6 Ways to Delete Pictures on Mac [2023 Guide]

Updated by Tracy King on Dec 16, 2022
  | Computer Instruction

If you love taking pictures, then you will know how cluttered your Mac can get when all the camera imports combine with images you have downloaded and, of course, iPhone pictures which are synced with iCloud.

Therefore, it is better to keep things neat and organized and save up disk space by deleting unwanted photos. It will also help you if you want to start your photo or video collection afresh.

So, in this article, we are explaining 6 methods with step-by-step guidelines if you want to know how to delete pictures on Mac. Let's get started!

Where Are Photos Stored on Mac?

The pictures are stored in the built-in Photos for Mac.

Before you delete pictures, we suggest you back up any photos or videos you do not want to accidentally delete. iCloud will only let you restore your deleted pictures once, but you can also use a third-party best photo backup software for PC.

Also, if you have iCloud Photos activated on your Mac, any pictures and videos you delete on your Mac are also deleted on other devices where ‌iCloud is also enabled ( For example, your iPhone or iPad).

the location pf photos library on Mac

How to Delete Pictures on Mac?

Now that you know where the pictures are kept on Mac let's learn how to delete them with different methods.

  1. Method 1. Delete Photos on Mac Using The Trash Bin
  2. Method 2. Delete One Photo/Mass Photo in The Photos App
  3. Method 3. Delete An Entire Album in The Photos App
  4. Method 4. Delete All Photos in The Photos App
  5. Method 5. Delete Pictures outside The Photos App
  6. Method 6. Delete Photos from Photo Library on Mac

Method 1. Delete Photos on Mac Using The Trash Bin

Using the Trash Bin on a Mac is one of the easiest methods to delete images. Here are the steps to do that:

Step 1. Select a photo you wish to delete by clicking and holding the mouse button. Drag the picture to the Trash Bin at the lower right corner of your screen.

Drag picture to trash bin

Step 2. You may empty the Trash Bin by right-clicking and selecting "Empty Trash." In this way, the picture will be permanently deleted.

empty the trash bin

Method 2. Delete One Photo/Mass Photo in The Photos App

Instead of manually selecting pictures one by one, it is preferable to select and delete multiple images at once with just one click. And thankfully, Mac offers this feature. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Select the photo you wish to delete. If you need to delete one picture, follow method 1 given above. If mass deletion is needed, follow the next steps.

Step 2. Hold the Command key down when clicking on photographs to choose several photos.

Step 3. Right-click and select "Delete Photo," or use the Delete key on your keyboard.

choose photos to delete

It will remove photos from your Mac and other devices associated with your iCloud account.

Method 3. Delete An Entire Album in The Photos App

If you wish to delete an entire album, the steps are given below:

Step 1. Select the album you wish to delete from the left panel.

select slbum to delete

Step 2. Choose the "Delete Album" option from the dropdown menu. Confirm the deletion in the dialog box that appears.

delete album

The album will be removed from your iCloud Photo Library.

Method 4. Delete All Photos in The Photos App

Deleting all photos just takes a few seconds and does not require you to remove each picture individually. Here are the steps to delete all photos in the Photos app:

Step 1. Open the Photos app. Use Command+A on your keyboard to select all photos.

Step 2. Right-click the selected photos and select "Delete x elements."

delete photos you choose

Step 3. All of the images are transferred to the Recently Deleted folder. You can head over to the Recently Deleted folder to permanently delete them. Select the pictures you want to remove and click "Delete All."

click delete all

Method 5. Delete Pictures outside The Photos App

Besides the images in the Photos app, there are many other pictures on your MacBook, including screenshots and downloads, etc. These pictures don't appear in the Photos app; you need to find and delete them in Finder.

Step 1. Open Finder and open the folder where you want to delete pictures.

open Finder

Step 2. Control-click one picture. Press and hold Shift, then select multiple images.

Step 3. Select "Move to Trash." Or, you can drag and drop selected pictures into the Mac Trash bin.

click move to trash

Method 6. Delete Photos from Photo Library on Mac

To delete photos from the Photo Library, follow these steps:

Step 1. Control-click a photo thumbnail in the Library. You may also choose numerous images by holding down the CMD key.

Step 2. Right-click and select "Delete x photos."

Concluding Thoughts

In this article, we have explained 6 methods with step-by-step guidelines if you are looking for how to delete pictures on Mac. You can try any of them to delete unwanted images. Also, remember that deleting any photos from the Photos Library will remove them from the iCloud if they are synced.

FAQs about Deleting Pictures on mac

In case you still have more questions, here are some frequently asked questions for which we have given answers.

1. Why can't I delete photos on my Mac?

You may not be able to delete photos on your Mac due to either of the following reasons:

  • You might be in Album View. If you are in Album view versus Photos view, deleting a picture will only delete it from that specific photo album and not from everywhere else.
  • The most likely culprit is the Photos app. Photos lock all the images in its library so that other applications cannot make changes to it. This is the reason you cannot delete a photo from Photos, as the app is using the file.
  • You may not be able to delete photos on your Mac if they are stored in the iCloud Photo Library.

2. Where is the delete button on Mac?

You can simultaneously press Ctrl + D on your keyboard to delete any file from your Mac. You can also use Command + Delete to move any file to Trash.

3. Is there a delete shortcut on Mac?

The fastest way to delete files is to use the ⌘ + Delete shortcut. You can also right-click on any file and select Move to Trash from the dropdown menu. 

4. How do I remove photos from my Mac but keep them in iCloud?

Step 1. Open System Preferences.

Step 2. Click on "Apple ID," then iCloud.

Step 3. Uncheck Photos to turn off iCloud sync.

This will disconnect the photos from iCloud, allowing the images to be deleted from the system but not iCloud.

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