Deleting photos in iPhoto

When your camera takes pictures that weigh in at over 3MB each, the decision of which photos to delete is as important as any. That’s why I’m dumbfounded by the way that feature is designed in iPhoto.

If you’re looking at a photo inside an album, hitting the delete key will remove the photo from the album, but won’t delete the actual photo. If, however, you’re viewing the Library, and you hit that same key, it will.

Now I understand the logic. But I still keep making this mistake, because the library and the album work and look exactly the same, otherwise, so I forget where I am. And then when, after careful deliberation and comparison of almost-identical shots, I’m done “deleting” them from the album, and I realize I was in the wrong place, it is really hard to figure out which photos it was that I wanted to delete, since they’re now gone from the album. Argh!!

32 comments

thanks for the tip! i agree it's annoying... what can ya do.
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i hate it too! that's so annoying, i wish there's a setting for it.
By Jonathan on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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I agree 1000% -- I hate this aspect of iPhoto!! And it becomes incredibly tedious if you discover later that when you thought you were cleaning out some photos they weren't really deleted and then you have to flip back and forth between the album where you deleted them and the library to figure out which ones have to go. Really, really bad UI design.
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a bit late but ... when you are in an album (or smart album) and you press alt + command + delete iPhoto put the photo into the trash from any place. however, it does not work in folders or slideshows. sadly not the only annoying thing in iPhoto!
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When you're in an album, you can press the Option and Delete key to move the picture to the trash (from the library and album).
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unless i'm mistaken, i think the problem is even worse. when you delete the photo from your library it still remains in the "data" file as well as the "originals" file. so it' appears that not only does it not truly delete, but it actually keeps 2 copies of the shots you thought you deleted. go to the "finder" then to "pictures" to "iphoto library" and look in the "data" file as well as the "originals" file. Is this true?
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I spent some time researching this today and discovered the trick to it. Delete your unwanted photos from your library, and they'll go into iPhoto's trash, but stay in the library like nothing has happened. Now select > iPhoto > Empty Trash. At this point all the photos will have been removed from you computer completely, bypassing the main trash. Hope that helps.
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Can someone tell me how to stop iPhoto from automatically opening and taking posession of my images. As soon as I insert the media card into the slot... iPhoto opens and I have to wait for all the albums to load.
By eletven@comcast.net on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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Have you tried "When you insert a picture CD" in the CDs & DVDs System Preference pane?
By Lars Pind on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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Dave, Thanks! Thanks to your help I just cleared out 3GB of already "deleted" photos.
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this is great! Option+Delete works from anywhere. No just to remember to always do that... This also annoyed the heck out of me. Incedentally, this also works in iTunes. Fantastic. Makes sense, given the normal function of the option key in OS X for force-emptying the trash.
By Arvid Tomayko-Peters on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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Anyone can PLEASE help???I accidentally deleted 1500 photos and emptyed the trash (iphoto)after spending 2 hrs organizing. I don't know how it happened, I somehow thought that i was only deleting photos that I had put in the trash. Somehow the wrong ones must have gotten highlighted,and sent to the trash by mistake allthough i thought i was being careful. they are 0ne years worth of photos, family holidays, great photographs ect. irriplaceable. I looked in all of the folders named Photo Library 2006. every single one. None were there.I tried Virtual Lab which only gave me the option to look in the same folder i had already looked in.If ANYONE can help me id so much appriciate it.
By cheznoel@yahoo.com on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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Sorry to hear about your distress. Unfortunately, I don't know anything to try that would fix this. Ugh, I empathize with you. Get an external hard drive and use SuperDuper! to do regular backups in the future seems to be the best advice I can give, though I know it hurts to get it at this hour. Good luck!
By Lars Pind on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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<i> Can someone tell me how to stop iPhoto from automatically opening and taking posession of my images. As soon as I insert the media card into the slot… iPhoto opens and I have to wait for all the albums to load.</i> Go into your Applications folder and find an app called "Image Capture." Make sure no photo cards or cameras are mounted, and open the app. In Preferences, you'll be able to choose which application you want to open automatically when you mount a photo card, and "no application" is one of your choices.
By Chris Clarke on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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Dave, You are the man. Such a simple procedure, but I couldn't find how to do this anywhere. Thanks!
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Dave, You are the man. Such a simple procedure, but I couldn't find how to do this anywhere. Thanks!
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Thanks for the great tips guys. But I wish they helped... When I imported all of my photos I declined iPhotos friendly offer to bury my all of my image files in it's myriad of folders, and instead imported them while keeping the originals within my folder structure. Now when I try to delete the photos from my library iPhoto won't delete them from my folders. Does anyone know of a way to tell iPhoto to actually delete them? Or do I have to relent and let iPhoto import them its way?
