MacMost Now 792: Deleting Photos From iPhoto

If you wish to delete photos from iPhoto, you must first understand the difference between events and albums. However, you can still use Albums to delete photos if you know how. You can also use flagging to select photos to delete. There are several ways to review your photos before you delete them, and you can also archive photos as files before removing them from your iPhoto library.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 792: Deleting Photos From iPhoto.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's talk about deleting photos from iPhoto.

So I very often get questions about deleting photos from iPhoto. Sometimes it can be tricky if you don't understand the difference between events and albums.

Here in iPhoto in your Library you have different selections starting with Events. Events basically have individual photos in them. Every photo is in at least every event and exactly one event and no more.

Now people like to create albums. Albums are listed down here where you can create albums and put photos in them. You can put photos in many different albums or not have a photo in any albums at all.

So the difference between Events and Albums is very important when you are trying to do something like delete photos. An album really doesn't have any photos in it at all. Albums are just basically lists of links like bookmarks in a browser or a playlist in iTunes. It just links to different photos that may be found in different Events. For instance I can create an album called Scenery and link to different photos that have something to do with scenery or whatever I want. These can be in all sorts of different events.

In Events basically an event is like a roll of film in an old fashioned metaphor. You have different photos grouped together usually from the time you took them. Every photo is exactly one event and it's only one event. Now if you are looking at Events and you want to delete a photo it is very easy. You can go into an event, you can select a photo like this one and you can delete it by going to Photos and Move to Trash or Command and Delete is the shortcut. When you do so, it will make sure that it is what you want to do and it sticks it here in Trash. In trash you can see that it is there and I can actually go into Trash and treat it like a normal photo like in an album but it is in the trash album rather than anywhere else and I can put it back, basically undo it. So I go back to the Event and it's there. So deleting photos from Events is very simple and straight forward.

Now if you go into an album like Scenery or Animals here I've got the same photo and if I select to delete it you can see that the Command D shortcut, this menu choice here, is now Remove from Album, no long put in the trash. So what will happen it will even warn me and say do you want to remove the selected photo from the album? So I will say remove the photo and it is no longer in the album. If I go back to the Event where I know the photo is you can see the photo is still there in Event it is just no longer in this album. It also doesn't effect other albums.

So for instance let's undo that so we put it back there. Let's go back to the Event and I can take that same photo under Scenery. Now I look at Scenery and I see that picture there and I see that same picture there under Animals. I select it and Command Delete, Remove Photo, you can see it is still under Scenery there and of course it is still under its Event. The photo really isn't deleted at all I have simply removed it from that one album. So let's undo that and you can see it is back in those two albums.

So how do you delete photos completely if you are just looking at them in an album. Well the easy answer is that you never delete photos from an album. You remove them from an album and it will be gone from that album. If you really want to delete them, if you want to get rid of them forever, you go into Event and you delete it from the event.

However sometimes people will go and fill up an album with photos they want to delete. So say I want to delete all of the photos here under Scenery. Just want to get rid of them. I could go and select one, Control click on it and say Show Event. Now it goes into the event that has the photo, select the photo and then delete it. But that could be a lot of work if I have a ton of photos that I want to delete.

So there is one other trick. You can Select All, Command A to select all in this album, and you can go to Events to create an event. What will happen here is basically it will move all the photos from the original event into a new event. It warns you about it here. A photo can only appear in one event at a time. It will remove it from all the events that it is in, it can be spread out through the entire Library, put them in one single event. Once they are in that one single event you can go to that single event and delete them from that event, thus deleting them completely from your Library.

Now another way to do that without creating an album is say you want to go to Events or Photos which is basically a list of Events as well it is just that it lists them in a way that you can see photos across multiple events. So say I want select a lot of different photos to delete. I could select them here, and select another one holding the command key down so I'm selecting multiples across multiple albums and then hit Command Delete to put them in the Trash.

