How to Delete Photos from MacBook But Not iCloud: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

Managing photo storage on a MacBook is of utmost importance, especially for those who have a considerable amount of pictures saved. This helps prevent the device from running out of space, which in turn keeps your MacBook running smoothly. In this article, we will address a common dilemma: how to delete photos from MacBook but not iCloud.

II. Understanding the Difference Between Photos on MacBook and iCloud

1. MacBook Photos

a. Origin of MacBook Photos

Photos stored on MacBook originate from various sources, such as those taken on your device, imported from a camera or SD card, or downloaded from the internet.

b. Local Storage

These photos are saved directly onto your MacBook’s hard drive, occupying local storage space. The more photos saved, the less space available for other files or applications.

2. iCloud Photos

a. Origin of iCloud Photos

iCloud Photos are the pictures that have been uploaded and synced with the iCloud Photo Library. These images can be accessed on all your connected Apple devices.

b. Cloud Storage

iCloud Photos use cloud storage, thereby saving space on your local hard drive. They are also automatically backed up to prevent loss or damage to your photos.

III. Back up MacBook Photos to iCloud

1. Importance of Backing up Photos

Backing up your MacBook photos to iCloud is crucial for protecting your precious memories from accidental deletion or hardware failure. It also allows you to access your images across multiple devices without taking up space on your local hard drive.

2. Steps to Back up MacBook Photos to iCloud

1. Ensure you are signed in to your iCloud account on your MacBook.
2. Open the Photos app.
3. Click Photos in the top-left corner of the screen, followed by Preferences.
4. Select the iCloud tab.
5. Check the box next to iCloud Photos to enable automatic photo syncing and backup.

IV. How to Delete Photos from MacBook but not iCloud

1. Benefits of Deleting Photos from MacBook

– Free up valuable storage space
– Improve device performance
– Reduce clutter and keep photos organized
– Ensure the safe storage of photos in iCloud

2. Steps to Delete Photos from MacBook but not iCloud

a. Delete Photos from MacBook’s Photos App

1. Launch the Photos app.
2. Select the photos you wish to delete.
3. Press the delete key on your keyboard or go to Image in the top menu and click Delete Photo.
4. Confirm your decision by clicking Delete.

b. Disable iCloud Photo Library on MacBook

1. Before disabling iCloud Photos, ensure that all photos have been synced to iCloud.
2. Open the Preferences window in the Photos app.
3. Go to the iCloud tab.
4. Uncheck the box next to iCloud Photos.

c. Remove Photos from MacBook’s Hard Drive

1. Open a Finder window.
2. Click Pictures in the left sidebar.
3. Locate the Photos Library.photoslibrary file.
4. Right-click the file and choose Show Package Contents.
5. Locate and delete the Masters folder to remove photos from your MacBook’s hard drive.

V. Tips to Properly Organize MacBook Photos

1. Best Practices for Organizing Digital Photos

– Create albums and folders to group similar photos together.
– Use descriptive file names and tags for easier searching.
– Regularly review and delete unwanted images.
– Consistently back up photos to iCloud or another external source.

2. Tips to Keep Your MacBook Photos Organized

– Establish a routine for importing, organizing, and backing up photos.
– Utilize keywords and face recognition features in the Photos app.
– Create smart albums based on specific criteria (e.g., date, location, etc.).
– Consider third-party photo organizing apps for additional features.

VI. Conclusion

In summary, knowing how to delete photos from MacBook but not iCloud can help free up precious storage space and improve your device’s performance. By backing up your photos to iCloud, you can ensure their safety and easily access them on all of your connected devices. Don’t let photo storage take up precious space on your MacBook. Follow these simple steps to declutter your device and access your cherished memories anytime, anywhere!


1. How do I ensure that my photos are backed up to iCloud before deleting them from my MacBook?

Check your iCloud storage and verify that your photos are present in the iCloud Photo Library. You can do this by logging in to your iCloud account online or by checking the synced photos on another connected Apple device.

2. Can I recover deleted photos from my MacBook?

Yes, deleted photos are moved to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app and will stay there for 30 days before being permanently deleted. You can recover your images during this period.

3. Will disabling iCloud Photos on my MacBook affect other connected devices?

Disabling iCloud Photos on your MacBook will not affect other connected devices; they can still access the images stored in iCloud Photo Library.

4. What if I want to delete photos from iCloud but not my MacBook?

You can download your iCloud Photos to your MacBook, disable iCloud Photos on your device (as mentioned in the article), and then delete the photos from iCloud using another connected Apple device or the iCloud website.

5. Can I change the storage settings for my iCloud Photo Library?

Yes, you can upgrade or downgrade your iCloud storage plan according to your needs. This can be done through the Settings app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, or via the Apple ID account settings on your MacBook.

6. What happens when I reach my iCloud storage limit?

Once you reach your iCloud storage limit, you will no longer be able to back up new photos or files until you clear space or upgrade your storage plan.

7. Can I back up my photos to another cloud service instead of iCloud?

Yes, you can consider using third-party cloud storage services such as Google Photos, Dropbox, or Amazon Photos to back up your pictures instead of iCloud. Be aware that each of these services may have their respective limitations and features.