How to permanently delete images in Apple’s iPhoto/Photos

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Learn this keyboard three-key command that allows you to permanently delete photos from your Photos Library on your Mac, even from within albums.


Managing images can be tedious, especially when you have years and years of images and versions of your iPhoto/Photos apps moved from Apple device to Apple device.

A satisfying task in Apple Photos.app is deleting duplicate images. I’ve used the Photos Duplicate Cleaner app for years to do this. It essentially scans your photo database and quickly flags duplicate images. The copies are then moved to a new folder in Photos called “Duplicate Marked Photos” that you can review and then delete.

In recent updates to the Photos app, the prompt to delete images from a folder only removes the image from the folder, not the Photos library.

The workaround is a key command. Select all your flagged images for deletion and press the following three keys: option + command + delete. Instantly your selected images are deleted.

The three-key command that deletes images from your Photos Library

If you’re looking to delete images from your entire Photos Library, not just an album, then you’ll want to select the images for deletion and press the following keys together: option + command + delete.

Immediately, your selected files are deleted.

Alternative Third-Party App: PowerPhotos

I recently paid for PowerPhotos (about $32 with tax). This app quickly locates and deletes image duplicates AND merges multiple libraries. I’m finding its utility extremely useful!


More Apple Photos questions

How do I select an image in an Apple Photos.app album and then delete it from both the album and the entire Photos library?

Currently, there is not a button or option in the desktop program to do this task, however, you can still delete the image by selecting the image(s) for deletion and pressing option + command + delete

Happy Productivity!

About the author

Kelly Barkhurst

Designer to Fullstack is my place to geek out and to share tech solutions from my day-to-day as a designer, programmer, and business owner (portfolio). I also write on Arts and Bricks, a parenting blog and decal shop that embraces my family’s love of Art and LEGO bricks!

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