FileShredder Manual

Right-Click (Secondary Click) to Delete Permanently

  • Launch the app to add Shred and Secure Shred to the Finder Context Menu.
  • Simply right-click on a file or folder on the desktop, in the Trash, or in any other Finder window, and select Shred or Secure Shred to delete permanently. No app relaunching is required.

Drag-and-Drop to Delete Permanently

  • You can also drag-and-drop items onto the app icon on the dock. No app launching is required.
  • In Preferences, configure whether Secure Shred is used for the drag-and-drop method.
  • Please do not use drag-and-drop to delete aliases or symbolic links. The operating system will instruct the app to delete the original files rather than the aliases or links.

Secure Deletion Algorithm

  • In Preferences, choose from four algorithms for Secure Shred: 1 pass (fastest), 3 passes, 7 passes (DoD standard), or 35 passes (Gutmann deletion, safest).
  • Handles many special cases.

Confirmation Dialog

  • In Preferences, choose whether to ask for confirmation before deletion.
  • A confirmation dialog will always be shown before deleting an entire drive.

Deletion Indicator

  • Dock icon counts down the number of items remaining.
  • In Preferences, choose whether a sound effect plays after completion.

Emergency Stop

  • Press the Abort button on the app's dock menu or quit the app (⌘Q) to stop further deletion.


Q: How come sometimes I don’t find Shred or Secure Shred at the bottom of the Finder Context Menu?
A: If your selected files has/have more than 4 available services, then the Mac OS automatically groups all of them under a sub-menu called Services, as shown in the picture below. To maximize the chance of Shred and Secure Shred appearing on the main pop-up, you can disable the services you do not use by unchecking them in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services.
Additionally, if you have selected more than 1000 files or folders, the Finder Context Menu will not show any services at all. You can instead drag them onto the app's dock icon, delete them in batches, or move them into a separate folder and shred the folder.
Q: How come sometimes when I select multiple files and drag-and-drop to an already opened FileShredder to delete, not all of them get deleted? Or,
How come sometimes when I select multiple files and drag-and-drop to a closed FileShredder to delete, FileShredder fails to launch?
A: This is a macOS bug caused by simultaneously deleting multiple “quarantined” files. Files are quarantined automatically by the operating system depending on which program saved them (e.g., Safari, TextEdit, Preview). The problem occurs when several files quarantined from different programs are dragged and dropped together onto an app.
We have filed a bug report with Apple. In the meanwhile, you can get around this bug by using the right-click method. Or, move all the items into a single folder and do a drag-and-drop. Alternatively, with FileShredder already launched, drag-and-drop twice to finish deleting everything.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between Shred and Secure Shred?
A: While both options skip the Trash to permanently delete files from the Mac, Secure Shred also overwrites the data on the hard drive so that it cannot be recovered whatsoever. Shred deletes much faster since it doesn't overwrite the data on the hard drive, but the files may be recoverable until your computer reuses that space on the hard drive.
Here is an analogy for comparing different methods of deletion:
  • Move to Trash (⌘+delete) = throw items on your trash pile (you can retrieve them if you need them again)
  • Shred = shred items in a shredder (to save space, quicker than secure shred, protects against snooping, files become harder to recover as time passes)
  • Secure Shred = shred items in a shredder and then set them on fire (so they are completely destroyed)
Q: How do I delete admin files?
A: Due to Apple's Mac App Store sandboxing requirements, the app can no longer get the permissions needed to delete these files for you. You will have to unlock the files manually before using FileShredder to delete.
First, try moving the files to the Trash and then Shred or Secure Shred them.
If that doesn't work, with the admin files still in the Trash, reset the permissions using Finder:
  1. Right-click on the file and press Get Info.
  2. Click the lock icon at the bottom-right of the window and enter your password to allow making changes.
  3. In the Sharing and Preferences section, change all values in the Privilege column to Read & Write.
  4. If this is a folder, click the gear icon at the bottom of the window and press "Apply to enclosed items..."
Now try Shred or Secure Shred again.
If it still fails with the same message and you are trying to delete an application or bundle, then right-click on the file, press Show Package Contents, select the file(s) shown and repeat the above procedures. Sometimes Finder misses a few files, so you may have to browse into subfolders or nested applications and repeat the above.
Q: How do I assign keyboard shortcuts to Shred and Secure Shred?
A: You can assign them in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services. Double-click to the right of the Shred or Secure Shred option and type in a shortcut that does not conflict with any existing Finder shortcuts.
Q: How do I remove Shred and Secure Shred from the Finder Context Menu without uninstalling the app?
A: You can disable them in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services:
Q: How do I delete emails or photos from the Photos app?
A: FileShredder is for shredding files stored on your computer. Most email programs manage deleting emails themselves and do not allow you to directly delete the files from the computer. You will need to check if your email program provides a way to securely delete email, which often also involve deleting emails from the email server or your online account.
Photos stored in the Photos app are also stored in a special database, which may include several copies of the files and thumbnails already. You need to use the Photos app to properly delete these.
Q: How do I delete files from Time Machine?
A: Due to the way the operating system manages Time Machine backups, it is best to delete files using the options within Time Machine. Go to the Enter Time Machine menu option, browse to the file(s) you want to delete, then right clicking on them and choose Delete all Backups of ... You can also delete all the files from a particular backup/date by choosing Delete Backup.
It is possible to browse the files directly from within Finder, but the operating system will not allow you to delete individual files. It will allow you to move an entire backup folder to the Trash, but the files are still marked as protected, and the only standard way to delete them from the Trash is to empty the entire trash.
If you want to use FileShredder to Shred or Secure Shred the files, you will need to manually remove the protections using the command line tool Terminal. Mac App Store policies do not permit a third-party app to acquire the necessary permissions for the user anymore.
  1. Open Terminal from Spotlight.
  2. Paste in the text
    "sudo chmod -R -N"
    , press the space key, and then drag the item you wish to delete from Finder onto the terminal window. It should look like:
    sudo chmod -R -N /Volumes/MyTimeMachine/.Trashes/501/2017-03-11-180251
  3. Press enter, and type in your password if prompted.
  4. Paste in the text
    "sudo chown -R $USER"
    , press the space key, and then drag the item you wish to delete from Finder onto the terminal window. It should look like:
    sudo chown -R $USER /Volumes/MyTimeMachine/.Trashes/501/2017-03-11-180251
  5. Press enter, and type in your password if prompted.
You should now be able to use FileShredder to erase the files in the trash.

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