How to Delete Photos From MacBook But Not in iCloud (2023)

MacBooks are known for their excellent graphics, processing speed, and memory capacity. It’s compatible with many photo editing software and can be used as storage for your photos. But, some MacBook users have asked how to delete photos from MacBook but not iCloud.

How to Delete Photos From MacBook But Not in iCloud

This happens when you want to free up some space by deleting photos from your Mac. However, it’s possible also to delete them on your iCloud. This guide will show you how to delete photos on Mac and how to unsync photos from Mac once you want to delete the MacBook’s file copy only.


How to Delete Photos From MacBook and iCloud

Deleting old photos from your MacBook is an effective way to free up some of its internal memory. If you don’t have the iCloud Photos feature, you’ll only delete the photos from your Mac. To delete images from your Mac, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn on your MacBook and navigate to the Photos app.
  2. Go to your selected album and choose the images you wish to delete.
  3. Next, press the Delete button on the keyboard.

It’s important to know that all deleted photos will be moved to the Recently Deleted folder. So, if you want to entirely delete photos from your Mac to free up storage, navigate to the Recently Deleted folder and select Delete All (below the Search bar).

To delete photos from iCloud only via iCloud Photos to free up some of your cloud storage, proceed with the steps below:

  1. Open your MacBook and launch your desired browser.
  2. Go to iCloud’s official website and sign in to your account.
  3. Go to the Photos app and select the photos you wish to delete. 

Note: To select multiple photos on your Mac, press the Command key and click on your desired images. To select all photos, press Command + A.

  1. Select the Delete key on the keyboard.

In this guide we covered deleting images from your Recently Deleted folder. If you are interested in exploring other folders, please check out our guide on the Applications Folder on Mac.


How to Unsync Photos From Mac

But what if you want to delete photos on your Mac and have the iCloud Photos feature set up? You’ll first need to turn off sync for the Photos app to delete them from your MacBook only, not from the iCloud and Mac storage.

To unsync Photos from Mac via System Preferences, do the following:

  1. Turn on your MacBook and go to System Preferences/System Settings.
  2. Select iCloud. You will now see a list of apps to which the iCloud is synced. Find the Photos app and untick the checkbox.
  3. If asked to delete photos from the Mac only, choose Yes.

You can now delete your desired photos on your MacBook without deleting its copy from your iCloud storage. However, you’ll need to enable it again once you want to add more pictures and sync them to iCloud.

The above article covers images. If you want to delete messages, please see our article on How To Delete Messages From iCloud.

Final Thoughts

Macs are great storage devices for your files, photos, and videos. However, it’s possible to delete photos from your Mac and iCloud once synced. Hence, this guide hopefully helps you know how to delete pictures from your MacBook only and not from your iCloud.