Unlocking the Secret to Deleting Untagged Docker Images: Tips and Tricks Inside!

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Importance of Deleting Untagged Docker Images
  3. Finding Untagged Docker Images
  4. Manually Deleting Untagged Docker Images
  5. Automated Tools for Deleting Untagged Docker Images
  6. Best Practices for Deleting Untagged Docker Images
  7. Conclusion



Docker is a popular platform for creating and distributing containerized applications. The platform provides a streamlined way to package and deploy applications across different environments. Docker images are digital artifacts that contain everything necessary to run an application, including code, libraries, and system tools. These images can be tagged with version numbers to easily identify different versions of an application.

However, over time, the number of untagged Docker images can accumulate, taking up valuable storage space. Deleting these images can be challenging, especially when they are not properly tagged or named.

In this article, we will explore some tips and tricks for deleting untagged Docker images. We will discuss how to identify untagged images, using filters to locate them, and finally, delete them. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how to manage Docker images effectively and optimize storage space.

Importance of Deleting Untagged Docker Images

When working with Docker, it's common to create and use many images. However, failing to delete unused and untagged images can lead to severe consequences like hogging valuable resources, eating up storage space and slowing down the system. Here are some reasons why you should make it a regular practice to delete untagged Docker images:

  • Reduce storage requirements: Each Docker image carries a significant amount of data, and this can accumulate over time, leading to a massive storage space requirement. By deleting untagged images, you free up valuable storage space so that you can continue working without interruption.

  • Improve system performance: Every image that you create or run takes up system resources. Over time, as more and more images accumulate, the overall system performance can start to suffer, leading to slow processing times, crashes, and system instability. Deleting untagged images helps reduce clutter and improve the overall performance of the system.

  • Enhance security: Unused and untagged images can contain vulnerabilities, malware, bugs, and other security threats. Hackers might exploit these weak links to infiltrate the system and launch attacks like ransomware or steal sensitive data. Regularly deleting untagged images helps eliminate these risks and enhances the security of the system.

Overall, deleting untagged Docker images is an essential task that should form part of every developer's routine. By keeping only the necessary images and deleting the rest, the application runs faster, the system is more secure, and the storage requirements are reduced.

Finding Untagged Docker Images

Sometimes, you may find that your Docker environment is cluttered with untagged images that you no longer need. These images can take up significant space on your disk and slow down your Docker engine. To find untagged Docker images, you can use the following command:

docker images --quiet --filter "dangling=true"

This command will list all images that have no tag or repository associated with them. The --quiet flag tells Docker to only output the image ID, while the --filter "dangling=true" flag filters the output to only show untagged images.

You can also use the following command to see a list of all images, including untagged ones:

docker images --all

This command will output a list of all images, including their tags and sizes. You can then manually identify which images are untagged and delete them using the docker rmi command.

By regularly deleting untagged images, you can keep your Docker environment organized and running smoothly.

Manually Deleting Untagged Docker Images


Sometimes, you may find that your Docker images are becoming cluttered with unused or old tagged/untagged images. This can be frustrating, as it can take up valuable space on your system and make it difficult to work with Docker effectively.

One solution to this issue is to manually delete untagged images from your Docker repository. This process can seem complicated at first, but there are a few simple steps you can follow to make it easier:

  1. First, identify the untagged images you want to delete. You can do this by running the following command in your terminal:

    docker images -f dangling=true

    This will list all the images that are not currently being used by any running container.

  2. Once you've identified the untagged images you want to delete, you can remove them using the following command:

    docker rmi $(docker images -qf dangling=true)

    This will remove all the untagged images listed in the previous command.

  3. Finally, you can confirm that the untagged images have been successfully deleted by running the docker images command again.

By following these steps, you can manually delete untagged Docker images from your system, freeing up space and making it easier to work with Docker repositories.

Automated Tools for Deleting Untagged Docker Images

Manually deleting Docker images can be tedious, especially when you have a large number of untagged images cluttering up your system. Fortunately, there are several automated tools available that can help you easily delete untagged Docker images. Here are a few popular options:

1. Docker Image Cleaner: This tool is a simple and easy-to-use command-line utility for cleaning up Docker images. It allows you to specify which images to remove based on various criteria, including age, size, and tag status. You can also schedule the cleanup process to run automatically at regular intervals.

2. Docker Garbage Collector: This tool is a built-in feature of Docker that automatically removes unused images, volumes, and containers. It runs by default once a week, but you can adjust the frequency and other settings to suit your needs.

3. Docker Compose: If you're using Docker Compose to manage your containers and images, you can take advantage of its built-in cleanup feature. Simply use the "docker-compose down" command with the "–rmi" option to remove all untagged images associated with your project.

4. Jenkins Docker Plugin: If you're using Jenkins to automate your Docker builds and deployments, you can use the Docker plugin to clean up untagged images after each deployment. The plugin includes a "prune" option that removes all dangling images and containers.

Using automated tools like these can save you time and effort, and help keep your Docker environment clean and organized. Choose the tool that works best for your needs, and enjoy a more streamlined Docker experience.

Best Practices for Deleting Untagged Docker Images

When it comes to working with Docker images, it's important to make sure that you're deleting untagged images to free up disk space and improve performance. Here are some best practices for efficiently deleting untagged Docker images:

  1. Use the Docker CLI command: You can use the docker rmi command to delete untagged images. This command deletes one or more images by their image ID or tag. For untagged images, you can use the $(docker images -f "dangling=true" -q) command to delete them all at once.

  2. Keep your images organized: Tag your images with proper names and versions so that you can easily identify them. It's also a good practice to remove any unused images regularly.

  3. Use a registry: Storing your images in a registry like Docker Hub or AWS ECR allows you to delete local images without worrying about losing them permanently. You can always pull the images from the registry when you need them again.

  4. Consider automating the cleanup process: You can use tools like Jenkins or Travis CI to automate the deletion of untagged images based on certain conditions like age, size, or usage.

By following these best practices, you can effectively manage your Docker images and ensure that your system is running at optimal performance. Remember to regularly review and clean up your Docker images to avoid running out of disk space and encountering issues with your applications.


In , deleting untagged Docker images can seem like a daunting task at first, but with the right tips and tricks, it can be a breeze. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Untagged images can accumulate quickly and take up valuable disk space. Regularly cleaning them up can help ensure that your system runs smoothly and efficiently.
  • You can use the docker images command to view all images on your system, including untagged ones.
  • To delete untagged images, you can use the docker rmi $(docker images -f "dangling=true" -q) command. This will remove all images with no tags.
  • Be careful when deleting images, as this action cannot be undone. Make sure you only delete images that you no longer need.
  • You can also use the docker system prune command to clean up unused data (including untagged images) and free up even more space.

By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your Docker system running smoothly and ensure that you have enough disk space for your development needs. Happy coding!

As a developer, I have experience in full-stack web application development, and I'm passionate about utilizing innovative design strategies and cutting-edge technologies to develop distributed web applications and services. My areas of interest extend to IoT, Blockchain, Cloud, and Virtualization technologies, and I have a proficiency in building efficient Cloud Native Big Data applications. Throughout my academic projects and industry experiences, I have worked with various programming languages such as Go, Python, Ruby, and Elixir/Erlang. My diverse skillset allows me to approach problems from different angles and implement effective solutions. Above all, I value the opportunity to learn and grow in a dynamic environment. I believe that the eagerness to learn is crucial in developing oneself, and I strive to work with the best in order to bring out the best in myself.
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