Recently, nanotechnology has provided significant advances in biomedical applications including diagnosis and therapy. In particular, nanoparticles have emerged as valuable outcomes of nanotechnology due to their unique physicochemical properties based on size, shape, and surface properties. Among them, a large amount of research has reported imaging and therapeutic applications using inorganic nanoparticles with special properties. Inorganic nanoparticles developed for imaging and therapy contain metal (Au), metal oxide (Fe3O4, WO3, WO2.9), semiconductor nanocrystal (quantum dots (QDs)), and lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs). Based on their intrinsic properties, they can generate heat, reactive oxygen species (ROS), or energy transfer, so that they can be used for both imaging and therapy. In this review, we introduce biocompatible inorganic nanoparticles for image-guided thermal and photodynamic therapy, and discuss their promising results from in vitro and in vivo studies for biomedical applications.