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thanks so much for the tip about how to delete photos permanently! It was bothersome to delete photos in iPhoto and never did understand the concept. After i tried deleting photos in library, i went to iPhoto>empty trash. If simultaneously you have your Original Folder open, you can see the picture you deleted actually disappear from that Originals folder. Great!!!
By Anabelle on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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has anyone had this problem? our BRAND NEW mac was having problems, we we dragged our whole iphoto library to our ipod to back up. then when our comp was rebooted, we reloaded our pictures. we've had to do this twice and each time, iphoto seems to make 1 or 2 extra copies of each picture, sometimes a thumbnail too. when i went into the library folder to delete extras, iphoto suddenly asked me if i wanted to rebuild the cache. since i don't know how to do that unless it asks me, i thought it'd be good to take a break from deleting and let it reorganize itself. the next morning, each deleted photo had an icon with a question mark on it (i had dumped the trash). now i have to delete all these icons. is there a better way? i have no specific folders but am just going through our library. also, the date stamps seem to be messed up and our photos are horrendously mixed up. we have (get this!) over 35,000 photos!!! in reality we have more like 4,000. i need some serious help.
By kristen on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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So, I have over 2gb of pictures in IPhoto Trash and have no clue on how to delet them. The only options on the left is "Library, last 12 rolls and trash." When I click on Trash, it just shows the pictures without any options. Any other route I can take? Help?
By Sitarra on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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Arrrggg. I have close to 30,000 images in my iphoto, I had backed (so I thought) a large section of photos to a back up drive and then discovered iphoto still recognizes the images and treats them as if their still there...needlesss to say this iphoto is killing my memory and my macbookpro is running the speed of a turtle...someone told me about a trick to defrag and clean up iphoto, with a couple of key commends...anyone know how to do this?
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multiple command line approaches to deleting photos in albums. That's crazy. Should have at least listed that in the menu. arg.. thanks for the answer though.
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I have the same problem as Joel reported (17), has anybody a solution for that ? Thanks Christoph
By Christoph on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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I am having the same issues Chris and Joel...any ideas yet?
By Brandon on Sat, Nov 05, 05 at 20:27 · Reply
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The shortcut in the new iphoto 08 doesnt work!!! damn. please help... when i cmd+delete in my iphoto library it puts the file in the iphoto-trash and when i empty that it doesnt delete the file from the finder!!! what to do? hope you can help
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Thank you for this wonderful thread! I even stopped taking photos for a little while because I was so annoyed with the entire organizing process! Thanks!!
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My baby started pushing buttons while i had iphoto open and all of a sudden it had a little scroll bar and was counting down really fast the # of photos it was removing-and they just vanished. I looked in the finder-iphoto library-and they don't even show up there, they're are a few but it says unable to read or can't recognize image.All of my baby's pictures are gone! Over 600 pictures. I don't know what happened, or where it is they went-does anyone know any way of recovering deleted or removed files?? i need help :(
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I really goofed :( While in iPhoto, I hit 'duplicate' and all of my photos are now doubled in the iPhoto library. I plead ignorance for this action, as I am very new to Mac :(. How can I delete the duplicates from iPhoto library? I read somewhere that you should never tampers with your photos in iPhoto library because it may cause corruption and the loss of other photos. Is that true? And no...I have not backed up the originals because I didn't know how. I am so green and new at this and very technically challenged...but so willing to learn.:) Please help. Thank you!
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iPhoto won't let me delete certain items from the Library..it just beeps at me. If I get to them via the Finder I can delete them fine but iPhoto doesn't have a way to remove the reference. My iPhoto Library is on an external NAS with read/write permissions, but sometimes my wife loads photos via her account. Does anyone know how to make sure all photos have read/write permissions for all users?
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I just wanted to comment on the person who had the problem with the brand new Mac (mssg. #19). You might want to get a checkup for your Mac. Apparently, right around October of 2007, some of the brand new macs had faulty hard drives. Mine was one of them. They replaced it for free, but in the meantime, it caused all sorts of problems and I lost a bunch of stuff (mainly because I wasn't familiar enough with a Mac to even know how to back anything up). Other than that, I haven't got any suggestions to offer. Calling Apple can be a big pain.... long wait time. Good luck.
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Can someone please tell me why the following thing happens: I am trying to get rid of old photos from my computer and store them on my external drive only. I went into the iphoto library through the finder, reorganized all my 2006 photos, removed them from the iphoto library (or so I thought), backed them up, and deleted them (all through the finder). But when I open iphoto they are still there. ???? Please help...
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[...] Deleting photos in iPhoto | pinds.com Nov 6, 2010 … Now when I try to delete the photos from my library iPhoto won't delete them from my folders. … [...]
By Organ » Blog Archive » iphoto pictures on Sat, Jun 04, 11 at 11:31 · Reply
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