How to delete / restore photos in “Photos” app on Mac

Updated : Dec 30, 2021

I will introduce how to delete and restore photos in the Photos app on your Mac.

I will also show you how to “permanently delete” deleted photos so that they cannot be restored.

This page is created with the following macOS versions.

  • macOS 12 Monterey

Other versions may have slightly different screen designs and controls.

① How to delete photos in the “Photos” app

▶ In the Photos app, select the photos you want to delete.

The selected photos will change the color of the border of the photos.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

There are the following types of selection methods.

MethodOperation
Select only oneClick on the selection with the mouse or trackpad
Select multiple consecutiveBelow are the steps:
① Hold down the shift key
② Click and hold the margin near the start point with the mouse or trackpad
③ Drag the mouse or trackpad to the end point
④ Release your finger from the keyboard and mouse or trackpad
Select multiple non-consecutiveBelow are the steps:
① Hold down the command ⌘ key
② Click on the selection with the mouse or trackpad
③ Release your finger from the keyboard and mouse or trackpad
Select allPress the command ⌘ + A keys
Clear the selectionClick on an empty margin

▶ After selecting what you want to delete, right-click on any of the selected photos to display the menu.

From the right-click menu that appears, select “Delete x photos (x is a number)”.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

▶ As shown in the figure, when the message “Delete from all your devices?” is displayed, click the “Delete” button.

Even if you delete them, you can recover them within about 30 days, but I will explain how to do it later.

On the other hand, if you hold down the option ⌥ key and click the “Delete” button at this time, they will be permanently deleted and you will not be able to recover them.

Mac Photos.app

This is the end of explanation, “① How to delete photos in the “Photos” app”.

② How to recover deleted photos

Photos deleted from the “Photos” app on your Mac can then be recovered under certain conditions.

  • Within approximately 30 days from the date of deletion
  • You didn’t “Permanently Delete” when deleting
  • Use the “Photos” app on Mac / iPhone / iPad with the same iCloud account
Mr. Otter
Mr. Otter

I understand the first and second conditions, but what does the third condition mean?

Little devil fox
Little devil fox

The deleted photos data are stored on iCloud’s server for about 30 days.

So you can recover at any devices with the same iCloud account, not just the Mac / iPhone / iPad with the deleted photos.

<meta charset="utf-8">Little devil fox
Little devil fox

More specifically, you can also recover at the iCloud.com site, which you can access with a web browser.

Icloud.com Photos
Click to enlarge
<meta charset="utf-8">Mr. Otter
Mr. Otter

I see.

Well, it’s convenient, maybe.

<meta charset="utf-8">Mr. Otter
Mr. Otter

From here, I will explain the operation method.

▶ In the “Photos” app, click “Recently Deleted” from the list on the left side of the screen.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

▶ When “Recently Deleted” is displayed, select the photos you want to recover.

The selected photos will have blue checkmarks in the lower right corner.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

There are the following types of selection methods.

MethodOperation
Select only oneClick on the selection with the mouse or trackpad
Select multiple consecutiveBelow are the steps:
① Hold down the shift key
② Click and hold the margin near the start point with the mouse or trackpad
③ Drag the mouse or trackpad to the end point
④ Release your finger from the keyboard and mouse or trackpad
Select multiple non-consecutiveClick on the selections with the mouse or trackpad
Select allPress the command ⌘ + A keys
Clear the selectionClick on an empty margin

▶ After selecting what you want to recover, right-click on any of the selected photos to bring up a menu.

Select “Recover” from the displayed right-click menu.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

In addition to the above method, you can also click the “Recover” button on the upper right of the “Photos” app after selecting the recover targets.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

This is the end of explanation, “② How to recover deleted photos”.

③ How to delete photos permanently

Deleted photos can be recovered within about 30 days.

However, if you delete them completely by the following method, you will not be able to recover them even within about 30 days.

▶ In the “Photos” app, click “Recently Deleted” from the list on the left side of the screen.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

▶ When “Recently Deleted” is displayed, select the photos you want to delete permanently.

The selected photos will have blue checkmarks in the lower right corner.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

There are the following types of selection methods.

MethodOperation
Select only oneClick on the selection with the mouse or trackpad
Select multiple consecutiveBelow are the steps:
① Hold down the shift key
② Click and hold the margin near the start point with the mouse or trackpad
③ Drag the mouse or trackpad to the end point
④ Release your finger from the keyboard and mouse or trackpad
Select multiple non-consecutiveClick on the selections with the mouse or trackpad
Select allPress the command ⌘ + A keys
Clear the selectionClick on an empty margin

▶ After selecting what you want to detele permanently, right-click on any of the selected photos to bring up a menu.

Select “Delete x Photos (x is a number)” from the displayed right-click menu.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

In addition to the above method, you can also click the “Delete x Photos (x is a number)” button on the upper right of the “Photos” app after selecting the recover targets.

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

The figure below is an enlarged view around the arrow

Mac Photos.app
Click to enlarge

This is the end of explanation, “③ How to delete photos permanently”.

Reference information

This is an explanation of how to delete / restore / delete permanently photos from the Photos app on the official Apple website.

Spa cat
Spa cat

This is the end of this article.

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