How to Add a Trash Icon to the Desktop on Your Mac

How to Add a Trash Icon to the Desktop on Your Mac

A long time ago there used to be a Trash icon on the desktop of your Mac, but eventually things changed and Trash got its own placement in the Dock of your Mac. Ever since then Trash has been sitting right there in your dock and can be accessed by hovering over the Dock to bring it up and clicking on the Trash icon.

If you happen to come from Windows or you come directly from that older version of the OS X that had the Trash icon on the desktop, this is the one thing you will miss. But worry not; you now have a way to add a Trash icon to the desktop on your Mac.

Without using a third-party app, you can actually add a Trash icon on your desktop that will work exactly as it should.

Adding a Trash Icon to the Desktop on a Mac

What you are going to do is create a symbolic link, symlink in short, to the Trash app on your desktop. That way, the Trash will appear on your desktop.

1. Launch Terminal on your Mac.

2. When Terminal launches type in the following command and press Enter. It will create a symlink for the Trash on your desktop.

ln -s ~/.Trash ~/Desktop/Trash


3. As soon as you press Enter, a new icon will appear on your desktop with the name “Trash.” That’s the Trash app on your desktop, and you can double-click on it to launch it. You can also drag and drop files onto it as you would do in the Dock.


One thing you will notice about the Trash icon on your desktop is it looks like a normal folder. It is because it has been assigned the default folder icon by defaul. However, you can have it changed to the actual Trash icon by downloading a Trash icon like this one and dragging and dropping it onto the current folder icon for the Trash in the “Get Info” dialog box. It is just for appearance and does not interfere in the working of the Trash icon on you desktop.

Now that the Trash is available on your desktop, you can drag any files you wish to delete and drop them onto the Trash icon on your desktop, and they will be removed from your Mac. It is exactly the same Trash you see in your Dock with the only difference being it is on your desktop.

If, for any reason, you would like to remove the icon from your desktop, then you can do so by dragging and dropping the icon onto the actual Trash located in your Dock.


If you have been wanting Trash to appear on your desktop as it does on Windows computers, you now have a way to do that on your Mac without requiring any apps. Just a single command, and the Trash will be added to your desktop.

Mahesh Makvana
Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who's written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He's been into the field for last eight years and hasn't spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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