MacBook Finder Application & Trash is Not Working

by Julius Vandersteen

When you do work with your MacBook, the laptop could experience a problem with the Finder or the Trash not working. Apple makes two MacBook models, as of the date of publication. The MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air run the OS X operating system, in which you access items such as files, folders and applications with the Finder, and you get rid of items by putting them in the Trash. When a problem arises, the culprit could be an item in the Trash that you need to unlock, or you might need to restart the Finder or the MacBook.

Restart Finder

If you encounter a problem with the Finder on your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, such as being unable to create a new Finder window or a folder, or not being able to sort items or copy or move them, you need to restart the Finder. Press and hold the “Option” key on the MacBook’s keyboard while right-clicking “Finder” on the Dock, and then click “Relaunch” to restart the Finder.

Restart MacBook

If the Finder continues to have a problem after you relaunch it, you need to try resetting the MacBook. Click the Apple logo on the top left of the display, and then click “Restart” from the pull-down menu. A message appears, asking you to confirm that you want to restart your MacBook. Click “Restart.”

Item in Use

When the Trash is not working on your MacBook, leaving you unable to delete items, the problem could be that the item is still in use. For example, if you have a document open in an application, and then drag that document’s file from the Finder onto the Trash, the Trash won’t let you empty it until you close the item. Similarly, you will need to quit using an application before you can delete the application itself.

File Settings

Sometimes the MacBook has a problem emptying the Trash because of a file’s settings. Click the Trash on the Dock to open it, and then click the file that you couldn’t empty from the trash, to select it. Click “File” from the Finder menu, and then click “Get Info” to see if the file is locked or if its permission setting prevents you from deleting it in the Trash.

Change Settings or Rename File

You can click the lock icon to unlock it, as well as click the “Privileges” pull-down menu to change the file’s permissions settings to make yourself the owner, enabling you to delete it. You may not be able to empty the trash if the file has special characters in its name, such as a trademark symbol or a bullet point, until you rename the file.

About the Author

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Brian Kersey/Getty Images News/Getty Images