9 Ways to Remove a Background from a Picture

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Edited by Ben Jacklin
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So, you’re wondering how to remove the background from a picture. For years, erasing the background of an image was a complex technical process that required expensive programs and took plenty of time. Now, you can use programs like Movavi Photo Editor to remove backgrounds in seconds.

Quick summary

Best for removing an image background online: Fotor

Best choice for iPhone and iPad users: Built-in iOS feature

How to remove a background from an image with Movavi Photo Editor

When figuring out how to remove a white background from an image, it doesn’t get much simpler than Movavi Photo Editor. The powerful program works on Macs and PCs, including those running Windows 7, and is free to download and try. You’ll have many editing tools at your fingertips, including several new AI-powered solutions to standard editing processes. These AI tools let you remove or swap the background of a picture, automatically retouch an image, and much more. Follow the steps below to learn how to remove a background from your image using Movavi Photo Editor.

Step 1. Install Movavi Photo Editor

Download the installation file, open it, and follow the on-screen instructions. Launch the program once the installation is complete.

Step 2. Add an image to the program

Click Add image and choose the photo you want to work with, or just drag it into the program’s working area.

Step 3. Remove the background

Select the Background change tab from the side panel. To delete the background of an image using AI, click Automatically. Your background will be deleted automatically. Then, you can save your picture without the background or add a new one.


If you want to add a new background, you can choose your own picture by clicking the Add photo button or select one of the backgrounds available in the program. Another option is to add a colored background – just open the Color tab and choose a suitable color.

Click the Finish button to save the changes. If you want to make additional edits, hit the Edit button.

Step 4. Save the edited image

Finally, you need to save your edited photo. Click the Save button and choose one of the many popular image formats from PNG to JPEG. Then click Save.

Movavi Photo Editor

Easily enhance images and get professional-grade results in a snap.

*The trial version of Movavi Photo Editor has the following restrictions: you can save up to 10 images with added watermark, screenshots are disabled.

Movavi Photo Editor

How to remove a white background from an image on iOS

Newer Apple devices have a built-in tool that lets users save an image without the background quickly and easily. You don’t need to download apps or learn how to use complicated programs. All you need to do to clear the background of an image is ensure your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 16 or newer. Unfortunately, this free background removal feature is not available on older versions. To learn how to remove a photo background in one tap, you need to do the following:

Step 1. Select your photo

Navigate to the Photos app and choose the image you want to edit.

Step 2. Edit the photo

Press down with your finger on the subject that you want to crop out. If the photo in question was taken with Apple’s Live Photos feature enabled, pressing down with your finger might cause the live photo to play. If this happens, don’t worry. Your device is simply calculating how to erase the background of the picture. Remove your finger and wait a couple of seconds before trying again.

Upon pressing down with your finger, the subject of your photo should become enclosed in a white line and appear slightly separated from the photo's background. Check the border to ensure that your device correctly cut out the background in the photo. If it hasn’t, wait a bit longer for it to erase the background in the photo.

There is a chance that your device will not clear the background correctly. A piece of the background might be retained, or a part of the photo’s subject might also be eliminated. This might be due to problems with the photo itself. Your device will struggle to edit out the background of a blurry or unfocused photo, for example. If an image has multiple subjects or a subject that is difficult to separate from the background, your device may also struggle to crop the background out.


Step 3. Save or share the result

Once your device has erased the background in your photo, you’ll be presented with a few options. You can copy the isolated subject and paste it into a chat, document, or another app for more editing. There should also be an option to save the isolated subject as a sticker.

