How to Delete All Photos from Your iPhone (Without Losing Them for Good)
Since Apple phones only come with a set amount of internal storage that can’t be expanded, you may run out of storage space quickly. At some point, you may receive the dreaded Storage Almost Full alert, which is an all-too-familiar pop-up for any photo-taking enthusiasts.
Once this happens, you’ll need to purchase a new model or get rid of apps and pictures. If you don’t, you can’t update your phone, add apps, and eventually, you’ll even have issues receiving text messages.
If you go into your iPhone’s settings and navigate to Usage, chances are you will see that Photos and Camera will hold one of the top spots in your phone’s storage. From here, you have a couple of choices: go through manually and delete unwanted photos or delete them all and start again.
The former is a boring and tedious process, while the latter is actually very simple – and if you backup your phone first, you do not have to worry about losing the files for good.
Back-Up Your Photos and Videos
Before removing your photos from your phone, you probably want to store them all somewhere safe where you can still access them right from your phone. If you’ve already done this, or you don’t care to save everything, skip ahead.
Back-Up Using iCloud
Apple gives you 5 GB of free iCloud Storage space, and it is incredibly simple to use. If you need more than 5 GB, you can purchase it for $0.99/mo.
Here is how to save your photos in the iCloud:
- Plug your phone into its charger and connect it to a stable Wi-Fi connection.
- Head over to your phone’s settings and tap on your name at the top.
- Tap on iCloud.
- Scroll down and tap on iCloud Backup.
- Tap on Back Up Now.
- After the backup is complete, go back to the iCloud page, and tap on Photos.
- Turn iCloud Photos Off.
Performing the last two steps listed above ensures that when you delete the photos from your phone, they are not also deleted from your iCloud.
To check that your photos are safely located in the iCloud, visit the iCloud website, log in with your Apple ID, and click on Photos. They should all appear safely in your iCloud.
Back-Up Using Google Photos
There are a lot of third-party backup services for photos, but the most popular is Google Photos. It’s versatile and free, but it also lets you view and interact with your photos and videos right from your phone. All you need is the app, a wifi connection, and a Gmail account.
Unfortunately, if your phone is out of storage and unable to download the app, you will need to delete something else to add it. You’ll need about 200Mb of free space to add the app.
- Download the app and sign-in to your Gmail account.
- Once you’ve completed the setup process, the download will begin automatically. Tap on the profile icon in the upper right-hand corner to check your progress. It will count down how many photos are left to store.
Now that you are all backed up, here is how to delete all photos from your iPhone.
Turn Off iCloud Photo Sync
Before we start deleting photos, it’s important that you turn off the photo sync option in your phone’s Settings. If you neglect to follow these steps, your photos could be deleted from the iCloud.
- Open Settings on your iPhone and tap on your name at the top.
- Tap iCloud.
- Tap Photos.
- Toggle the switch Off so it turns grey.
Now that the sync is turned off, it’s safe to delete the photos on your iPhone. We’ll show you how to do that in this next section.
How to Delete All Photos from iPhone
Now that we’ve saved all of your important photos, let’s delete them from your iPhone.
Delete All Photos using Google Photos
If you chose Google Photos as your backup option, there’s actually a button right inside of the app that lets you delete all photos that have been backed up to the service.
- Open the application and tap the profile icon in the upper right-hand corner.
- Now, you can tap the option to delete the photos that have been backed up. Assuming you backed all of your photos up, this would mean it will delete all of your photos.
Photos iOS app- iOS 14 or Newer
If you’ve updated your iPhone to one of the newer software versions, you’ll need to follow the steps outlined in this section. Do keep in mind that the Recents folder will not have the Select All option.
Here’s how to quickly delete all of the photos on your iPhone quickly:
- Open the Photos app on your iPhone and select Albums at the bottom of the page.
- Tap on one of the albums that contain photos you’d like to delete.
- Tap on Select in the upper right-hand corner.
- Tap Select All in the upper left-hand corner.
- Tap on the trash can icon in the lower right-hand corner. Then, confirm that you’d like to delete all of the photos in the album.
You will need to follow the same steps for each album on your iPhone to delete all photos.
Photos iOS app – iOS 13 or Older
To delete all your photos using your iOS device can be slightly time-consuming, depending on the number of images you have and how many photos each album contains, but it’s still faster than manually deleting individual shots.
- Open the Photos app and tap on the album that you want to delete your photos from.
- In the upper right-hand corner, tap on Select.
- In the upper left-hand corner tap Select All.
- Tap the trash can icon at the bottom when you are finished selecting all of the photos for deletion. Then, tap Delete.
Go through each album on your phone and follow these steps to delete your photos. This is a much faster way to delete all pictures on your iPhone than the one previously mentioned, though slightly more fiddly.
Delete all Photos on Your iPhone using Moments
- Open the Photos app and tap Photos at the bottom.
- At the top, tap Years and then select the year of choice. You will then be presented with a collage of collections of pictures that are called Moments.
- Tap Select in the upper right-hand corner and you will now be able to select as many moments as you like.
- Press the trash can icon at the bottom.
- Repeat the steps for each individual year.
Delete all Photos on Your iPhone using Your Mac
Thanks to Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem, deleting all photos from your iPhone using your Mac is the easiest and quickest way to get rid of them.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac using your USB cable.
- Open the Image Capture application on your Mac.
- A window should now appear that shows all of the photos on your iPhone.
- In the window, hit Command + A and all your pictures should now be highlighted.
- Press the Delete button (circle with a line through it), and then press delete once again when the prompt appears.
Delete Your Deleted Photos
Following the steps above won’t free up more storage space on your device alone. Apple will actually keep everything in a deleted folder for 30 days. This means you’ll have to manually delete everything in this folder too.
- Open the iOS Photos app and scroll all the way to the bottom where you can tap on Recently Deleted. Then, tap Delete All in the lower left-hand corner.
Now, you can travel back to your phone’s settings and check on the storage. You should see quite a bit freed up. Keep in mind; videos take up the most storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Deleting all of your photos can seem overwhelming. We have some more answers to your questions below!
If I accidentally deleted all of my photos, how can I get them back?
If you clicked delete and regretted it, the first thing you’ll want to do is locate the Recently Deleted folder on your iPhone. If your photos are there, simply select the option to restore them.
If they aren’t there, check your iCloud account and Google photos. Hopefully, there was a backup copy on a cloud service or another device; otherwise, you won’t be able to get them back.
Can I permanently delete my photos?
Yes. Once you clean out your Recently Deleted folder, all of the images will be permanently deleted from your device. If you want the photos gone forever, without anyone having access to even a recovery option, you’ll have some digging to do, though.
You’ll need to check any photo storage apps on your phone. This includes iCloud photos (which you can delete all of using a similar method as the ones above), Google Photos, Dropbox, Shutterfly, your social media apps, and any other cloud-based service you’ve downloaded on your iPhone.
Assuming you’ve cleared the images from your device, iCloud, and other apps, there is no way to recover them.
Can I transfer my iPhone photos to a PC?
Yes. Using your charging cable, plug the USB into the computer to connect your phone. A pop-up should appear asking if you’d like to download your photos onto your computer. Another pop-up will appear on your phone asking if you trust the computer; tap Trust.
The download should start immediately and stop automatically when finished. You can also download iTunes onto your PC and create an entire backup of your phone, including the pictures and videos.