Delete iPhone photos

How many photos do you have in your Camera roll on your iPhone right now? Go ahead and check. I’ll wait. If you have a lot of images on your iOS device and want to reduce the amount of storage space they take up, there is a way to do it quickly and simply.

Last week, we told you about four simple ways you can back up your photos so that, if something happens to your iPhone, you won’t lose your two-year-old daughter’s entire life in pictures.

This week, we are going to tell you how to delete your photos from your camera roll so that you can clear out some much needed space in your iPhone. If you only have 16GB of storage on your iPhone and ten of those are being used for photos, you may want to remove some or all of them from your device.

Prerequisite: back up your device

Before you follow the tutorial below, back up your photos somewhere. I can’t stress this enough. I don’t care how you do it, but back them up somewhere.

After all of your images are either saved on your desktop or laptop, or stored in the cloud you can safely delete them from your iPhone.

How to manually delete specific photos from your iPhone

If you don’t have many photos on your iPhone, or if you want select specific photos to delete, you can do so manually in the Photos app.

Step 1: Open your Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.

Step 2: Select Albums > Camera Roll.

Step 3: Tap the “Select” button in the upper right corner of the screen.

select images to delete

Step 4: Select the images you want to remove. You will see a blue check mark next to images you select.

Pro tip: you can drag your finger on the screen to select multiple images at once!

delete selected photos

Step 5: Tap the “Delete” button in the lower right corner of the screen.

How to delete all your photos at once

Back in the day of iOS 6 and earlier, there was an easy to way to delete all your photos and videos in one shot. Unfortunately, this option is not available anymore on devices running newer versions of iOS.

If you are still running an older version of iOS, you can still delete all photos at once.

If you have way too many pictures to manually delete, you can remove them all in one shot in the Settings section of your iPhone.

How to delete images from iPhone 4

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Usage.

Step 2: Select Photos & Camera.

Step 3: Swipe your finger to the left under “Camera Roll” to delete all of the images on your iPhone.

How to delete images from iPhone 1

Don’t worry. You’ve backed them up. Plus, you can still see the last up to 1,000 photos right on your iPhone through Photo Stream. So, if you are out and about and want to show someone a picture you took last week, it will be there, waiting for you in Photo Stream.

How to save space by turning My Photo Stream off

My Photo Stream allows you to save up to 1,000 photos for up to 30 days in the cloud, but these photos are also on your device. If you ever want to turn off My Photo Stream to free up room on your iPhone, it is as easy as flipping a switch.

Step 1: Go to Settings > Photos & Camera.

turn off my photo stream

Step 2: Toggle “My Photo Stream” to off. You can also toggle the “iCloud Photo Sharing” to off.

This doesn’t delete any of the images from iCloud. It simply removes them from you iPhone. I actually turn My Photo Stream on and off at least twice per month when I have to download a really big app that I don’t quite have enough room for. This lets me temporarily free up space while the app is downloading. Then, I turn My Photo Stream back on. Reloading the images to your iPhone can take a while. Be sure you are connected to Wi-Fi while the pictures reload.

Now that your iPhone has been cleaned out a bit, you have room to add more apps, movies, music, and whatever you like to store on your iOS device.

Do you regularly delete photos from your camera roll? If so, how do you go about it? Make sure to share your tips in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to empty the trash

A new feature of iOS puts deleted photos into a temporary folder where they will be automatically deleted after 30 days. This is a great way to make sure you can always recover a photo after deleting it, but it because photos stay in this folder for 30 days, it kind of defeat our goal of making space on iPhone or iPad. So we’ll have to manually empty the trash.

Step 1: Go to Photos > Albums.

Step 2: Scroll down and look for the Recently Deleted folder. Tap on it to select it.

Step 3: Tap Select in the upper right corner of the screen. You can then manually select photos one by one, or like we want to achieve here, delete them all.

delete recently deleted images

Step 4: Tap Delete All in the lower left corner of the screen. Confirm you want to delete the photos when prompted to. These photos will be gone forever.

