My library is getting too large. I'd like to remove the videos so I can manage them separately. I suppose if there was a way to sort the library by media type, then I could drag all the videos to a folder then delete them.


Create a smart album inside iPhoto with multiple criteria (iPhoto unfortunately can't create smart albums based on Kind).

Filename ends with .mov
Filename ends with .avi


Then flag them all with a unique keyword (e.g., DELETE). Go to Photos under Library and search for that keyword.

Throw away everything you find.

  • I'm worried that deleting library content from the finder will leave orphaned metadata in the iPhoto library, possibly causing problems.
    – rob
    Jun 28 '11 at 14:50
  • I meant a smart album inside of iPhoto. I've updated my answer to be more clear.
    – bahamat
    Jul 5 '11 at 6:34
  • Also make sure the criteria is "Any" and not "And" in the latest iPhoto (the default is "And"). Your above criteria will yield nothing otherwise :) (oh and thanks, this was killing me, so simple!)
    – Kezzer
    Mar 16 '13 at 11:25

@bahamat's solution works, but there's a more robust and convient solution - tested on iPhoto '11, but presumably also works on earlier versions.

  • Create a smart album and define its criterion as [Photo] [is] [Movie] (sic[k]) (a tip from http://ruk.ca/content/find-videos-iphoto) - this will show you all video clips in the entire library (and you won't have to worry abut filename extensions).

  • If you want to move or copy the video-clip files out of the iPhoto library, simply select them all and drag them to the desired location in Finder. Note that iPhoto will only allow you to copy the files, so you'll have to delete the clips from the library afterward if your intent is to move.

  • To delete all clips from the library (move them to iPhoto's Trash), select them all and press Option-Command-Delete (note the addition of the Option key to the standard delete/remove command keyboard shortcut) or, while holding down Option, select Photos > Move to Trash from iPhoto's menu.

Further notes (optional reading):

  • Due to a usability bug, the Trash command in the context menu of items in smart album appears enabled, but doesn't actually work. Holding down Option there doesn't work either.

  • You can use the Option-key-based delete method in regular albums too to not only remove items from an album, but also delete them (move them to the Trash), i.e. also delete them from the originating event.


I think you can do this in Finder. If you open a finder window, you may be able to use the built-in search functions in there.

For example, you should see a list of a few folders on the nav bar on the left that are kind of purple in color - those are saved searches and I believe they'll show you content from within iPhoto. There's also the built-in spotlight search box in the upper right-hand corner of your finder window (and another master one for the system in the top right). That may help you.

I'm pretty sure spotlight has everything it needs to give you search results for exactly this very quickly. Of course, this depends on you having something like OSX 10.4 or whenever spotlight was released. It is cool that it'll show stuff from within iPhoto. At least, it does for me on Snow Leopard.

Anyway, I can't test as I don't have a mac handy. Good luck

  • Doing this from the Finder is a bad idea, because iPhoto's index will be out of sync with the filesystem.
    – bahamat
    Jun 27 '11 at 22:52
  • @bahamat - What he if hasn't changed iPhoto in a long time? At some point they must be reasonably in sync. What would you suggest? Jun 27 '11 at 22:55
  • If you just delete files from the filesystem then iPhoto will think the files are still there because it maintains a master database of content.
    – bahamat
    Jun 27 '11 at 23:01
  • @bahamat - and it doesn't gracefully deal with missing files?? Man, that's not cool. Jun 27 '11 at 23:31
  • white phoenix: there's no automatic cleanup, no. But if you later happen upon one of the missing files it will ask if you want to remove it from the index.
    – bahamat
    Jun 27 '11 at 23:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.