How to remove a photo background with the Movavi app on an iPhone

The built-in iOS background removal function is handy. If you want more control over how you get rid of the background in a picture – or the built-in function isn’t working on a tricky photo – you can try Movavi: Photo & Video Editor. It’s free to download and works on iPhones and iPads. The Movavi app has dozens of filters, effects, and templates that let you spice up your pictures in seconds. You’ll have access to the usual suite of photo-editing tools, such as cropping, rotating, blurring, and adjusting brightness, contrast, and other aspects of your photo. Then there are the new AI-powered tools, which let you perform various complex editing actions automatically. Movavi’s AI lets you blur the background of images, straighten pictures automatically, and tailor adjustment levels to make photos pop. And, of course, it can take the background out of a picture – and even swap it for something else. To remove the background from an image using the Movavi app’s AI tool, follow these instructions:

Step 1. Install the app

Go to the App Store and download the Movavi app.

Download Movavi: Photo & Video Editor

Step 2. Select your photo

In the app, tap the photo you want to edit and select Edit photo.

Step 3. Eliminate the background

Tap AI magic and select Background change from the toolbar. The AI will automatically detect the subject of your photo and isolate it from the background. If the results aren’t perfect, use the manual editing tools to tidy things up. 

The Movavi app lets you change the background in a few taps. Replace it with a solid color, or one of the dozens of cool designs in the app. For example, you could make the background of a picture white. You could also make it black – or a mixture of both!


You can also use the other AI tools to edit your photo. For example, if your image is dark and blurry, use the AI tools to brighten and sharpen it. If you want, you can experiment with the other features of the Movavi app. Try putting your new image in a collage or use it to create a video compilation showing off your photography skills.

Step 4. Share your creation

Once you’re happy with your creation, tap Save to share it on social media or download it to your device.


Removing backgrounds and editing pictures online

Fotor
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Removing backgrounds with AI-powered tools on your computer

Movavi Photo Editor

Easily editing the backgrounds out with AI on your phone

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How to take a background out of a picture on a Mac

If you have a Mac, you can take the background out of a picture without paying for any software. The Preview app, which comes with all Macs, can do this for free. Preview should be the default app to open and view PDF and JPG (JPEG) files. Open your image and get editing by following these steps:

Step 1. Select an image

Find the image you want to edit in Finder. Double-click it to open the image in Preview. If Preview doesn’t open, try right-clicking on the image and hovering over Open with. This should bring up another menu of apps. Select Preview.

Step 2. Enable the toolbar

To remove the image's background, access the Markup Toolbar. It should be at the top of the app’s display box. If it isn’t, click the Show Markup Toolbar button. It looks like the tip of a pen in a circle. 

Step 3. Remove the background

Click on the Instant Alpha button – it looks like a magic wand. Click and drag over the part of the background you want to remove from the image. Try selecting an area that is representative of the background as a whole. Preview analyzes the area you have chosen and expands the selection to include adjacent pixels with the same colors.

Take a look at the provided selection. If it covers a decent area of the background, go on to the next step. If not, deselect and repeat the previous step.


Press Delete to erase everything within the selected area. Because Preview calculates the selection based on pixel colors, there may be areas of the background that still need to be deleted. For example, your image’s background might have multiple differently colored areas that need to be individually deleted. Repeat the previous steps until you have removed all of the background of your image.

An alternative technique is to select the area of the photo you wish to keep. If you’ve done this, invert the selection by clicking the Edit menu header at the top of the screen. Then select Invert Selection. After the selection has been inverted, click Delete.

Step 4. Save or share your picture

Under the File menu header, export your image. Select the Export option. Choose the PNG option to preserve the transparent background. Alternatively, you can share your image immediately. Under the File menu header, hover over the Share option. Choose where you wish to share your photo.

Preview’s Instant Alpha tool is a quick and straightforward tool to remove the background of an image. However, it’s not the most powerful. Complex backgrounds can take a while to erase. Complex images, especially ones where the background and subject are similarly colored, may present problems. Fortunately, there is another way to erase the background of an image with Preview.

