How do I uninstall Photos for Mac?

You don't uninstall Photos for Mac. Not if you've got any sense at all. Photos is bundled with Apple's operating system (Mac OS X and now macOS) with many other apps: iMovie, iTunes and Safari, to name a few. Photos isn't just a standalone app. It has integrated hooks that run deep through the operating system. In this respect Photos is like Calendar or Contacts. It's needed by the system.

What's that? You don't care what we say, and you're going to delete Photos anyway? Okay, fine. Here's how to uninstall Photos for Mac:

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Deleting the app

You can't say we didn't warn you. Actually, somebody probably will, so here it is again: do not uninstall Photos for Mac. We explain the problems you're likely to face after removing Photos in the next section.

If after all our warnings you still want to uninstall Photos for Mac, then make sure you have a backup ready in Time Machine for the inevitable re-installation of OS X or macOS that you're going to have to do. Then follow these steps:

  1. Restart your Mac and Turn off SIP (System Integrity Protection).
  2. Open Terminal and enter sudo rm /Applications/Photos.app
  3. Enter your admin password.
  4. Restart your Mac and Turn SIP back on.

You will now have a Mac with Photos complete removed from it. Let us know how you get on in the comments.

See also: Apple Photos for Mac review | Tips for using Photos for Mac

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Problems you may face if you uninstall Photos

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Problems

You'll cause problems for macOS or any app that tries to access Photos if you try to remove Photos. That's why we flat-out recommend that you don't try to uninstall Photos on your Mac.

Clicking the Photos button in Mail, for example, brings up the mini Photos viewer. Clicking Edit in User & Groups enables you to pick an image from Photos as your profile picture. Unlike the web browser, you can't change the association with an image app. It always looks for the presence of Photos.

To this end, Apple makes it difficult for you to remove the Photos app. Try to drag its icon from the Applications folder to the Trash (the typical easy way to uninstall an app, and you'll get the message: '"Photos" can't be modified or deleted because it's required by macOS.'

Read next: Best cheap photo-editing software for Mac

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Minimise Photos' impact instead

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Deselect Open in Photos

Rather than Uninstall Photos for Mac, it's better to minimise its impact on you and forget about it. You probably want to prevent it from appearing whenever you connect an iPhone, iPad or camera.

  1. Connect your device.
  2. Open Photos (if it hasn't launched automatically).
  3. Select the device under Import in the sidebar.
  4. Deselect the blue tick in the box next to "Open Photos for this device".
  5. Close Photos (choose Photos > Quit).
  6. Disconnect your device.

Now when you re-attach the device the Photos app will not open automatically.

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Remove all your images

How to uninstall Photos for Mac: Create a new library in Photos

Now that you've prevented Photos from opening automatically, you might want to reset it to the default state. You can do this by disconnecting the Photos Library (and deleting it if you no longer need the images).

  1. Ensure that Photos is not running (choose Photos > Quit if it is).
  2. Hold down the Alt key and click on Photos in the Dock (or double-click its icon in Applications).
  3. Click Create New in the Choose Library folder.
  4. Give it a name, such as "Empty Photos Library" and click OK.
  5. Quit Photos (choose File > Quit Photos).

If you no longer want the old Photos library, you can drag it to the Trash. It's typically called "Photos Library" and is located in the Picutres folder (inside your Home folder). This is the bulk of the size of the Photos app, so you can keep the blank frame for the app.

This is safer than trying to uninstall the main program.

Read next: How to back up your Apple photo library | How to delete all photos from iPhone