The macOS Photos app allows searching for photos that contain specific people. But how can one create a smart album that only contains photos that do not contain any people at all?

It is possible to create a filter that excludes a specific person. That filter might be a solution if there only was a way to exclude all persons using a wildcard or similar.

2 Answers 2


Update: This no longer works and I no longer have a Mac to test

The smart albums use SQL at the core so you may use % as a wildcard.

Person is not %

If you create a smart album with the above, it will populate full of photos where the facial recognition did not match a photo. However, people with a detected face that has not yet been named will also show up in the album.

  • This does not work on Catalina 10.15.7. Nov 19, 2020 at 4:09
  • Doesn't work on Big Sur. Cannot type in percent symbol
    – Black Frog
    Aug 2, 2021 at 15:40
  • Tried on macOS 11.5.2 / Photos 6.0 (361.0.100). Doesn't seem to work anymore. Aug 28, 2021 at 17:58
  • 1
    This no longer works, but I was able to get close by adding in 5 rules: Person does not include a, person does not include e, and repeat for all vowels. Not perfect, but my guess is that 99.9% of people will have at least one vowel in their name.
    – Tim Doyle
    Sep 26, 2021 at 13:20
  • @TimDoyle This also matches everything without people ...
    – Matteo
    Nov 19, 2021 at 20:48

managed to do it by selecting blank in the listbox when choosing a face:

enter image description here

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