  1. With your image loaded in Preview and the Markup Toolbar showing, click on the Selection Tools menu option in the Markup Toolbar. It should look like a square composed of dashed lines. 
  2. In the dropdown menu, select the Smart Lasso tool. With the Smart Lasso tool selected, click and drag to trace a line around the edge of the subject of your image. A white line will appear as you draw. Be careful to keep the edge of your subject inside the white line at all times.
  3. Finish the selection by returning to where you started tracing. If you stop dragging at an earlier point, Preview will automatically close the border. However, it will do this by drawing a straight line from your endpoint to your start point. If your start and end points are along the same edge of the image, this is fine. 
  4. Once your border is finished, click the Edit menu header at the top of your screen. Click on the Copy option. This will copy the image to your Mac’s clipboard.
  5. Navigate to a different document, such as in Pages, and paste. This will insert your isolated subject into the new document.

How to get rid of a background in a picture online

What if you don’t have a Mac and don’t feel like downloading any additional software? In other words, can you remove a photo’s background online? Yes. Plenty of online apps and websites allow you to do this. One excellent option is Fotor. Fotor is a free web app that specializes in removing the background from photos.

Step 1. Navigate to the site

Using your internet browser of choice, go to Fotor’s site.

Go to Fotor

Step 2. Upload your image

On Fotor’s home page, you should see an option to add your image. You can drag and drop your image into the appropriate box or click the Upload Image button. Select the photo from which you want to remove the background and upload it to Fotor.

Step 3. Remove the background

Once you’ve uploaded your image, Fotor will use its algorithms to detect and erase the background. Like other apps, it works best on images with a clear subject.

Fotor allows you to add a new background to your edited image. Add colors, text, and more. Or simply save your image with a transparent background!


Step 4. Save and share your photo

Once you’re happy with your edited picture, download it to your device or share it on social media.

Movavi Photo Editor

Easily enhance images and get professional-grade results in a snap.

*The trial version of Movavi Photo Editor has the following restrictions: you can save up to 10 images with added watermark, screenshots are disabled.

Movavi Photo Editor

How to erase a background in a photo on Android

While Android devices lack the same instant background removal feature as iOS devices, plenty of apps let you erase the background of images. One good option is Adobe® Express. It’s free to download, though it contains in-app purchases. You’ll also have to create an Adobe account to use the app, or sign in to your account if you have one already. One benefit of Adobe® Express is that it syncs between all of your devices. That means you can start a project on your laptop, using the web app, and finish it on your Android phone or tablet. With powerful AI tools, you can achieve several complex editing feats in seconds. One of the tools removes the backgrounds of images. To use it, follow these instructions:

Step 1. Install the app

Download and install the app onto your chosen Android device. Make sure your device is updated to the latest version of Android.

Download Adobe® Express


Step 2. Remove the background

If you only need to clear the background from an image, scroll down on the home page until you see the Quick actions toolset. You can select a few options, including Resize image and Convert to GIF. Tap on the Remove background option. The icon should look like a landscape. If it’s not there, try tapping More to see all the available options.

Step 3. Select the photo

Choose which photo you want to edit. The AI tool should then get to work removing the photo's background.

Step 4. Save and share the photo

Once you’re happy with the final result, download the photo to your device or share it immediately.

How to delete the background of an image using Pages

Mac users have plenty of options to remove the background from an image. We’ve discussed Preview, but what about Pages? Apple’s signature word processor might not seem the best place to remove a photo’s background, but don’t rule it out. It might not be able to handle particularly complex images, but if you’re wondering how to remove an image background, Pages is a good choice.

Step 1. Open the app

Open the Pages application and create a new document. Your Mac should have come with Pages installed already. If it’s not there, download it from the Mac App Store. If you’ve already started a Pages document, skip this step.

Step 2. Import your image

Add the image you want to edit to your Pages document. You can do this in several different ways:

  • Copy the image and then paste it into your document.

  • Click on the Media button in the toolbar and select Photos. Then choose the photo you wish to edit.

  • Drag the image from Finder into your document.

  • Select Insert in the menu at the top of your screen. Hover over the Insert from iPhone option.

Step 3. Edit the image

Once your image is successfully in place, click on it to select it. Next, open the Format sidebar if it’s not open already. You can do this by clicking on the paintbrush icon in the top left of the Pages application window. One of the available tabs is labeled Image. Click on that to open the image editing tools.

Automatic removal

Click on the Remove Background option. At this point, Pages will remove the background automatically if it is able to do so. If not, proceed to the following steps.


Manual removal

Click and drag on areas to remove them. Like Preview, Pages calculates what pixels to remove based on color similarity. As your selection grows, Pages automatically removes pixels that are similar to the ones you have selected. For the best results, only choose similar colors. You can perform the selection action multiple times to remove numerous different colors.

To remove all instances of a single color, hold the Option button down when you click and drag.

Pages lets you add color back to an image. Hold the Shift button down while clicking and dragging over an area that lacks color.

If you’re unhappy with the results, click the Reset button. This will restore the image to its original state.

Step 4. Save the picture

Once you’re satisfied with the edited image, click on Done, then File > Save to export your edits.

How to cut out a background in a photo using Files on iOS

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can remove the background from a photo without opening it. You don’t need any fancy apps or editing experience, either. Follow these instructions:

Step 1. Find your image

Go to the Files app and find the image you want to edit. If you’ve taken the photo with your phone, it might not immediately appear in your files. You can add it to files in the Photos app.

Step 2. Erase the background

Tap and hold on the image you want to edit. This will bring up a list of possible actions. Select the Quick Actions option.

Select the Remove Background option. This will result in the creation of a new file, which should appear next to the original image. The new file is your original image with the background removed.


Step 3. Share the picture

You don’t have to save your edited image manually. It’s already been saved to Files. If you want to share it, tap and hold on the file until the menu pops up, then select Share. You can import the image into an editing app if you want to perform further edits.

Movavi Photo Editor

Easily enhance images and get professional-grade results in a snap.

*The trial version of Movavi Photo Editor has the following restrictions: you can save up to 10 images with added watermark, screenshots are disabled.

Movavi Photo Editor

How to edit out a background with Safari

Apple’s built-in iOS background remover works on Safari in the same way as on the Photos app. However, you can isolate the subject of an image without saving it to your device. Follow these steps:

Step 1. Locate the image

Find the image you want to edit. That might be through a search engine, for example, or on social media. Once you’ve found your image, you don’t need to save it. Just click on it to bring it up to full size. If you’re scrolling through social media or the Images section of search results, tapping on one of the available images will be sufficient.

Step 2. Remove the background

Tap on the subject of the image and hold. You should see the same effect as when you perform this action in the Photos app. A wave should pass over the subject, which will then be outlined and separated slightly from the background. If this doesn’t work, try waiting a few seconds and trying again. Then, select Copy Subject.

Step 3. Share the result

Copy the isolated subject to then paste it with no background in a document, chat, or image-editing program. You can also save the isolated subject as a sticker. This option is excellent for building a collection of hilarious stickers to send to your friends! It’s also great for taking a subject from a logo or from a PNG.

Tips on choosing a program to crop a background out

  • Your needs. If you just want to remove the background of an image, there’s no need to bother with complex, expensive software. However, if you plan on making extensive edits, simple background removal apps might be a waste of time.
  • Your experience. Beginners could find more complex software tricky to learn. Unless you want to put in the time learning the ins and outs of professional editing apps, start with a more straightforward program.
  • Your budget. Don’t spend more than you can afford. There are plenty of free options for removing the background from an image.

Summary

Gone are the days when removing the background from an image required complex skills and hours of elbow grease. Today, there are plenty of options, and no single “best” one. Carefully consider your specific needs and choose the best solution for you.

Movavi Photo Editor

Easily enhance images and get professional-grade results in a snap.

*The trial version of Movavi Photo Editor has the following restrictions: you can save up to 10 images with added watermark, screenshots are disabled.

Movavi Photo Editor

Frequently asked questions

How do I remove a background from an image?

How do I make the background of a picture transparent?

What is the best background remover?

How do I remove the background of a picture on an iPhone?

How do I make a PNG background transparent?

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