Mac asking for password when moving files to Trash


When dragging files to the trash you are prompted for a password


Sometimes when moving files or folder the permission are not carried over.

You will need to re-take ownership of the trash folder.

Method 1

  1. Click on the Spotlight (magnifying glass in top right), type “Terminal” and press enter.
  2. Type the following command replacing “your_user_name” with your user name.
    sudo chown your_user_name ~/.Trash
  3. You will need to enter your password and press Enter.
    • It won’t show any characters when you type.
    • If you do not have a password then set one first.

If you are presented with the following error:  “No such file or folder” then do the following:

  1. Type the following command:
    mkdir ~/.Trash

Method 2

Check your permisions are correct on your user files.

  1. Navigate to your main hard drive (usually Macintosh HD) and select your /Users folder.
  2. Press  “Cmd+I” to bring up the Get Info window.
  3. Expand the “Sharing and Permissions” arrow.
  4. Next to your username you should see “Read & Write”.
  5. Click the small Gear icon  and then click “Apply to enclosed items…”
Categorized as Mac Tagged ,


  1. I tried so many other methods… other complicated Terminal meanderings… almost missed my PC until stumbling across your Method 1. Problem fixed! Thank you!!!!!!

  2. Problem solved. You are an absolute genius! Thank you so much! I didn’t however need Step 3 of Method 1. Is this normal? I’m running OSX 10.8.2

    My trash started prompting me for my password whenever I placed an item in it after installing either AVG LinkScanner or MacKeeper, both of which i have now successfully removed. AVG Link scanner was an absolute nightmare to uninstall. Instead of simply dragging and dropping into the trash like every other application I’ve ever uninstalled, you have to use a separate uninstaller application. After spending 30 minutes on the phone to AVG customer support I was finally given a link to which I could download the uninstaller. What a load of crud!

    Anyway, I’m rambling on… Thank you again for solving my trash problem. You sir, are a legend 😀

  3. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! This solved my problem of also never having items even go to the trash!

  4. Thanks so much! That was super easy. I was trying to transfer a bunch of files out of separate folders, and it was prompting me every single time!

  5. Method 1… WORKED PERFECT! Thank you. This was the only site that made it easy to fix this issue.
    Thank you Thank you Thank YOU!!!!


  7. I have no idea why my Mac started doing this, it just happened over night. Method 1 worked for me, it fixed the issue, no problem.

    Thank you very much, I had been searching all over the internet for a solution and nothing looked right, until I read your post.

    Once again thank you.

  8. i did both these methods and it work. only problem now is none of my adobe programs will open. HELP!!!!

  9. This started a week ago, just out of the blue! didnt really noticed it at first but ended up being really annoying!

    Thank you so much! that was brilliant, method 1 just worked perfectly fine:)
    so so easy and quick 🙂

  10. Method 2 worked for me.

    Thank you, oh so very much!
    I was concerned that something was wrong with my computer, as everything else I tried didn’t work.
    The solution was very simple all along..

    Anyways, thanks for the help..

  11. Method 2 worked for me as well. However in the process I messed up in Terminal by typing a “#” sign instead of the tilde before the forward slash. Have I done anything I need to be concerned about?

  12. Method 2 worked great! Thanks David…you are a genius!
    I was looking all over the web for an easy fix on this problem.

  13. Thank u Thank u…..i thought i will never solve problem without taking my mac to a specialist….freed 34 GB of trash and even bought Tidy up and was not working now its…now i can see trash….thanks man

  14. I spent hours trying to get this fixed and method 2 was the only one that worked. Thank you

  15. Thank you very, very much for posting this. A great help and information I could not find elsewhere.

  16. This works great, thank you for explaining it clearly.

    I was bout to go through this process to fix this issue for a second time.

    I found if you simply change your accounts username it automatically resets/relinks your accounts permissions/controls to the trash

  17. When I follow the steps this is what I get:

    Admins-iMac:~ amymiller$ sudo chown your_user_name ~/.Trash
    chown: your_user_name: illegal user name

    Admins-iMac:~ amymiller$ mkdir ~/.Trash
    mkdir: /Users/amymiller/.Trash: File exists

    So the file already exists but is telling me I have an illegal user name and is still requiring me to enter a password to place items in the trash… Thoughts?

    Any help is appreciated, our IT guy is out of the office! 🙂

  18. Have followed steps in #2. Now it says “applying privileges”. How long should this take? It’s been about 5 min so far. I have been getting the message ” You do not have permission to move the file…. to trash” in Final Cut Pro. Should this fix that problem as well? Thanks.

  19. Thanks for the info. Second method worked a treat. Took me a second before I realised the Key bottom right was ‘locked’ as the reason it didn’t work first time, but after unlocking I had immediate success.
    It was a nuisance and there were things in my Trash Bin I needed to recover and under the necessity for a password, no files were showing in the Trash Bin. Once unlocked I could once again access them. Magic.
    Thanks Again

  20. I’m trying both methods and still won’t work. Cannot move items to trash and still being asked to put password each time I try to delete an item. Is there anything else I can do? Thanks

  21. I love you I love you I love you. That glitch was driving me mad. Fixed in thirty seconds thanks to your Method Two. Thanks so much.

  22. worked like a charm (once I figured out I needed to do this how to get to my username and do the steps). Thanks.

  23. Method 2 is a winner
    thank you for making this make sense (tried many other blogs but they were way complicated)

  24. method 2 worked for me but mine didnt says my username it said admin. just thought i’d let you know i dont know if thats normal or not. thank you very much though for fixing that annoying message.

