I am trying to use Photos.app on macos to quickly organize photos in some directory (delete the ones I don't like and keep the ones I do).

I did the following:

  1. I've disabled copying imported photos to the library in Photos.app.
  2. Dragged the folder with photos to import it in Photos.app
  3. Selected a file and pressed command+delete
  4. Deleted this file from "Recently deleted"

The file is still there on disk, I can see it in Finder. Am I doing something wrong or does the "delete" feature just remove the file from the Photos.app database?

1 Answer 1


When you import photos into the Photos app after disabling 'Importing: Copy items into the Photos Library', the original photos stay wherever they were, e.g. a folder on your Mac, and references (pointers) to those photos are created in the Photos app. As such, deleting them from Photos only deletes the pointers. It does not delete photos from their original location, so they still appear in Finder.

You can learn more about referenced files here and here.

To scroll through, review and delete unwanted photos, use the Preview pane of the Finder window:

enter image description here

See this if you need more detailed guidance.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .