How to Delete Files and Images on a Chromebook

Delete Images and Other Files

You can delete images and other files on a Chromebook by right-clicking and choose Delete. You can also use the keyboard shortcut ALT + BACKSPACE.

Keyboard shortcut to delete files on Chromebook
Delete images on Chromebook

Unable to delete images and videos? Try this

Did you find photos read-only on your Chromebook? Turns out, you can go to the original file location and delete them.

I made a video to show you how to find and delete files

Browsing through Google’s official Chromebook forum where I have started contributing more these days, I noticed a people saying “unable to delete images”.

All those questions on the forum have been answered by the amazing community members, but I am taking a minute here to explain to all my friends here.

Read-only Audio, Images and Videos

The Chrome OS Files app, the built-in file manager, shows three different sections called Audio, Images, and Videos which show content from all the sources you have on your Chromebook.

Let’s take the Images section as an example. This will show all the images on your Chromebook regardless of their folder. These are read-only files. Your Chromebook might have some images in the Downloads folder and some in your Play Files folder where Android apps keep their files. You will see all of them here.

Double-click and open the picture. From there, you can click the pencil icon to edit the image. You can copy the file, use “Get info” to see additional details about the file. If you click “More actions”, you will see all the apps from your Chromebook that can do something using the image (Gmail to send it via image, LightRoom to edit it, etc). You can even right-click an image and set it as a wallpaper.

Delete is grayed out

You cannot, however, delete tor rename the image from here. The delete option will be disabled or grayed out. The reason is, this is just a “view” and not a folder. You will need to go the original folder where the image is saved in, to delete or rename the file.

The same is applicable to the Audio and Video sections too. So, next time you find an image in the Images section that you want to delete or rename, find the folder where it is saved in, and you are good.

How to Delete Images

You now know that you cannot delete files from the recent section. However, after you find out the location of the file, how do you delete it?

You can either right-click and select Delete, or use the keyboard shortcut ALT + BACKSPACE. Give this a try and let us know how it goes.

Questions? Let us know in the comments section.

15 responses to “How to Delete Files and Images on a Chromebook”

  1. Thanks for your explanation how the “Recent” folder works in Chromook. However, i still have a question: How can I locate the folder where the files are really stored?

    1. Dinsan – Bangalore, India – Digital Minimalist & Content Developer. Drinks Tea and writes Stuff (mostly about Chromebooks). My views are mostly copied from others.

      A new option is coming soon. I am planning to make a video on this. I’ll embed it here.

      1. I find this subject fascinating.

        However, perhaps this is a way of deleting image files, as:


        No explanation necessary, just the specific actions to take to remove the files from the Images short cut, link, whatever.


      2. Use CX FIle Explorer and select “Libraries” in the middle.


        Is this a Chromebook app that comes with the machine, or is it something you have to download to fix a Chromebook problem?

        I don’t know.

  • bethanydockrill

    I made some “snips” using the snip-it app (nowhere near as good as the one on my surface but don’t start ne!) I now have a TON of snipped images that I cannot delete and there is NO sign of them in downloads or anywhere else- please can you help?!

    1. Dinsan – Bangalore, India – Digital Minimalist & Content Developer. Drinks Tea and writes Stuff (mostly about Chromebooks). My views are mostly copied from others.

      Hi Beth,

      Are you using an Android app? You might want to try the Play Files folder. Click the three-dots icon and select “show hidden files”. Check if your snip-it app has a folder there.

  • Does not work. There is no location option.

  • I appreciate your video and advice.
    I get a “decoding failed” image when I click on a red icon next to photos in my recent or images files.
    Thank you for any advice you can give me!

  • i flowed the guide and tried to delete the photos but it says file cant be changed

  • It does not work at all, I am a tech nerd and I will be moving to windows as soon as possible because chromebook is not good anymore.


    If you hover your cursor on the bottom of your screen where you find what the time is, there’ll be 3 circles next to the time, click on the one furthest to the left, it should be the ‘Pinned Files’ app. Open it, then go to images, then you can find the find app location button.

    If this doesn’t work try updating your Chromebook.

    Hope I can be of help 😀

  • i tried to delete a file that was read only but when i went to the original file it still wouldnt let me delete

  • why cant they just make it delete it right from there, Evan if you go to the location of the file some of them you still cant delete! and i am getting mad about it you people need to think stuff through

  • it helped a lot.i trued it and it worked.ilove it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I can’t get file explorer to display where the folders are, I can’t delete in multiples, I heavily regret buying a chromebook and am saving for a real laptop. Total waste of money.

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