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?

7 Answers 7


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! Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 6:16
  • 4
    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
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 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 (2 alternative solutions)

Either: (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.

Or: (B) Forcibly disabling the process for the whole computer

You could go for completely preventing the photoanalysisd process from ever starting up by entering a command in Terminal. The command requires admin privileges and that SIP be disabled temporarily, otherwise you would get a permission denied error.

So you can enter the command in the Terminal of the Recovery Mode (booting with Cmd (⌘) – Option (⌥) – R) or from your user session while SIP is disabled (but do not forget to enable it again afterwards). In a Terminal, enter the following command

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

If you are running this in Recovery Mode, you might want to disable-reenable SIP all at once with the following:

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

Basically, it changes the permissions of the program file and forbids anyone from running it. This way, the system will not be able to start it and it won't be a burden for your CPU anymore.

PS: If you update to a newer version of MacOS, you will need to re-do this B) step, since the permissions will be restored.
PSS: If you ever want to enable it again, you might have lost track of this page... so put a note about it somewhere. At least, know that upgrading to the newest would reset.
PSSS: Note that preventing the process from running might have side effects (even though I do not see any after few years).

Restoring the functionality (if used option B)

You can always restore the permissions and everything would be back to normal with these commands run in Recovery Mode. Note the +x instead of the -x.

csrutil disable
sudo chmod +x /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/PhotoAnalysis.framework/Versions/Current/Support/photoanalysisd
csrutil enable
  • Getting "Operation not permitted" for this
    – GJ.
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:51
  • It is a meant to be run as root (super-user). Are you sure you did not forget the sudo part at the beginning? Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 2:00
  • Yes, running it with sudo. Probably something to do with the system integrity mechanism blocking this.
    – GJ.
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 7:33
  • Oh you're right, it's because /System is indeed protected by SIP. So this command either has to be run from the Recovery Mode (Booting with Cmd (⌘) – Option (⌥) – R) or from a normal session with SIP disabled (not recommended). I should have mentioned this. Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 19:09

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"

  • 2
    This really does not answer the question posed, which seeks to remove the face detection data, not merely hide the names.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 11:17

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

  • 7
    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
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 14:01
  • 7
    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
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 18:53

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