  25. you are amazing. since 1 week ago i am looking for a solution to solve this problem and couldn’t find any proper one. but yours is perfectly worked. many thanks

  26. thanks! I had a really old version of OS before this, so I didn’t have this problem. Just upgraded, had transferred files and wanted to clean up shop. Found out I needed a password for every deletion? Ridiculous.

  27. thank you so much. The second method worked wonders. I had to change mine to read only first, then change back to read/write, that somehow fixed the issue.

  28. The Terminal fix worked- thank you way more than a million. It was making me crazy.
    And the idiot that I am set up the user name as my first, a space, middle initial, a dot, a space and my last name. What was I thinking? Took me a while to find (finally on this site…) that the forward slash was needed as an escape before the spaces and dot. Sheesh. Just smart enough to know I’m an idiot! [smile]

  29. Thank you!
    I’ve been stuck with this problem for half a year now!
    Method 1 worked excellent!!

    You should ad a donation link or something! This is worth alots!

  30. Thanks!! Option 1 fixed this problem for one user of 2 users (both with Admin rights) on iMac with this problem. The problem started for the one user after the Mavericks upgrade. There is obviously a bug somewhere that Apple should fix as so many seem to suffer from this issue. Apple should at least make the fix easy to find.

  31. Method 2 solved it immediately after I made certain both “users” and “Administrator” were Read & Write enabled on my iMac running OSX 10.8.5. I left “Group” as read only since there are no group set ups in our home. Then did a restart. Thanks a bunch!

  32. Thank you for your solutions to the silly problem of having to key in our password to delete trash.

    I tried your Method One, but unfortunately it did not work for me. I’m using MacBook Pro OSX 10.9.2. When that did not happen, I was a little disappointed, as I had also seen and tried the same solution given on other sites.

    However, I threw caution to the air and tried Method Two, and it worked!

    Thank you for sharing the solution to what seems to be a rather trivial (but extremely exasperating) problem.

  33. Just used migration assistant to go from an old failing drive to a new one on 10.9.2. Since using the new drive, i couldnt delete files properly.

    THIS FIXED IT! Thank you

  34. Guys, i had the same problem for over year and nothing seemed to fix it.
    All of a sudden it vanished as suddenly as it appeared.
    Dont know wny or how. It just dissappeared

  35. Hey, that worked for me really well. This is an 18-month-old thread now, but do you have any idea what causes this to happen in the first place? I mean, I understand the root issue, but my computer never did this before and then this morning, I tried to move something to the trash and it asked for a password. Does anyone know what might have happened?

    1. Hi Kat,

      We believe it to be a permissions issue so when you are trying to trash a file the permissions to do so are not being carried over so its prompting authentication.


  36. Man, I cannot thank you more.

    Just so everyone knows, I just bought a new mac and used the migration assistant.

    When the two accounts merged, I kept getting a pop up requesting for password everything I had to rename, move or delete any file.

    Thank you tons.

  37. Thank you!

    So glad you are smart and adding value to my experience. You put a smile on my face. I sued method two!


  38. Thank you so much! It worked!
    Starting to drive me nutty with having to type in password when deleting stuff

  39. My computer was a piece of crap, with near 3000 files not deleted and not at the trash, not anywhere; leaving me with 2gb of free space at the disk.

    The first part of method 1, works just fine!

    After that, I drop a file at the trash to test, and it works. Then I could empty the 3000 files

    Thanks a lot David

  40. Wayyy better advice than anything I’ve been finding and trying online for ages. Method 1 worked fine! Thank you so very much!!

  41. ive been really confused about nothing showing up in my trash + it asking for a password every time, thank you so much o)-<

  42. OMG !!! Method 2 worked like a breeze… I have been frustrated trying to fix this problem. You are a genius… Keep up the good work and a big Thank you…

  43. Thank you! I like this better than essay type blogspotters. More direct and objective. Less jargon. Thank you again David!

  44. Couldn’t get method 2 to work for me but method 1 did it once I over came my fear of the “Warning” that Terminal gave when I typed in the script. Thanks a lot.

  45. O.M.G.! You are awesome!! I have been dealing with this for about a year and a half! I have a folder on my desktop, that was my Fake Trash! and i would just dump files there, then delete periodically, because it was so annoying! Method 2 was SO easy!! wish I had found this post years ago!! THANK YOU!!!

  46. You ‘da MAN!!!! Spent several hours trying to fix this annoying problem, but your solution is so friggin’ obvious and basic. Go forth, my man, and know that you have done great good in this world. You, Sir, are a God amongst men.

  47. Method 2 just helped me too. Didn’t show my user name but admin like someone else.
    Am thrilled…. and so is my ancient iMac as I can now empty my trash. Thank you.

  48. Method 1 didn’t work for me, but the terminal command below worked for me.

    sudo chown $USER ~/.Trash

  49. I tried method 1 but the message said I was an illegal user. ???

    Method 2 was the answer.

    My question is how do these changes come about?

  50. Method 2 worked like a charm. Somehow this nasty gremlin came about during initial setup on a new (2018) macbook pro running Mojave. Whew….. will save an awful experience of having to go to the Apple Store and waiting for hours. It’s all but impossible to get an appointment, even on a brand new machine.
    A million thanks!! Simply Awesome

  51. I am selling my old MacBook and I wanted to know why the password window kept pestering me everytime i trashed! Method 2 worked for me. Thanks much!

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