But say I want to review them all first. What I could do instead is to flag them. So Flagging basically creates a special album here and its very easy to flag. You click the little flag there at the top. There is a real easy way to do it inside of here. You can hit Command period or this menu item. So I can go through using the arrow keys and flag different photos I want to delete. Now if I go to my flagged photos I can see that they are all listed here. It is the same deal here as if this was an album. I can't delete them from here. If I hit delete it simply unflags this. So what I can do instead is I can select all of these and do the same thing here where I create an Event. I can actually not even have to select them all, I can Create Event from Flagged Photos. So basically remove them all from their current Event, create a new Event and from there I can delete the Event thus deleting all the photos. So you can use flagging, then create new event, then delete the event to delete photos kind of with a review process of your own in the middle.

Of course, if you do decide to delete photos notice that you, let's go there into the Event, and you can see there is the new photos that I have created, this untitled Event here, and I can Command Delete it and you can see that they appear under Trash. So I still have the ability to Undo what I have done here at the last minute I can put them back, right there, and I can select multiple ones and Put Back right here. So I have a chance to undo it or I can Control click on Trash to empty trash. You can also go to iPhoto and Empty iPhoto Trash and there is the shortcut for it.

Another thing you may want to do is to actually archive photos that you are deleting. Maybe you just want to delete them from your iPhoto Library and you want to archive them somewhere. Like burn them to a DVD or stick them on an old external drive. You can basically go into your flagged photos there just before you go to delete them or go to the album just before you delete them and drag and drop them into a folder. You can see now that these photos are stored there, copies of them are stored there, so now I can delete them knowing that I have copies there as backup.

So I hope you found this look at deleting photos from iPhoto useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 17 Responses to “MacMost Now 792: Deleting Photos From iPhoto”

    6 years ago

    Instead of creating a new event from the selected photos, then deleting the event, just select the photos and hit option-cmd-backspace.

    6 years ago

    If deleting from iPhotos will it delete same picture from aperture?

      6 years ago

      You’re using both and storing the same photos in both locations? Not sure what would happen — I thought they were separate libraries. But easy enough to test. Try deleting one and see what happens.

    marsha avery
    6 years ago

    This was a great video for IPhoto. Would like more on its use. However, I now use gmail and gmail contacts won’t sync so I need to use address book. Are there videos on the use of address book and similarly the use of mail? If os, great, please tell me where they are. If not, would you please do some. Thanks.

      6 years ago

      Use the search box at the top to search for more tutorials. There are almost 800 now, so I cover a lot of topics.

    Peter Melia
    6 years ago

    Hi Gary, a photo question. I have transferred some black & white negatives into iPhoto but they remain negative. Is there any way of reversing negatives into positives?

      6 years ago

      Usually that is done in the software you are using to scan the negatives. I’m not sure simply inverting the image will do it right. But you can invert an image in most image editing software, but I don’t think you can do it in iPhoto.

    Vicky Brown
    6 years ago

    Is there an easy way to delete duplicate photos? Is there a program that will recognize duplicates?

      6 years ago

      There probably are. I highly recommend against using any automatic process for that, though. If you have a duplicate, how would a program know which one to keep and which to delete? This is a task better done manually. Even if it takes 30 minutes or an hour. It isn’t worth a single mistake considering how precious photos can be.
      Just use the Photos view and sort by date. Any duplicates should be next to each other. Should be quick and easy to do it, even if you have thousands of photos.

    6 years ago

    Wasn’t aware of the “flagged” feature, good one!

    You mentioned “photos” under “events” briefly. Is a photo like an event when deleting and why use the “photo” compared to “events”?

      6 years ago

      Events list all the events as a single thumbnail for each, and then you can dig down into one event at a time. Photos give you a scrolling list of all photos organized by event (or not). Try each and compare for yourself.

    6 years ago

    Thanks! Trying to delete multiple photos had been driving me crazy. Cleared a lot things up

    6 years ago

    I have a gazillion photos on my iPad. I can easily delete the newer ones by putting them in the trash. However, I cannot get that trash can to show up on the older photos. Can you please give me a tip?

    6 years ago

    Gary… I have had a problem I can’t solve and I doubt if I am the only one who has this problem. I just discovered it. When I put photos from events into trash, and empty trash… sometimes my photos are truely deleted (from the masters file). Sometimes 20 of say 40 pics are deleted. It is very random. Have you ever heard of anything like this? You think you are deleting your photos you don’t want, and not all of them are making to system trash.

      6 years ago

      So in what way are some of them NOT deleted? At they just still in the trash? If so, what happens when you empty it again?

Comments Closed.