If your iPhone is running out of space, one of the quickest ways of freeing up storage is to delete photos from your iPhone – and this is how you do it…
If you’re running an iPhone with limited storage, you’ll inevitably have to free up space at some point. Anything below 64GB will cause problems for users after 12 months or so of usage. If you’re in this camp, like a lot of people, it’s TIME to have a spring clean. And that means deleting all your photos and videos which are two of the biggest storage drains on your phone.
Delete Photos From iPhone
- Open Photos App
- Go To Albums
- Then All Photos
- Next, Tap Select
- Tap or Drag To Select Photos
- And, Finally, Tap The Trash Icon To Delete
However, you don’t want to lose all your photos for good, so you will first need to back them up (before you delete them). I’ve included a range of options below to do this, including iCloud and one for backing up to external hard drives, so pick one of these options and do this before you delete anything…
Before You Delete Your iPhone’s Photos, Back Them Up!
You want to remove the photos from your iPhone, but you don’t want them to be lost forever. For this reason, you need to back them up someplace – either your PC, Mac, or an external storage drive.
- Backing Up To PC – Take your iPhone and connect it to your PC, the Photos app should automatically load. If it doesn’t, open it yourself. Next, click the IMPORT option (it’s in the top right corner) and begin moving all your photos over to your PC
- Backing Up To Mac – Connect the iPhone to your Mac with a USB cable, the Photos App will automatically open. From here go to File in the toolbar and select Import. Next, select ALL your photos and hit REVIEW FOR IMPORT. Review For Import will make sure you don’t have any duplicates. Once this process is complete, begin the import.
Backing Up Photos With iCloud
Another option, if you’re an iCloud subscriber, is to automatically set your photos to upload to your iCloud account. To do this, you’ll (A) need a premium iCloud account with enough storage, and (B) the right options set up in iCloud to ensure the process works correctly. This is how you do it:
STEP ONE: Setting Up iCloud on iPhone
- Go To Settings on Your iPhone
- Select iCloud > Click Photos
- Toggle iCloud Photos ON
- Select OPTIMIZE iPHONE STORAGE
STEP TWO: Setting Up iCloud on PC/Mac
- First, Make Sure You’ve Downloaded iCloud – Either For Mac or Windows
- Go To System Preferences (Mac), Select iCloud & Sign In
- Tap Options next to Photos
- Click The Box Next to MY PHOTO STREAM
- Done – You’re All Set Up!
How To Delete ALL Photos From iPhone (And Keep iCloud Files Intact)
OK, you’ve backed everything up and set-up iCloud, so that all your new pictures will be automatically saved to the cloud. But you can’t just go about deleting everything from your iPhone because it is now linked to iCloud, and deleting things on your iPhone will remove them from iCloud too.
Why Apple does this, I have no idea. You’d think there’d be an option to simply remove ALL photos from iPhone once they’re backed up to iCloud, but alas there is not – so you need to get creative. And this is perhaps the easiest way to do this:
- Go Into Settings on iPhone & Turn Off iCloud
- Next, Go To Photos & Select ALL The Photos You Want To Delete
This method will ensure that all your photos stored on iCloud are NOT deleted when you remove them from your iPhone. If you delete and forget to turn off iCloud on your iPhone, you will delete your photos for good, so PLEASE REMEMBER TO SWITCH OFF iCLOUD before you delete anything.
Back-Up iPhone Photos To External Hard Drive – The Simplest Method
If you don’t want to use iCloud to back up your iPhone’s photos and videos, another great option is using an external hard drive. This method ensures that ALL your iPhone’s data remains safely stored on a physical device that you can keep tabs on at all times. It’s also very simple to do, providing you have an external hard drive.
You can pick up 1TB external hard drives from Amazon for next to nothing these days (I use this one, and it’s been great over the years). An external hard drive will let you back up EVERYTHING as well – not just photos. You can do videos as well which will be important for many users. And if you’re worried about losing images or video on your PC, check out our guide on how to find and extract any lost data on your PC and/or Mac.
With an external hard drive, you don’t need to worry about iCloud or syncing – you can just back-up once a month and delete everything from your phone. For many, this method will be infinitely more preferable than using iCloud which has a tendency to be a little fiddly at the best of times!
How To Back Up iPhone Photos & Video To External Hard Drive
- Connect The External Hard Drive To Your Mac
- Connect iPhone via USB to Your Mac
- On Your Mac, Use Cmd + Space shortcut and Open Image Capture
- Once Image Capture Opens, Locate Your iPhone in The Menu and Click On It
- This Will Show You ALL The Images on Your iPhone
- Use Cmd + A To Select All
- Now, Click Drop Down Menu & Select OTHER (You Don’t Want The Images Going Into Pictures Folder)
- Select The External Hard Drive
- Click Import
Now You Can Delete All Photos From iPhone
OK, you’re all backed up. Now you can delete EVERYTHING from your Photos app on your iPhone. Follow these steps to delete all photos from your iPhone:
How To Get Photos Off iPhone – Individual Images or Batches of Images
If you want to get photos off your iPhone, but you don’t want to delete them, you have a few options. The easiest way is to simply share them, either via email or AirDrop (if you have a Mac computer). Let’s look at these two options individually first, before we explore other options.
- Sharing Photos From iPhone – If you want to share an individual image or a batch of images with someone, the easiest way is to use the share function inside Apple’s Photos app. All you have to do is find the image/images you want to share and tap the share icon (see screenshot below for what this icon looks like). Once you do this, a bunch of options will appear through which you can share the photo, including email, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Mail.
- Sharing Photos via AirDrop – Similarly, if you want to move a photo from your iPhone to your Mac computer for editing, do the same as above, using the share icon, and select AirDrop. Once selected, a notification will sound on your Mac, click this, and the image (or images) will be shared wirelessly from your iPhone to your Mac.
If you have a Windows PC, you can use iTunes to get photos off your iPhone and onto your PC. Alternatively, you can use the above-listed methods and select Mail to send the pictures, via email, to your email on your desktop or laptop PC.
Interested in photo security? Be sure to check out Google Pixel’s Locked Folder feature!
Want to make GIFs? Here’s how to make a GIF on iPhone! And here’s how to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone! Plus be sure to check out how to delete albums from iPhone! Plus here’s How To Download Photos From An iPhone To A PC!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.