5 Effective Ways to Delete an Object from S3 Using Boto3 in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: You’re working with AWS S3 and you need to delete an object from a bucket using Python. Your input is the S3 bucket name and the object key you wish to delete. The desired output is the successful removal of the object from the bucket without affecting any other data.

Method 1: Deleting Object using Client

The delete_object method from the Boto3 client allows for direct deletion of an S3 object. By specifying the bucket name and the object’s key, you can perform a single operation to remove the object.

Here’s an example:

import boto3

s3_client = boto3.client('s3')
response = s3_client.delete_object(Bucket='my-bucket', Key='my-object.txt')


Output: Confirmation metadata of the deletion process, such as the request ID.

This approach uses the low-level client interface provided by Boto3, offering granular control over S3 operations. By calling delete_object(), the object specified by ‘Key’ in the ‘Bucket’ will be deleted. The print statement will show the response from AWS, indicating the status of the operation.

Method 2: Deleting Object using Resource

Using Boto3 resource interface adds an abstraction layer, making it easier to interact with AWS services. It enables object-oriented deletion which is more intuitive than direct client calls.

Here’s an example:

import boto3

s3_resource = boto3.resource('s3')
obj = s3_resource.Object('my-bucket', 'my-object.txt')
response = obj.delete()


Output: Confirmation metadata of the deletion process, including the HTTP status code.

The Boto3 resource interface is used here to facilitate object deletion in a more readable manner. The Object method creates a reference to the S3 object, and the delete() method removes it. Similar to method 1, the response is outputted to show the action’s result.

Method 3: Batch Deletion using Client

For deleting multiple objects at once, you can use the delete_objects method from the client interface to send a batch deletion request to S3.

Here’s an example:

import boto3

s3_client = boto3.client('s3')
response = s3_client.delete_objects(
        'Objects': [
            {'Key': 'my-object1.txt'},
            {'Key': 'my-object2.txt'},
            # More objects can be added here


Output: Confirmation metadata for each object deleted, including the version information if applicable.

This code snippet demonstrates how to delete multiple objects simultaneously by specifying each object’s key. It provides a scalable solution for removing numerous files efficiently, which is especially useful when cleaning up or reorganizing resources on S3.

Method 4: Deleting with Exception Handling

Mitigating the risk of runtime errors, this approach couples the deletion process with exception handling to gracefully manage failures – such as the specified object not existing.

Here’s an example:

import boto3
from botocore.exceptions import ClientError

s3_client = boto3.client('s3')
    response = s3_client.delete_object(Bucket='my-bucket', Key='nonexistent-object.txt')
    print("Object deleted successfully.")
except ClientError as e:
    print(f"Error occurred: {e.response['Error']['Message']}")

Output: Error message detailing what went wrong, in case the object does not exist or any other error happens.

Exception handling protects your code from crashes. By using a try-except block, you can attempt to delete an object and handle the possible ClientError exception by printing a meaningful message instead of having the program stop abruptly.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Lambda Function Deletion

Leverage AWS Lambda to delete an object with a concise, serverless function. This method is suitable for automation and integrating into larger AWS-based workflows.

Here’s an example:

import boto3

lambda_handler = lambda event, context: boto3.client('s3').delete_object(Bucket=event['bucket'], Key=event['key'])

Output: Lambda function’s response will have metadata regarding the deletion, available in the Lambda logs or the invoking application.

This compact Lambda function defines a serverless handler that accepts an event containing ‘bucket’ and ‘key’ and uses them to call delete_object(). It demonstrates how to integrate S3 deletion in AWS’s serverless architecture seamlessly.


  • Method 1: Direct Client Deletion. High precision and control. Less abstract than other methods.
  • Method 2: Resource-based Deletion. More intuitive syntax. Slightly higher level of abstraction may reduce control for complex needs.
  • Method 3: Batch Client Deletion. Best for multiple deletions. The complexity increases with error handling for individual objects.
  • Method 4: Deletion with Exception Handling. Offers robustness. Adds code complexity for error scenarios.
  • Bonus Method 5: Lambda Function Deletion. Perfect for automation and serverless patterns. Requires knowledge of AWS Lambda.