read the manual for the old vacuum you just had to order that part for? Or is it the super-secret Pages spreadsheet with all of your vacation packing organized in a nice color-coded list?

No, you're the one that's weird for keeping all of your stuff neat and tidy. The Trash is there to be used. Like RAM and those cookies your mom always told you not to eat all at once. What's the point in having it if it's empty? It's no good to anybody then. Imagine going to your empty Trash can for that important file only to find out it's not there. That'll never happen to me. I've got files for days. Years, actually. Literal years.

No no, I'm just using my Mac the way Apple intends me to. It's you that should have your Apple card taken away. Not your Apple Card, that's different. You'll probably need that to buy stuff. Not more storage, obviously. Because you'll never run out — not after you delete everything and empty your Trash.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a garage full of junk that needs my attention.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.