Beware the Trash effect!

Published by Steve Litchfield at 16:08 UTC, August 23rd 2010


Q. In an attempt to work out why my microSD card was full, I connected my smartphone to my Mac in 'Disk Transfer' mode. Aha - I found a load (Gigabytes!) of old music files from when I used to sync my phone with a Windows PC. I then deleted the root directory containing all these files and.... it seems that the disk is still full! Obviously, there's something going wrong in the counting, but what, and how do I fix it?


A. What's gone wrong here is that when you delete files using the Mac Finder, the files aren't really deleted. Instead, they're moved into the 'Trash', even when they're on an external disk. In this case, into a hidden folder called '.Trashes'. You can see this for yourself by running the freeware Mac utility Disk Inventory X, which shows up areas of disk usage graphically. It's tricky to see or delete these Trash files in Finder itself (it involves a Terminal command), so you're best off:

  1. Installing a file manager such as Y-Browser ( on the phone itself.
  2. Head to your memory card and highlight '.Trashes'
  3. Use 'Options>File>Delete'. The operation may take a few seconds, so be patient. And don't worry if there's an 'In use' error - it shouldn't stop 99.9% of the file entries being zapped.
  4. You can confirm that your free space is back by either loading the card up again on your Mac or by using 'Options>Memory details' in the main S60 applications menu.

NB: on a Windows PC, Sequoia View ( does a similar job to Disk Inventory X.

(This original text of mine was originally published in Smartphone Essentials magazine and re-purposed here with kind permission)


Filed: Home > Support > Beware the Trash effect!

Platforms: Series 80, General, S60 3rd Edition, UIQ 3, S60 5th Edition, Symbian^3

Categories: Troubleshooting


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