How to Delete All Photos from Your iPhone (without losing them for good)
When you are snapping pictures of your kids, your pets, or yourself, your photo album is going to get clogged up with digital memories fast.
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 popup for any photo-taking enthusiasts.
Once this happens, you’ll be forced 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 is incredibly simple to use. If you need more than 5 GB, you can purchase it for $0.99/mo. Head over to your phone’s settings and tap on your name at the top. Tap on ‘iCloud,’ and tap ‘Manage Storage.’ From here, you can purchase more iCloud storage if you need to. Once done, plug your iPhone into its charger and connect it to Wifi.
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 be safely tucked away.
Next, go to your Settings again and tap on your name at the top to access the iCloud option. Tap on Photos and toggle it off. This will prevent iCloud from storing the photos right back to your phone after the next backup.
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 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.
How to delete all photos from 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.
To delete photos on your iPhone using the Google photos app, simply open the application and tap the 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
To delete all your photos using your iOS device can be slightly time-consuming depending on the number of photos you have and how many photos each album contains, but it’s still faster than manually deleting individual shots.
- Open the Photos app.
- 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 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 photos on your iPhone than the one previously mentioned, though slightly more fiddly.
Delete all photos on your iPhone using Moments
- Open the Photos app.
- 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 icon at the bottom.
- Repeat the steps for each individual year.
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.
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.
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 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.