I need to clear/remove image (or file) field from specific node.
I have before:

I want to get after code execution for the field:

What code should I use to properly clear image (file) field data?

  • why it's necessary to remove the image programmatically? You can remove it by clicking "Remove" button. Can you provide more information because it's possible to do it in multiple ways?
    – Ales
    Sep 12, 2020 at 21:36
  • My specific case is repairing site with many thousands nodes with broken images within several groups of nodes. I can filter these nodes but it's too tedious to click Remove for each such node.
    – Dimetry
    Sep 13, 2020 at 7:52
  • I think in this case would better to use hook_update and then go through all the nodes, check if the node field image source exists (file_exists (URL)), if doesn't exist you will have to remove the file entity itself + data of the field which is used on the node.
    – Ales
    Sep 13, 2020 at 8:20

3 Answers 3


I assume that your field accepts only one file at a time. This is the code you need to use:

// Replace this with the ID of the node you want to update.
$node_id = 123;

/** @var \Drupal\node\NodeInterface $node */
$node = \Drupal\node\Entity\Node::load($node_id);

// Step 1: remove the file. This will actually delete the file from the
// filesystem, so in case you want to keep it just remove the next two
// lines.
/** @var \Drupal\file\FileInterface $file */
$file = $node->get('field_NAME_OF_YOUR_FIELD')->entity;

// Step 2: remove the field data.
// The 0 in this case is the index of the item you want to remove. It simply
// means the first value in that field needs to be removed.
// We have to save the changes to the node.

Just to offer an alternate solution

$nid = 123;

// Load the node (EDIT:) while checking if it exists
if(!$node = \Drupal::service('entity_type.manager')
  ->load($nid)) {
  // No results for the $nid, bail out early

// EDIT: To make sure there's a value on the field
if(!$node->hasField('field_name') || $node->get('field_name')->isEmpty(){

// Grab the file entity and make it temporary.
// Deletion will be handled by cron.
$file = $node->get('field_name')
  ->set('status', 0)

// Unset the value on the file ref field and save
$node->set('field_name', '')

A solution for multiple files (also good for avoiding errors when the field is empty):

$nid = 123;

$node = \Drupal\node\Entity\Node::load($nid);

// Grab the file entities and make them temporary.
// Deletion should be handled by cron.
$items = $node->get('field_NAME_OF_YOUR_FIELD');
foreach ($items as $item) {
  $file = $item->entity;
  $file->set('status', 0);

// Unset the values on the file ref field and save
$node->set('field_NAME_OF_YOUR_FIELD', []);

This code is based on @Mrweiner great answer.

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