I don't like the feature that automatically detects faces in Photos for OS X because of the unnecessary CPU and disk space consumption. A photo library of 360 MB generated 50 MB of face detection data inside the Photos Library.

Is there any way to disable this feature in Photos for OS X?


Unfortunately, you can only side-step the issue by clicking the Albums tab > Faces, and select each found face & delete it. You cannot bulk select, so this must be done manually for each face.

You should log an enhancement request (or three) at the Photos Feedback page.

  • Thanks for the feedback link! I've done a quick test here and it looks like deleting a face does not free disk space (at least not immediately). I logged an enhancement request and hope the Photos team come up with a solution soon! – Marcos Tanaka Apr 26 '15 at 6:16
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    After removing faces from the Faces album, I then opened Photos Library.photoslibrary as a package and deleted the faces.db file. Now, after importing images with faces, the faces.db file is not recreated and there is no Faces album. Perhaps this is a way to turn it off? – IconDaemon Apr 26 '15 at 15:43

Apparently you can stop face recognition by quitting iPhotos, opening a terminal and typing the following (and press enter):

defaults write com.apple.iPhoto PKFaceDetectionEnabled 0

I guess you'll then need to manually delete all the faces it's recognised thus far.

As for the new "Photos" app, I don't think you can disable the face detection.


Many people say it is not possible to disable that feature. But there might be some workarounds depending on your needs.

If you (and other users of the computer) do not want that feature, you might want to forcibly stop the program that performs the face detection/photo analysis. The process (or program) responsible for the analysis is called photoanalysisd. you can be a bit bold about it and try to prevent the process from running altogether.

Forcibly stopping the program performing the analysis

A) Using an app to forcibly pause (the process that performs) the analysis

As someone said here you can use an external app to pause the process before it goes nuts and makes your computer heat up.

B) Forcibly disabling the process for the whole computer

Using the Terminal.app in the Applications > Utilities folder, you could go for completely preventing the photoanalysisd process from ever starting up with the following command (requires admin priviledges):

sudo chmod -x /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PhotoAnalysis.framework/Versions/Current/Support/photoanalysisd

Basically, it changes the permissions of the program file and forbids running it, thus making it impossible to launch. This way, the system will not start it and it won't be a burden for your CPU anymore.
PS: Note that preventing the process from running might have side effects (even though I do not see any yet).
PSS: If you update to a newer version of MacOS, you might need to re-do this B) step.

Restoring the functionality (if used option B)

But if it does, you can always restore the permissions and everything would be back to normal with this command:

sudo chmod +x /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PhotoAnalysis.framework/Versions/Current/Support/photoanalysisd

There is a way to do this now in Photos Version 3.0 (3271.13.150).

In the sidebar select People. Then select all the faces that show up and right click. There is an option to delete/reset all saved face data.


in search type 'face0' all the faces will come up. then select all and delete.


Here is how to remove the "unnamed" for each face in Mac Photos. Just open Photos and select View and click on "HIDE FACE NAMES"

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    This really does not answer the question posed, which seeks to remove the face detection data, not merely hide the names. – IconDaemon Jan 5 '17 at 11:17

You can find the option in View > Hide Face Names.

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    Welcome to Ask Different. While it's good to answer questions it's not necessary to repeat the same answer multiple times. The OP might not appreciate the answer and/or not mark it as correct, impacting your reputation. For info on how to answer questions, see this: How to Answer. - From Review - – fsb May 16 '16 at 14:01
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    The minimal length constraints for answers are there for a reason. Instead of repeating the same text several times to work around it, adding a bit of additional explanation might make the answer easier to read. – nohillside May 16 '16 at 18:53

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