theBin review: Alternative macOS Trash manager makes purging files more fun

Utility extends the capabilities of the Trash.

thebin mac icon
Semibits

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At a Glance

After first being introduced as the “Wastebasket” in 1982 with the Lisa, Apple forever cemented the concept in the hearts of personal computer users by porting it onto the Macintosh two years later. Renamed as simply Trash, this unassuming file directory has helped users with file deletion for nearly four decades.

But for such an important feature, relatively little has changed over the years—most notably, a Finder preference introduced with macOS Sierra gives the option of automatically deleting Trash after 30 days. Should that not go quite far enough, there’s now a third-party app to answer the call.

Semibits’s theBin can be configured to automatically take over managing your Trash. Instead of temporarily moving files to the invisible .Trashes folder in macOS, theBin intervenes, migrating unwanted content to its own storage space where the app can handle such files more efficiently.

thebin dark mode adding files Semibits

By default, Trash files are automatically migrated to theBin, where they can be compressed and managed more efficiently.

After installing the app with default auto-migration setting enabled, files dragged and dropped into Trash will be seamlessly moved to theBin without further user intervention. Personally, I can’t stand that overstuffed Trash icon in the Dock, begging to be emptied all the time, and I suspect many of you feel the same way. This feature alone will be enough to entice many users to download the app, which has a free seven-day trial.

Opening theBin displays a small window with a visually pleasing look at how many items are waiting to be discarded, and how much space they’re taking up on your Mac. A first launch tutorial walks users through setting everything up, and nice user interface touches abound, including fun animation as files are added or removed.

Click the red Empty button to purge files immediately; you’ll first be prompted to confirm this action, although the default behavior can be changed by unticking the “Ask before emptying” option in settings. Otherwise, click the Details button in the lower right corner to call up a summary of what’s been spared prior to kicking those files off your system for good.

thebin resolve problems Semibits

There are rarely problems when trashing files, but theBin does a much better job of resolving issues than macOS alone.

Trash better

In addition to good looks, gorgeous UI animation, and native support for Dark Mode, theBin has two significant improvements over Trash: the ability to automatically compress discarded content to take up less space, and optionally purge files on a more frequent schedule than the 30-day option already built into macOS.

When enabled, auto-compression happens seamlessly in the background as deleted items are migrated into theBin. The default setting provides a good balance between speed and disk space, but there are other options, including the ability to disable compression altogether. Slowest offers the most effective space savings, while Fastest gets the job done sooner at the expense of larger file sizes.

Last but not least, theBin can be configured to automatically clean out all files after a day, a week, or a month. While these options are a good start, I’d love to see other intervals added in future updates, or even a completely customizable setting for maximum control on specific days and times of the week.

thebin details view Semibits

The details view shows a comprehensive list of deleted files, but offers no way to selectively remove the ones you no longer want.

On the plus side, theBin automatically resolves duplicate files to save space (preserving filenames when they conflict), along with issues that occasionally arise when deleting stubborn content. There are also a couple features that keep theBin from being the perfect Trash companion, such as the ability to selectively empty files from the Detail view, and a Dock shortcut to manually empty without opening the app window at all.

Bottom line

Although it doesn’t yet check off everything on our ultimate alternative macOS Trash wishlist, theBin gets high marks for ease of use and a fun, polished UI.

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At a Glance
  • This utility extends the capabilities of the Trash, allowing users to automatically compress and clean up old files, merge duplicate files, and resolve duplicate filenames or other conflicts.

    Pros

    • Deleted files seamlessly migrate from Trash to app storage
    • Gorgeous UI displays summary of file number, size
    • Automatic cleanup intervals (day, week, month)

    Cons

    • Can’t selectively empty files from Details view
    • No Dock shortcut for purging files
    • Limited auto-cleanup intervals
  
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