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How to empty the iPhoto Trash

Do you often load a bunch of photos from your camera and then delete many of them? If you aren’t emptying your iPhoto Trash and Mac Trash, those photos are probably taking up valuable disk space. Here’s how to clean things up.

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Maybe I’m just oblivious but until recently I never noticed that little iPhoto Trash icon iPhoto Trash icon. I was wasting precious disk space with all the out-of-focus or duplicate photos I’d deleted over the years. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Bonnie G July 2, 2011, 9:23 am

    Love your info on emptying the IPhoto Trash. I had so much in there. You are awesome. ☺ thanks for all these tips. Bonnie

  • patti loyola October 14, 2011, 8:32 pm

    How do I recover a photo from the trash before I emptying the Trash?

    • Steve November 2, 2011, 4:21 pm

      Hi Mom, good question. Let me make a video about it. 🙂

  • Nazlee April 4, 2012, 10:12 am

    Just did this – thanks!

  • Kris July 8, 2014, 9:10 am

    I have been going nuts wondering why, when i deleted nearly 3,000 photos and videos, that I still was at 3mb left of memory!

    DUH! Thank you!!!

  • Bram July 19, 2014, 2:37 pm

    Thank you very much! What a fantastic tip.

  • Tina May 23, 2015, 10:19 am

    Thank you for this fabulous tip! I had no idea where all those deleted photos were hanging out.

  • chicajill June 7, 2015, 1:55 pm

    This is old information now. It is June 2015. I can’t find how to delete my trash can in iPhotos. Help, please.

    • Steve June 7, 2015, 9:50 pm

      Hi Chica Jill, since the Trash is still clearly there in the latest (and last) version of iPhoto, I suspect you are having trouble finding it in the new Photos app.

      In the Photos app, the Trash has been replaced by “Recently Deleted”, similar to the Photos app on the iPad/iPhone. To view your Recently Deleted photos, click on the File menu and choose “Show Recently Deleted”. That will let you see what’s in there and purge it if you like.

      But note that Recently Deleted is more than just a name change for Trash. It keeps track of how long each photo has been in there and will automatically purge deleted photos after about 30 days. So, on the bright side, your Recently Deleted will normally not get too big since older deletions will be automatically removed. But it also means that you can’t retrieve deleted photos long after deleting them like you could in iPhoto.

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