Related tutorials:

  • Bob

    Thanks for this.

    I was wondering if you could also make an article on how to open doors and tie shoe laces?

    • David Gitman

      dude wtf
      they are just trying to help new iDevice users
      please GTFO

      • Dan

        Guys like this get their kicks off by being @ssh0les on the web

      • David Gitman

        me ? :O

      • Dan

        No, Mr Bob up there

      • shut up, asshole

    • iBanks

      What a dickface comment. Please sit in a dark room and flashbang yourself, don’t forget to record it with your iDevice so that I can like it on YouTube.

    • Qasim Bashir

      first check out the article on “how to not-to-be-a-mr-know-it-all-jerk” & if that article bores you try “how to cope with built in douche-ness without making other people wanna punch my face in”

    • Question

      Ew. Jerk. (Girl slaps you and walks away)

      • FUUU

        tits or gtfo, bitch

      • David Gitman

        polite or gtfo, bitch

    • Diego Gastón Milano

      Looks like someone is having a bad day, huh? 😉

    • Hugh Harris

      Troll much?

    • Here we go. We write a 96 words paragraph just so people like you don’t feel obliged to write the sort of comment you just wrote, yet that’s not enough to prevent that.

    • I would have liked your comment if this wasn’t iDB..

    • Magicat

      I found the article very helpful and believe me, no one has ever found me to be lacking in intelligence. Intelligence w/o manners is worthless.

    • Chris

      You are the reason nobody likes Apple fanboys, dbag. Oh youre so cool because you watch every keynote and read the user guide and wear a black turtleneck. come read my blog about getting laid if you want to learn something

  • Deep Down

    If you can’t figure out how to delete photos from a phone them you shouldn’t be using the phone.

    • Dontwannaknow

      oh really? Actually it took me one week to know how iPhone works. At first, I don’t know how to sync music, photos especially how to delete photos from it. That being said, I believe some new users might be like me.

      So this article will definitely help them and save their time from figuring out themselves. Or perhaps you are an exception which means you know before u use it.

      • Sokrates

        He’s not an exception.

    • David Gitman

      you are so wrong.

  • alltimehackers

    Keep the good work 🙂

  • szstudios

    Your friends Photostream you subscribe to also takes up space on your device. So, all those puppy pix, baby shots and food pron x the # of streams add up. Subscriber etiquette is to limit your stream to under 100 and delete old shots before adding new ones.

  • Linton Findlay

    Deleting photos saves memory, the more you know

  • Michael Wyman

    What most folks don’t realize is that every photo or video in your text messages are also taking up a huge amount of storage on your phone. Go through your text messages and edit and delete, after saving any that you want to keep to your camera roll. Also, If you back up frequently to Itunes, the back up folder quickly becomes quite large and can take up a lot of hard drive space.

    • Sokrates

      With the time losing for that I buy the a larger iPhone.

  • Barry

    I don’t use my iPhone to take pictures, lel.

  • thanks

  • Adam Bowman

    To make deleting photos from your camera roll even easier. Check out the tweak Photo Organizer Pro. It has a lot of helpful features for those looking to manage your camera roll. It can even sort your camera roll according to the file size of pics/vids.

    Highly recommended.

  • OhSixTJ

    All of the comments on this article prove that humanity is going to shit. Yay us!

  • Theo

    really helpful! I hadn´t noticed that photo stream used additional space!!

  • Amad

    Most of info above is self explanatry. As soon as someone goes into the app its obvious. Why would someone read iDB to learn how delete photos wouldn’t they look at the user guide. Unless the author is trying to say new ios users are dumb.

