How to Remove Background from Picture on Mac

By Jaime Published February 29, 2024

How to Remove Background from Picture on Mac
How to Remove Background from Picture on Mac

Removing the background from a picture is an essential skill for enhancing images, focusing on the main subject, and facilitating creative design. This guide provides detailed instructions for Mac users on various methods to achieve professional-looking results without unnecessary complexity. From built-in tools like Preview to advanced software like Adobe Photoshop and convenient third-party applications, we cover the most efficient ways to remove image backgrounds, ensuring every user can find a method that fits their expertise and project requirements.

Why Remove Backgrounds?

Removing the background from an image can serve multiple purposes:

  • Enhancing focus on the subject by eliminating distracting elements.
  • Preparing images for professional presentations, websites, or social media.
  • Creating custom merchandise designs, such as t-shirts and mugs.
  • Facilitating the creation of composite images for creative projects.

Methods to Remove Background from Picture on Mac

1. Using Preview

Preview is a powerful tool that comes pre-installed on all Mac computers. It offers a simple yet effective way to remove backgrounds from images without the need for additional software.

  • Open your image in Preview.
  • Select the Instant Alpha tool.
  • Click and drag on the background you wish to remove.
  • Press Delete to remove the selected area.

2. Utilizing Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a professional-grade tool that offers precision and flexibility for background removal.

  • Open the image in Photoshop.
  • Use the Quick Selection Tool to select the subject.
  • Click on Select and Mask to refine the edges.
  • Use the Refine Edge Brush to catch any missed details.
  • Output to a new layer with a mask.

3. Third-Party Apps and Websites

Several third-party apps and websites offer automated background removal with minimal effort.

  • A website that uses AI to automatically remove backgrounds.
  • Pixelmator Pro: A Mac app that provides an easy-to-use Remove Background tool.
  • GIMP: A free, open-source alternative with powerful selection tools.

4. Using Apple Photos

With macOS Monterey and later, the Photos app includes a feature to remove backgrounds from pictures seamlessly.

  • Open the Photos app and select your image.
  • Click on the edit button, then select the magic wand tool.
  • Choose the Remove Background option.

Tips for Perfect Background Removal

  • Zoom in for more precise selections.
  • Use a soft brush for edge refining to avoid harsh edges.
  • Experiment with feathering to blend the subject smoothly with the new background.
  • Save your work in PNG format to preserve transparency.

How to Remove Background from Picture on iPhone, Android, and Windows

While this article focuses on Mac, it’s essential to know that background removal can also be performed on other devices:


Mastering the removal of backgrounds from pictures on a Mac elevates the visual quality of your images, offering a gateway to professional and creative possibilities. This guide outlines the most effective techniques, from using Preview and Photoshop to exploring third-party applications. The skills discussed here not only apply to Mac but also extend to removing image backgrounds on PCs and mobile devices, showcasing the universal importance of this capability in digital imagery. Practice and experimentation with these methods will lead to seamless background removal, enhancing your digital content across platforms.