Macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is a highly conserved catabolic pathway, which mediates the delivery of unwanted cytoplasmic structures and organelles to lysosomes for degradation. In numerous situations, autophagy is highly selective and exclusively targets specific intracellular components. Selective types of autophagy are a central element of our cell-autonomous innate immunity as they can mediate the turnover of viruses or bacteria, that gain access to the cytoplasm of the cell. Selective autophagy also modulates other aspects of our immunity by turning over specific immunoregulators. Throughout evolution, however, the continuous interaction between this fundamental cellular pathway and pathogens has led several pathogens to develop exquisite mechanisms to inhibit or subvert selective types of autophagy, to promote their intracellular multiplication. This Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster provides an overview of the selective autophagy of both pathogens, known as xenophagy, and of immunoregulators, and highlights a few archetypal examples that illustrate molecular strategies developed by viruses and bacteria to manipulate selective autophagy for their own benefit.