    • felixtaf

      Everybody is dumb when they use a device for the first time.. even its iphone or android or any other device.. You cant master a device as soon as you get it. This article looks silly for people who know these simple steps. But its helpful for new users or users who r not aware of it (I kno people who wont delete/change anything from their device worrying that it may brick their device and i dont call them dump, they are super-cautious. lol).

      • Amad

        The point i was trying make was someone needing basic info would look it up in the user guide thats what most people do when get a new device. I find it hard to believe someone would skip the manual and read on iDB. iDB is more for stuff thats not in the user guide.

      • blu

        I never read the iPhone users guide (did it even come with one?).
        Many (most?) will google how to do a specific action and if this comes up to help them then great,.

      • Magicat

        The updates seem to be making the user guide rather useless.

  • jocastro

    i dont get why you would post this, most iphone owners should know this stuff already,

  • Michael Hulet

    I actually didn’t know about the “Delete All” button in Settings.. Thanks for the tip!

  • reachsak sfsdaf

    U don’t say !!

  • Francisca

    I am extremally appreciative of this article. I am a very new iPhone user and have been trying to figure out how to do many things. I’d like to know how to view my photos and videos on the iCloud please so before I back everything up I want to see what’s in there. Thank you

  • Amanda Kollette Gregory Fletch

    I have a related question…I was told by an apple genius a couple of years ago that folders you sync from your computer DO NOT take space on your iPhone. That was actually the case, until today when I went to sync. Now, my photo folders are using 18gigs of space! Thirty minutes before I plugged it up, I had 8gigs of free space, after sync (did nothing, changed nothing, and deleted pics off the camera roll itself) I only had 7megabytes of space. My photos are using 18gigs now, and they never did before. At the most I added 2 pics to the sync folders. What happened recently?

    • Magicat

      Exactly! Something has changed! I think it has something to do with the update. Now for example when I send one image as a text I get 2! Even more recently duplicate photos are appearing on the roll. The bottom line is that after the update I did not have enough memory to be able to use my phone even after deleting all of my APs – which killed me!

  • Alec Griffin

    Ok but some of my albums are “greyed out” and I don’t get the delete option.

  • mep

    everytime i try to delete all of my photos from storage it just takes me back to the usage page. help

  • Michael Wenthold

    This DOES NOT work on my iphone 5 with iOS 6.1.2. The instructions are fine, up until I click on Delete. All it does is return to the usage screen WITHOUT deleting the photos. HELP?!!

  • amandajack

    I am trying to make space on my phone. I have deleted several apps and photos to the point that I have a minimal amount on my phone and it still says there is not enough memory to take a single photo. I have turned off all settings for photo stream on my phone but when I go to settings, usage, photos and camera, it shows space is being used by photo stream. I swipe to “delete” the memory and when I go back to photos and camera in usage, the memory still shows up under photo stream.

  • Nicola De Wet

    Hallo there i have the ios 7 operating system on my 16gb iphone 4s… This article is not helping. I want to delete photos… To get more space… Best is i only have 200 or so photos on my camera roll. Why is it saying that its taking so much space? Help??

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for the clarification! I understand most aspects of the iPhone, but syncing/deleteing and only viewing the photos I want has been an issue. I appreciate the advice!

  • Jenn Blas

    I normally plug my IPhone into my computer to get rid of my photos. I like doing it this way because a small window pops up and there is an option for removing all photos from the device once they are finished downloading to my computer. The problem I am having recently is that when I do this I still roughly have 404MB worth of photos still in my phone. And these are super old photos that I know are already on my computer. My phone won’t let me delete them in the edit section. I think that maybe I have turned something on? Any ideas?

  • Barbara Cox

    my phone does not show a ‘delete’ button when I follow the steps? thanks for helping us with this! even tho some people may have a snotty attitude bc they know so much more about tech than the rest of us.

  • Hamada KaramAllah

    i want to find and delete the photos that i deleted before because it take a big size on my phone what should i do ????

  • Susan Busley

    But … if you sync again the next day then all photos jump back onto my phone.