I have a entity reference field that holds relations to multiple nodes. I have to remove one item programmatically based on nid. Normally to remove item I've just set it to null like this:

$wrapper->field_foobar = NULL;

But entity reference is a list, so I have to know delta for element to do something like this:

$wrapper->field_foobar[$delta] = NULL;

So I have content_id and target_id what should I do to find delta? I know it's possible to do it with simple SQL query, but I gues there should be some way to do that with entity metadata .

Any sugestions?

I'm on Drupal 7 of course.

2 Answers 2


Use unset instead, followed by a save:


To find the delta, you can iterate over the collection and look for the node id:

foreach($wrapper->field_foobar as $delta => $item)  {
  if ($item->nid->value() == $my_id) {
  • 1
    I think it'll be target_id for an entity reference field ($field->target_id->value())
    – Clive
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 0:32
  • It works! $field->nid->value() is correct. Tyler You saved my day. Thanks.
    – rolkos
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 11:52
  • Thank you for clarifying. In summary, when iterating over an entity reference field on a wrapped object, each iteration's object will also be a fully wrapped entity. Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 15:31
  • Instead of calling the unset() you may use $wrapper->field_foobar[$delta] = array();
    – mchar
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 16:47
  • 1
    Entity metadata wrappers also have the offsetUnset($delta) method. Thus: $wrapper->field_foobar->offsetUnset($delta);
    – htoip
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 20:32

You could create a function for it, like this:

function remove_entity_reference_from_field(&$field, $reference_id){
  $field = array_filter($field, function($value) use ($reference_id) {
    return ($value['target_id'] != $entity_id);


$node = node_load(98765);
remove_entity_reference_from_field($node->field_foobar[LANGUAGE_NONE], 12345);

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