El Capitan Beta: The "Delete Immediately" Feature

Oh, El Capitan. It’s the little things that make me love you. In this case, it’s the way you’ll let me delete files immediately (bypassing the trash!) and remove single items from the trash without having to empty it. That’s pretty cool, right? It may not be particularly innovative of Apple to add this feature, but hey, I’m just happy to have the option, guys.

So first, let’s talk about Finder’s new “nuke it from orbit” menu option. If you select an item or items and click on the “File” menu, there’s a “Move to Trash” choice; however, if you hold down the Option key with that “File” menu open, “Move to Trash” will switch to “Delete Immediately.”

OS X El Capitan's Delete Immediately featureAs you can see, the keyboard shortcut for that is Option-Command-Delete. No matter whether you pick from the menu or you use that shortcut, though, you’ll be asked to confirm that you know what you’re doing.

OS X El Capitan delete warning

Choose “Delete” from that dialog box, and bam! Shazam! Your file will be gone completely, and it won’t be in the trash. This is great for when you need to get rid of something…errr…private without having a tell-tale empty trash bin afterward. Or it could be an excellent feature for those of you who use the trash as a sort of holding area for stuff you want to nix eventually. But having said that, don’t use the trash that way, all right? I’m just looking out for you all.

Anyway, the other new thing that El Capitan’s beta will do for us in this regard is that we can now use “Delete Immediately” to remove a single item from the trash.

OS X El Capitan Delete Immediately pop-up menuTo do what I’ve done above, open your trash, right- or Control-click on the file you’d like to get rid of, and then choose the “Delete Immediately” option from the contextual menu. That’ll remove your selection while leaving the rest of the files in your trash untouched.

If you’d prefer, you can also use the same keyboard shortcut I mentioned above (Option-Command-Delete) to, well, trash an item from the trash. That trash will be fully trashed while the other trash in your trash will stay in your trash.