7 Sep

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…”

143 Responses to Mac asking for password when moving files to Trash


  2. Thank you sir

  3. Method 2 worked perfectly for me.

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

  5. 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 😀

  6. Works perfectly! Thanks man!

  7. Method 2 worked for me, simple and elegant fix.

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

  9. 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!

  10. Thanks so much!
    Method 2 worked great!

  11. Method 1 worked perfect!
    saved me a trip to the repair shop, thanks again!

  12. Method 1 worked for me – many thanks

  13. thank u so much <3

  14. 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!!!!

  15. 2 Option is work for me..thanks so much

  16. Did version 2, worked inmediately, thank you for the help 🙂 Great


  18. 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.

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




  21. Brilliant! Thanks.

  22. Laurie Acreman April 22, 2013 at 02:54

    Bloody brilliant. Thanks.

  23. Worked great!!!

  24. 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 🙂

  25. 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..

  26. NotsoGeekish May 3, 2013 at 00:40

    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?

  27. You are a LIFE SAVIOUR! 😀 Thanks so much. Method 1 works great!

  28. methot 1 is OK 🙂

  29. Michael Moonbird May 7, 2013 at 16:16

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

  30. 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

  31. Very good!!!! Thanx

  32. Bravo, David. a big big thank you.


  33. Method 2 working like a charm, thanx!

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

  35. the method 2 worker out great, thank you very much

  36. Great. Problem solved, big time. Thank you.

  37. you’re the man this worked perfectly to solve my problem!!!

  38. This worked!!!!!!!! THank you SO SO SO MUCH!

  39. Gilbert Van Kerckhove June 29, 2013 at 04:36

    Great help! I still don’t know why this happened but you solved it…

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

  41. Dennis Chrysolyte July 6, 2013 at 20:11

    This works 🙂

    Thank you so much.

  42. 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

  43. thank you!!! method 1 worked awesome!! You are Godsent!

  44. 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! 🙂

  45. Never mind, forgot to replace your_user_name haha, Happy Friday all!

  46. method 2 worked perfectly for me, thanks a lot! neat and simple

  47. Yep method 2 So easy DUhhhhh its amazing how long i was messing with that shi,..,,

  48. Wow. Works again! Tks. Method 1 worked awesome.

  49. Thanks heaps worked well

  50. 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.

  51. 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

  52. I agree. Genius! Was driving me crazy. Fixed now. thanks.

  53. 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

  54. 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.

  55. I do exactly what you say but the “apply to enclosed items” is not “live”. any idea ?

  56. Fantastic! It worked first time. Thanks

  57. Thanks a bunch!

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


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

  61. 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.

  62. U helped me a LOT… Tnx m8

  63. Thanks, that could have gotten annoying real fast..

  64. it woooooorked!!! thank you!!!!! :))))))

  65. Thank you!! When with method 2.

  66. 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

  67. Yay! Method 2 worked perfectly! Thank you!

  68. Method 2 did it for me! Thanks!

  69. 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.

  70. oh and version 2 worked for me!

  71. Thank you, method 1 worked for me.

  72. thanks, method 1 worked- what a relief!

  73. Thank you so much! I’ve been trying to figure this out forever…Method #1 worked perfectly 🙂


  74. sensational advice…method 1 worked perfectly!!!

  75. You are the best man! Method 1 works for me……

  76. 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.

  77. 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]

  78. 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!

  79. Thanks. Method 2 easy and worked great.

  80. Short and sweet! Method one works at first try! Thanks!!!… Merry Christmas! 😉

  81. 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.

  82. #1 fixed it. Thank you very much! None of the apple forums had this fix so far as I could tell!

  83. 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!

  84. THANK You!!

  85. 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.

  86. don’t know why this started happening recently, but option 1 fixed it. thanks for your help

  87. option #2 worked great for me. First time I’ve seen trash in my can since installing Mavrick!

  88. 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

  89. Spot on. Thanks heaps!

  90. 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

  91. BEAST!!

  92. 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?

    • Jonathan Brasseur June 3, 2014 at 09:02

      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.


  93. Muhammad Saad June 6, 2014 at 15:32

    thanks dude ……. 🙂

  94. Miracle worker!!!

  95. Thank you so much!

  96. you sir, saved many lives here!!

  97. Thank you sir!

  98. Thank you! So simple, yet so effective!

  99. 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.

  100. Obrigado/Thank you/Gracias/Grazie!

  101. I seem to have the same problem still, for some reason!

  102. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

  103. Thank you! A very annoying problem solved 🙂

  104. Second method worked fine for me. Thank you for your easy and effective directions.

  105. Thank you!

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


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

  107. 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

  108. Method 1 worked perfect!!

  109. Awesome.Thanks a lot pal!

  110. Method 2 worked for me and fixed a huge problem. Thanks!

  111. Method 2 worked great for me – many thanks!!!

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

  113. thanks a lot…it worked perfectly

  114. Thanx a lot sir!

  115. omg it worked!! there was files deleted that went back to 2011!!!! saviour

  116. Amazing! Thank you for the information. Method 2 worked well for me 🙂

  117. Great Man! You are amazing! Method 2 worked well for me. Cheers 🙂

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

  119. 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…

  120. Joshua Garcia October 6, 2015 at 03:42

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

  121. Apple must hire YOU !!! you had given simple solution for huge problem….

  122. i so not have admin password

  123. 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.

  124. Method 2 Thank you Mac Master!

  125. 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!!!

  126. 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.

  127. 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.

  128. Thank you so much man ..
    u r genius

    The first method worked ^^

  129. awesome. Thank you!

  130. Thanks you… May millions of dollars rain on you head!

  131. You are a super hero. Thanks million

  132. Thank you so much. Method 2 worked for me.

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

    sudo chown $USER ~/.Trash

  134. 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?

  135. Awesome , method 2 worked for me ,otherwise I was struggling a lot.

  136. THANK YOU!!!

  137. OMG, thank you! December 2019 and still works! lol

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