How do I remove a background from an image on a Mac?

a close up of a grasshopper on a white background

There are times when you just want the subject of a photo, not anything lingering in the background. Luckily, there’s a quick and reliable way to remove the background from an image on a Mac, and you don’t need any expensive Photoshop-grade software to do it, either. It’s simple to do with the Mac’s built-in Preview app. Here’s how to do it.

Time needed: 2 minutes

Quickly remove a background from an image on a Mac

  1. Open the image in Preview

    By default, if you double-click on an image on a Mac it should open in Preview. If you’ve set another default app for images, right-click on the image file, choose Open with… and select Preview from the drop-down menu.

  2. Choose the Remove Background tool

    With the image open, select Tools from the Menu Bar and then Remove Background.

  3. Convert to PNG

    When you select the Remove Background tool, you’ll see a pop-up asking if you want to convert to PNG. Choose this option. PNG is an image format that supports transparency, meaning the subject of the photo can be saved with no image/colour in the background. Remove Background tool in macOS

  4. Save your new image

    Now the background has been removed, save the image and you should now have the subject alone. If you’re not happy with the cut out, you can always press Command + Z to undo the background removal and put the image back to its original form.

Now you have the image that has been cut-out from the background, you can use other photo-editing software to place that image on a new background. Alternatively, you can insert the image on a website like this, and it will appear against the website’s background colour, as you can see below:

Cutout of greyhound painting

How do you print an image at a specific size?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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