How to bulk delete attachments from the Messages app on your Mac

By , Feb 1, 2016


Just like the Messages app in iOS, the Messages app in OS X allows you to send and receive attachments via iMessage or SMS. Over time, these attachments can take up a lot of storage space and even keep a running history of the things you’ve been sending and are receiving if they’re not dealt with.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can go through your attachment history in your Messages conversations to delete unwanted attachments that are eating up your storage space.

Attachments in the OS X Messages app

Attachments can come in many forms, whether that might be an image file, video file, document, spreadsheet, PDF file, audio file, or something else. In any case, they use up storage space on your computer, and it also takes up valuable resources on your computer to constantly load those attachments when you look through your messaging history in your Messages app.

In terms of privacy, keeping all your sent and received attachments in your Mac’s Messages app leaves you wide open for snooping, especially since you’re likely to leave your Mac turned on throughout the day and the auto-lock function on the Mac is set far longer than on any iOS device by default.

How to delete attachments from the Mac Messages app

If you’re like me, then you probably send and receive a lot of attachments in iMessage or SMS with your friends, co-workers, and your significant other. You can use a function built into your Mac’s Messages app to easily delete attachment histories in bulk so you don’t have to waste any time going through your conversations deleting attachments one-by-one.

Obviously, you should save anything of importance before canning it. If you’ve already done that, then you actually have two copies of the file saved locally on your computer – one in the Messages app attachment archive, and one wherever you saved it to. If you haven’t already saved a copy of important attachments, we’d recommend you do that before starting this guide.

To delete attachments in bulk from the Messages app on your Mac, you can follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Launch the Messages app on your Mac and click on a conversation you’ve had recently.

Step 2: From the Messages app interface, click on the blue “Details” button at the top right of the app.

how to bulk delete attachments from messages app on mac details button

Step 3: A pop-up menu appears, showing you all of the attachments sent and received in this conversation:

how to bulk delete attachments from messages app on mac details menu

Step 4: Hold down the Command () key on your keyboard and click on all the attachments in this pop-up menu you want to delete; they will turn gray to indicate they are selected.

how to bulk delete attachments from messages app on mac details menu items selected gray color

Step 5: With one or multiple attachments selected, right click on one of them to display a menu; click on the “Delete” button from that menu.

how to bulk delete attachments from messages app on mac details menu delete option

Step 6: In the pop-up confirmation that appears, click on the blue “Delete” button to confirm your action.

how to bulk delete attachments from messages app on mac confirm delete

Step 7: The attachments you deleted should now disappear from the “Details” menu in the Messages app, as well as from the conversation you were just in.

how to bulk delete attachments from messages app on mac finished

That’s all there is to it! You’ve just deleted a bunch of attachments in bulk from a conversation in your Messages app on your Mac. You can do this for each of the individual conversations in your Messages app, and we’d highly recommend doing so for privacy and storage space.

Will this delete the attachments from my other devices too?

This process only deletes the attachments from the one device you’re doing it on. This means that if you have multiple iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, and/or Macs tied to your iCloud account, then they’re still going to have all the attachments on them if you follow this process on your Mac.

Related: How to bulk delete attachments from your iOS Messages app

With that being said, you’ll need to delete attachments from each of your other devices individually. Fortunately, the process isn’t too painful and it’s quick and easy.


Keeping your attachments cleared every so often, even if it’s just every couple of weeks, can dramatically improve your privacy and can even help you save storage space on your computer from filling up too quickly.

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If you found this tutorial helpful, let us know in the comments below!

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  • Jack Wong

    But there is a concern… it doesn’t sync the deleted file with the iMessage on my mac.

    So I have to delete them on all the devices with iMessage, just glad that I have an iPhone and Macbook Air only.

    Same problem with the Photos, I wish I can delete from either device then it should sync… but it doesn’t.

    Which mean iMessage and Photos are like POP3 protocol…

    • Mike Colacone Saal

      if you use iCloud photo library your photos all sync together on every device when you take a photo and delete them…. go to your iCloud or photos settings on your iPhone and turn “iCloud photo library” on.

      • Jack Wong

        Thanks for that but I am not using it because I have ~9GB photos on my phone but 5GB free only…

        I might consider getting that if I there is iTunes gift card with discount.

      • Mike Colacone Saal

        eh, I pay the $0.99 per moth for 50GB of cloud storage; well worth it.

      • Jack Wong

        Yea… I guess, 1 soda per month, not going to hurt.

        I wish they have the Family storage plan… so I will go for the 200GB!

  • Mustang5Oh

    Every time I try this on my MacBook Pro it doesn’t actually delete the photos. I don’t understand why.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      I’ve noticed the feature is a little buggy, but when I restart the Messages app on my MacBook Pro, the images are gone as expected. Try that?