How to Crop A Saved Image on Mac

As a Mac user, you may often find yourself needing to crop an image you’ve saved on your computer. Whether you’re editing a photo, resizing a picture for a website, or simply trying to focus on a specific aspect of an image, cropping is an essential function that almost every user needs at some point.

In this blog post, we’ll explore several methods for cropping saved images on your Mac. We’ll also look at some common problems you might run into when trying to crop an image, and provide solutions for each. So, let’s get started!

Video Tutorial:

What’s Needed

Before we dive into the methods, let’s quickly go over what you need in order to crop an image on your Mac. Firstly, you’ll need the image file you want to crop. This may be a picture you’ve taken with your camera, or a graphic you’ve downloaded from the internet.

Secondly, you’ll need an application that supports image editing. Fortunately, your Mac comes with a built-in application called Preview that can handle this task. Preview allows you to view and edit a variety of image formats, including JPEG, PNG, and TIFF.

What requires your focus?

In order to successfully crop an image on your Mac, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, you need to decide what aspect of the image you want to keep, and what you want to cut out. This will help you determine the dimensions of the new, cropped image.

Secondly, you need to pay attention to the quality of the image. If you crop too much, you may end up with a pixelated or blurry image that is no longer usable. Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance between getting the desired dimensions and maintaining image quality.

Method 1: Using Preview

The most straightforward method for cropping an image on your Mac is to use Preview. Preview allows you to select the specific area of the image you want to keep by drawing a rectangle around it. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Open the image you want to crop in Preview by double-clicking on it.
2. Click on the "Markup" button in the toolbar (the button looks like a toolbox).
3. Click on the "Rectangular Selection" tool (the button looks like a rectangle with dots in each corner).
4. Click and drag your mouse to create a box around the area you want to keep.
5. Go to "Tools" in the top menu and select "Crop."
6. Save your new, cropped image.

– Built-in function of Preview, so no need to download or purchase additional software.
– Simple and easy to use for basic crops.
– Supports a wide range of image formats.

– Limited editing capabilities beyond basic cropping.
– Not ideal for more complex crops or edits.

Method 2: Using Photos

If you have the Photos app installed on your Mac, you can also use it to crop images. Photos allows for more advanced editing options, including the ability to adjust the brightness, contrast, and other aspects of the image. Here are the steps to crop a photo using Photos:

1. Open Photos on your Mac.
2. Select the image you want to crop.
3. Click on the "Edit" button in the top right corner.
4. Click on the "Crop" button in the toolbar (the button looks like two overlapping rectangles).
5. Drag the edges of the crop box to adjust the dimensions of the new image.
6. Click "Done" when you’re finished.
7. Save your new, cropped image.

– Provides more advanced editing options beyond basic cropping.
– Easy to use for most users.
– Allows for non-destructive editing, meaning you can undo any changes you make.

– Requires the Photos app to be installed on your Mac.
– Slower and more resource-intensive than Preview.

Method 3: Using Third-Party Applications

Finally, if you need more advanced editing features or don’t have access to Preview or Photos, you can use a third-party image editing application. There are many options available, both free and paid, that can help you crop and edit images quickly and easily.

One popular option is Adobe Photoshop, which is a professional-level image editing software that offers a vast range of tools and features for manipulating images. However, it may be more advanced than what the average user needs.

Alternatively, there are free applications such as GIMP, which offer many of the same features as Photoshop but are aimed at more casual users. Here’s how to crop an image using GIMP:

1. Open GIMP on your Mac.
2. Open the image you want to crop by selecting "File" -> "Open."
3. Click on the "Crop" tool in the toolbar (the button looks like a scalpel).
4. Drag the edges of the crop box to adjust the dimensions of the new image.
5. Click "Export" when you’re finished.
6. Save your new, cropped image.

– Provides more advanced editing options than built-in applications.
– Can handle more complex editing tasks.
– Often free or low-cost.

– May require some learning to use effectively.
– Some applications may be resource-intensive and slow down your Mac.

Why Can’t I Crop An Image?

If you’re having trouble cropping an image on your Mac, there could be several reasons why. Here are some common issues you might encounter, along with solutions to fix them:

1. The image file is in an unsupported format: If the image is in a format that Preview or your chosen third-party application doesn’t support, you won’t be able to crop it. Try converting the file to a different format using an online converter or dedicated software.

2. The file is read-only: If you’re trying to crop an image that is saved in a read-only format (such as a PDF), you won’t be able to make any changes to it. Try saving the image as a different file type to unlock it for editing.

3. The image resolution is too low: If the image has a low resolution (meaning it has a low number of pixels), you may not be able to crop it without losing too much detail. Consider finding a higher-resolution version of the image, or using an image upscaling tool to improve the quality.

Implications and Recommendations

Cropping an image on your Mac is a simple task that can be accomplished using built-in tools or third-party applications. However, it’s important to remember that cropping can affect the quality and composition of your image, so it’s important to be mindful of these factors when editing.

If you need to crop images frequently, consider investing in a dedicated image editing software that offers advanced features beyond basic cropping. Additionally, always make sure to save a copy of the original image before making any edits, in case you need to revert back to it later.


Q: How do I crop a photo into a circle shape?

A: To crop an image into a circle shape, you’ll need a third-party application that supports this feature, such as Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop, you can use the "Elliptical Marquee" tool to draw a circular selection around the area you want to keep, and then crop the image using this selection.

Q: Can I crop multiple images at once?

A: Yes, if you have a batch of images you need to crop in the same way, you can use a batch processing tool like Adobe Bridge or Apple’s Automator to automate this process. Simply create a script or action that crops the images in the desired way, and then apply it to all the images you want to edit.

Q: Will cropping an image affect its resolution?

A: Yes, cropping an image can affect its resolution if you don’t maintain the original aspect ratio. When you crop an image, you’re essentially removing a portion of the pixels from the original file. If you crop too much, you may end up with a pixelated, lower-resolution image.

Q: How do I undo a crop?

A: If you’ve made a mistake and need to undo a crop, simply select "Edit" -> "Undo" from the menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut "Command + Z." If you’ve saved the image after cropping it, however, you’ll need to revert back to the original file or manually undo the changes using the editing software.

Q: What is the best file format for cropping images?

A: The best file format for cropping images depends on your specific needs. For most purposes, JPEG is a good choice, as it provides a good balance between image quality and file size. If you need to preserve transparency or need a lossless image format, consider using PNG or TIFF.