How To Delete Files From WD Elements On Mac Title Image

And you want to delete some file from Your Mac. MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

Strip those files off. And free up some space on that Elements external hard drive of yours.

But you don’t know where to start

Read on to find out how when it’s proving a little tricky.

How To Delete Files From WD Elements On Mac Summary

1. Double click on your WD Elements hard drive icon to open a finder window.

2. Highlight the file or files to delete.

3. Right click and pick ‘Move To Bin’ from the menu.

4. Or drag and drop your files to your Mac’s Bin.

5. Important: Open your Mac’s Bin. Click the ‘Empty’ button.

Then your files are completely deleted from your WD Elements. And you’ve freed up storage space on your external hard drive.

Before You Can Delete Files From Your WD Elements On Mac

If you’re having any issues deleting files from your Elements portable hard drive. Or Elements desktop drive. One of the first things to check is.

Is your Elements hard drive in a Mac read and writeable file system format?

What’s that?

The file system format is how your Mac understands the layout of your WD Elements drive.

As shipped from Western Digital. The Elements external hard drives are in an NTFS file system format.

So what?

CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD Elements On Mac

NTFS is a Windows PC file system. Your Mac can read an NTFS format drive. But not write to it.

And deleting files. Wiping them off your Elements drive.

Is a writing kind of action. No ability to write. Means your Mac can’t remove your files.

When you’ve an Elements drive in Windows PC format. You can only delete those on a PC.


You reformat the drive. That you can do on your Mac but it means wiping. Deleting the entire drive.

You can quickly check the format of your WD Elements.

Click on the linked text to read a post on how to do that.

Your Mac can read and write to an Elements WD drive in Mac OS Extended Journaled. Or APFS (Apple File System), or ExFAT, FAT32 file system formats.

How Do I Delete Files From WD Elements On A Mac?

And really this question splits into two areas depending on what you need to do. An individual file or folder.

A group of files or folders from your external hard drive.

Or delete your all your files from the external drive.

How To Delete Individual Files Your WD Elements On A Mac

Go through these steps when your Elements external hard drive is in a file system format your Mac can write to. Not sure about that.

Then read the section in this post about – before you can delete your files from your Elements drive.

Connect your Elements portable hard drive. Or Elements desktop drive to your Mac computer. And wait till its drive icon comes up on your Mac’s desktop.

WD Elements Drive Icon

1. Double Click Your Elements Drive Icon.

This opens a finder window on your drive. Browse to the files or folders you want to delete.

Finder Window Open On Elements Drive

2. Highlight The Files You Want To Delete.

Click on the first file. Hold down your shift key to click on the next file. This selects the next file.

Or if all the files you want to delete are in a list. Simply shift and click on the last file in the list.

WD Elements Delete Files Highlighted

Another way of selecting files is to create a selection window.

Click and hold your cursor in a blank space near the first file you want to highlight. Then drag your cursor across all the files you want to include in the selection.

3. Right Click. Pick Move To Bin From The Menu.

Right click on your highlighted files. And from the menu that comes up choose ‘Move To Bin.

WD Elements Right Click Move To Bin

And your files move to your Mac’s Bin. Some call it the recycle bin – I guess because you’re recycling the space your files used.

4. Or Drag And Drop Your Files To Your Mac’s Bin.

You can highlight your file. Click and hold on them, then move your cursor to your Mac’s bin. Dragging your files. Take your files to your Mac’s bin. Lift your cursor and drop them there.

But you’re not done yet.

Yes, it looks like your deleted files are gone from your WD external hard drive. But don’t assume they are.

If you then Eject your drive from your Mac now. You’re likely to see ghost images of your deleted files on your drive.

And find the space on the external hard drive isn’t freed up.

5. Open Your Mac’s Bin And Click Empty.

One last step to finish.

You can either: Right click on your Mac’s Bin in your dock. And click Empty Bin from the menu.

Right Click Empty Bin

Or double click on your Mac’s Bin to open a Finder window. Then click on the Empty button to empty everything from your Bin.

Empty Bin

And don’t forget to Eject your Elements external hard drive. From your Mac computer when you’re done with the drive.

This makes sure all changes are written down to the external hard drive. And nothing is stuck in your Mac’s memory. 

How Delete Files From Your Entire Elements Drive On Mac

When what you really want to do is wipe your entire Western Digital Elements external drive. And delete files, every last one from your hard drive.

Then you can do that using disk management software on your Mac called Disk Utility. Disk Utility is a standard part of Mac OS.

Disk Utility also lets you wipe an external hard drive that’s in NTFS format. And put it in a format your Mac can use and write to.

Like Mac OS Extended, APFS, or ExFAT.

You’re then making it a Mac device or a Mac drive.

Disk Utility will wipe your WD Elements clean. So you can start fresh.

But beware.

If you’ve important files on your WD Elements. Copy them off somewhere safe first.

Because after you’ve used Disk Utility to format your external hard drive it’ll be empty.

And to get files back after that will be tricky. You’ll then be seeking the services of data recovery companies. Or data recovery software. With no guarantee you’ll recover lost data. And get your important files back.

Wiping your drive only takes a few minutes. And you can find out how to do it by clicking the link text. Format WD Elements For Mac to go to a post on the site.

How to Delete Files From A Backup On Your WD Elements On Mac

Are you looking to save space in your Elements external hard drive? Because you want to get rid of your old Time Machine backups?

The first thing to realize is. That Time Machine will delete its oldest backup when your Elements drive. Or the backup partition you have on your Elements hard disk is full.

But when your need is something a little different. Say you want to make room on your drive for backups of another Mac you own. What do you do then?

If your Mac is running a Mac OS before Big Sur.

To delete backup:

The best way is to do it through the Time Machine interface.

1. Plug in your Western Digital Elements drive.

2. Enter Time Machine.

Enter Time Machine

3. Move To Your Oldest backup.

4. Right Click In The Time Machine Finder Window To Bring Up A Menu.

4. Pick Delete Backup.

Otherwise, you risk breaking the links that Time Machine makes throughout its backups. And risk making your entire backup unusable.

But when your Mac is running Mac OS Big Sur or later. No interface like this exists.

The quickest and easiest way to shrink your backup is.

Reformat your Elements WD hard drive. To wipe it clean. Then take another Time Machine backup.

Your backup shrinks to what is on your Mac now. Freeing up space.

Or simply buy another WD Elements to use as a Time Machine backup drive for the other Mac.

In Closing


Now you know how to delete files on your Elements external hard drive.

While you might have feared it was complicated. It’s actually easy. And you learnt how.

Thank you for stopping by. While you’re here. Why not have a look at the other Elements related articles on the site?

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