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How Do I Bulk Delete Photos From iPhoto?

So I’ve had iPhoto since it came out, and dutifully stored all pictures there, and now I have 20,000+ photos in there. I want to clean it up.
I have an album full of ‘Interesting Street Signs’ that I no longer find interesting, and now that I’ve broken up with my long term girlfriend I can get rid of those pics too.
So I plan to export the pics in those albums to individual folders on an external storage drive (just in case she comes back, or there’s money in street sign photos).
But the problem is this…
How do I get rid of all these photos from iPhoto. Sure, I can delete them from the albums, but that just empties the albums. If I want to delete them from iPhoto I have to individually go and find each photo (scattered across many years of iPhoto) and then delete it (send to trash).
Surely there must be an easier & simpler way? Shouldn’t Apple have a ‘also delete original from iPhoto’ option?

Comments: 4 Responses to “How Do I Bulk Delete Photos From iPhoto?”

    7 years ago

    So it looks to me like when the engineers were designing iPhoto, they tried very hard to err on the side of “not deleting” instead of “deleting.” Makes sense. When it comes to photos it is better to make it hard to accidentally delete photos than to make it easy to intentionally delete them. Know what I mean? It is a delicate balance, but you definitely don’t want it to tip the other way.
    But there is a way to do what you want, and once you know it, then it won’t take you much time.
    Go to that album of street signs. Select them all. Then go to Events, Create Event. You may get a warning then because what you are doing is removing all of these photos from the event they belong to, and placing them in a new event. A photo can only be present in one event (as opposed to albums, where they can be in many).
    So now that you have them all in a single new event, just go to the Events list and delete that event. Or, better yet, export all of the photos from that event first, and then delete it.

    7 years ago

    I just had to delete 10,000 photos from iPhoto. I used duplicate annihilator (look on the web). It took a few hours but did a good job. It cost about $8.00.

      7 years ago

      Duplicates don’t seem to be Nick’s problem, but I’ll address this anyway:
      I do not like any program that “automatically” deletes photos. But it sounds like (took a few hours) that this one prompts you for each? That’s better, if that is the case. But you can already do this to some extent in iPhoto without getting another piece of software. It may take more time, or less time, depending on the specifics.
      A lot of people want something that will automatically find and remove duplicates. But photos are probably the one piece of data that I do not want to take chances with. So I prefer to go through them manually, making sure only true duplicates are deleted, that the right one (in the right event) is deleted, and that I better organize the ones I am not deleting in the meantime.
      Of course the real trick is to avoid the 10,000 duplicates in the first place by taking care when managing your photo collection.

    7 years ago

    Thanks Gary, once again you’ve found a simple and easy (once you know) solution.

    I’ll just note that due to the number of event folders I have I had a bit of trouble finding the new event folder once it was created – even after trying to sort events by name or date. My iPhoto (latest version) froze a few times so I had to restart and rebuild the libraries a few times too. Clearly I have been tardy in keeping my photos/event folders tidy, so I’ve been doing that since you heard from me last!

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