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How To: Delete Your Data Securely on MacOS

By J.Austine
How To Delete Your Data Securely on MacOS

If you own a Mac, you are probably conversant with the several ways of deleting files from it. But can you securely delete those files? Well, this article gives you insight on how to delete your data securely on MacOS.

Securely deleting your data means erasing them and ensuring that it can't be recovered. It means removing those files from your database without any residual files or traces left behind. You might be unaware of this vital information, but clearing your trash doesn't securely erase your data.
On the contrary, Mac just makes it invisible. So, the only way to ensure that it's completely erased and unretrievable is by securely deleting them. Even so, before you securely delete your data, you need to know the type of drive you have.

Determining The Type of Drive in your Mac

Before beginning to delete your data securely, you should know if you have an HDD or an SSD. To determine the type of drive in your Mac, click on the Apple menu. Next, click "About this Mac", followed by the "storage" tab. You will then be able to see the type of drive in your Mac system. After that, you can proceed to delete your data.

Ways To Delete Your Data Securely on Your MacOS

There are several ways to erase the data in your Mac securely. As usual, Mac offers a couple of options to erase your data. Giving you the chance to delete those embarrassing pics you took over your summer vacation.
There are two primary ways to delete your data on your Mac securely. You can use both ways, but it's advisable to stick to the one you're most comfortable with. Besides, both methods are equally effective and will do the trick.

Deleting Data Using the Mac Terminal

The Mac Terminal is a strong tool that enables you to control your Mac. It gives you this power through the command prompt. You only have to key in specific commands in the terminal window, and your files will be gone. After that, hit enter, and your files will be gone.
The command was originally used to dispose of files and folders. However, Apple got rid of it with the development of the macOS Sierra. Even so, developers and computer geeks found a way to bypass the srm command. To use the rm command:
Click the "Apple Menu."
Then click "Systems Preferences."
Click "Keyboard."
At the top of the dialogue window, click "Shortcuts."
Click on the "Services" in the window.
Check the "New Terminal at Folder" within the "Services" category if unchecked.
Open "Finder."
Scroll to the folder containing the files you want to erase.
Click on the folder.
At the bottom of the drop-down menu, click on "Services."
Click on "New Terminal at Folder" in the second drop-down menu.
The Terminal window will pop up. Key in the command: rm -P PrivateFile.txt
Replace "PrivateFile" with the file name you want to erase
Hit "Enter/Return" to securely delete data.

Delete Your Data Securely Using TRIM

While older Macs had Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), newer ones have Solid State Drives (SSDs). It's challenging to securely erase data on the SSD than HDDs, but it's not impossible. Macs that possess SSDs come with a TRIM tool to help erase data.
Whenever you erase a file from your SSD or HDD, your macOS labels the space "not in use." The TRIM tool automatically erases the data designated as "not in use." This makes it possible for new files to occupy the space. Even so, you will have to manually enable TRIM in the Terminal using the "trimforce" command. But this feature is not available in older HDDs.
Be sure to back up your data before you use TRIM to avoid losing your data accidentally. There are high risks involved in using trim. Even apple warns you to use the tool at your own risk. So, if you are not well conversed using the command prompt, stick to the first option.
Follow the following steps to use TRIM:
Launch "Terminal."
In the Terminal, type in this command: "sudo trimforce enable" to enable TRIM
A prompt will pop up asking for your permission to initiate the process.
Type y in Terminal
Click on "Enter."
Type y once more.
Hit "Enter" again. This tells Terminal it can reboot your Mac after it enables TRIM.
And that's it. After the reboot, TRIM will be active and will ensure that your data gets deleted securely.

Why should you delete your data securely on MacOS?

You should delete your data securely on your Mac because it contains important and personal information. Your drive store sensitive information like contacts, emails, private files and more. Therefore, securely erasing your data keeps the information from falling into the wrong hands.
Moreover, deleting your data securely on your macOS is:
Reliable - it does not only erase data from directories but carries out multiple deletions. This ensures that nobody can recover your private information. Once the files get deleted, even computer geeks can't get them back.
Secure- by securely deleting your data, you will be at peace that no one can access them.
Versatile- it does away with the need to buy third-party applications to delete data securely.

Why Your Drive Data Is Important to Dark Web Hackers

Black hat hackers are always formulating ways to access your information. Cybercriminals can obtain personal details like bank account details and passwords. Hackers can sell such information in the dark web and get paid in cryptocurrency. Additionally, they can use the data for identity theft and in opening other illegal accounts.
Your email contents, browser history and autosaved passwords are confidential. Also, sensitive files like tax returns and bank statements are valuable in the dark market. Hackers can obtain this information and sell it in darknet marketplaces.
The hackers use the Tor browser to access the dark web. The browser leaves no internet footprints and ensures their anonymity. This makes it difficult for authorities to track them. So, if they access your data, it would be available to millions of criminals in the darknet. Felons can use this information to destroy your reputation.

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