How to Remove a Background from an Image on Mac

This article explains how you can remove a background from a picture using Preview on your Mac.

There can be various reasons why you may want to remove the background. For example, you may want to delete distracting details. Or you can remove the background and replace it with a solid color.

First, please note that although Preview has some great features, it is not designed for these types of jobs. It is not that advanced. If your photo has a complex background, you may want to use a more advanced image editing tool, like Photoshop, GIMP, Pixelmator, etc.

Remove background

1. Open the photo or image that you would like to edit. You can double click to open it.

Or you can right-click and select Preview. See this article if you are unable to open the file.

Note: you may click the Magnifying Glass icon to zoom so that you may work more comfortable.

Preview zoom

2. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button.

Markup Preview

3. Click the Instant Alpha button to activate it.

Instant Alpha

4. Click and drag anywhere on the background.

Remove background

5. Once an area is selected, press the “Delete” key to remove the area. This will remove the highlighted background.

Background Removed

  • A popup may appear saying “Convert this document to PNG? Your last edit adds transparency, which the current document format does not support. Converting will replace the existing file.” Click the Convert button. This will make your image with the instant alpha areas transparent.

Convert PNG

See also: How to convert images.

6. You can also delete everything outside the selected area if you prefer. To do this, Edit > Invert Selection. And then hit Delete. This will delete everything outside the highlighted area.

Or, alternatively, when you highlight an area (background), a new button will appear saying Crop. You can click this button.

Preview Crop

7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 above as needed until you are satisfied.

8. When you are done, save your file.

See also:

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University.

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