How to Delete Photos on a Mac

Free up space on your Mac by getting rid of individual, multiple or all pictures

Noticed you're running out of space on your Mac's hard drive? Maybe you simply want to tidy up your existing files by deleting some photos on your Mac. Whatever the reason you might want to free up space on your Mac and get rid of pictures, and it's easy to do so. Here's a look at exactly how to delete photos on Mac, whether you want to delete individual images, multiple snaps, or even all your files. 

How to Delete Pictures on Mac Using the Trash Bin

One of the simplest ways of deleting pictures on Mac is by using the trash bin feature. It takes seconds to master. Here's how to delete individual images as well as how to delete multiple pictures on Mac, along with some key and useful tips to make the process even more convenient. 

  1. Open a new Finder window.

    MacOS desktop with Finder window highlighted
  2. Find the folder that contains the picture you want to delete.

    This may be the Pictures folder listed under Favorites, within the Download folder, or another folder of your own designation. If you're not sure where the file is located, try searching for it using Spotlight.

  3. Select the photo by clicking it and holding down the mouse button. 

  4. Drag the photo to the Trash Bin in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. The photo is now in the Trash Bin ready for deletion. 

    MacOS desktop with Trash Bin highlighted
  5. Empty the Trash Bin by clicking on it and selecting Empty.

    MacOS desktop with Empty Trash Bin highlighted
  6. Click Empty Bin to permanently delete the picture and all other items in the Trash Bin.

    MacOS desktop with Empty Bin highlighted

How to Delete Photos From Mac Using Photos App

Another way to delete photos from your Mac is to use the Photos app. It can often be a more intuitive method if you're specifically looking to delete photos rather than search around your Mac's hard drive. Here's how to delete individual photos as well as how to delete multiple photos on Mac, all through the Photos app.

  1. Open the Photos app.

    MacOS launch pad with Photos highlighted

    You can find it via Launch Pad or by typing in Photos on Spotlight.

  2. Click Photos.

    MacOS with Photos app open and Photos highlighted
  3. Click the image you want to delete.

    To select multiple photos, hold the Command key down while you click on images.

  4. Press the Delete key on your keyboard or right-click and select Delete Photo.

    Photos App with Delete 1 Photo highlighted
  5. Click Delete.

    Photos App with Delete dialog highlighted
  6. Your images are now deleted from your computer as well as all other devices connected to your iCloud account. 

    They remain in your Recently Deleted folder for around 30 days. If you change your mind, you can 'undelete' them here.

How to Delete All Pictures on Mac

It's possible to delete all your photos from the Photos app and iCloud Photo Library if you want. It takes seconds and doesn't require individually deleting every image. Here's how to do it.

  1. Open the Photos app.

  2. Click Photos.

  3. Press Command+A on your keyboard to select all photos.

    Alternatively, you can click Edit and Select All on the menu bar.

  4. Press Delete on your keyboard, or right-click a photo and click Delete x items.

    Photos app with Delete 4,406 items highlighted
  5. The images are all now moved to the Recently Deleted folder, as well as removed from all other devices connected to your iCloud account.

  6. To permanently delete them, click Recently Deleted.

  7. Click Delete All.

    Photos app with Delete All highlighted within Recently Deleted
  8. Click Delete.

    Photos app with Recently Deleted folder open and Delete highlighted

    You can't undo this step and the images will be permanently deleted.

It is incredibly important to understand that deleting photos from the Photos app will also delete them from iCloud Photo Library (should you have that enabled).