iCloud is Apple’s cloud service that allows users to store photos, videos, documents and more. It is versatile and simple to use, while providing the confidence that your most important data is protected and safe. As you probably know, iCloud offers 5GB of free storage to all users. While it might seem like a lot at first, it may not actually be enough to store all of your photos.
You can purchase more iCloud storage above the 5GB that comes with iCloud for free, so as an alternative to deleting photos you can upgrade your iCloud service level.
Unlike Google Photos, iCloud stores photos in the highest quality full-size version which can quickly consume the initial 5GB of free space that comes with iCloud.
There are a few ways to delete photos from iCloud, so let’s take a look, starting with the simplest option, the iCloud website.
If you have a Mac, it is much more efficient to delete photos from the Photos app on your Mac than it is from your iPhone, so use it for this task rather than your iPhone.
- Deleting photos went wrong
- Deleting photos from iCloud.com
- Click on the trash can icon
- Delete iCloud photos from your iPhone
- Open your photos
- Click “Select” and tap the photos you want to delete
- Delete iCloud photos on a Mac
- What happens when you delete photos from iCloud
- Conclusion on deleting photos from iCloud
- Frequent questions
- How do I extract my photos from the “Recently Deleted” folder?
- I have deleted all my photos but my storage is still full. What is happening?
- How can I clear iCloud storage without deleting items from my phone?
Deleting photos went wrong
iCloud can be incredibly complicated. You can innocently click “Delete” on your phone and realize that all your photos are gone from iCloud and vice versa.
It is important to understand the difference between iCloud storage and iPhone storage before proceeding. Several users confuse the two and start deleting the content from their Apple devices, then wonder why they are still getting the “memory full” messages. iCloud is information stored on Apple’s servers, it is a backup. If your phone has a storage capacity of 256GB and you are receiving these messages, iCloud is likely full.
Visit the settings of the device you are working with and look for the iCloud Photos option. If you are using a Mac and want to delete only the photos from your computer, follow these steps:
- Go to System Preferences
- Click on “Apple ID” in the upper right corner
- Select “iCloud”
- Turn off the photo option
- Click “Yes” when asked if you want to delete all photos from your Mac
If you don’t take these precautions, all photos may be deleted from iCloud. If you accidentally delete the photos, they go to a “recently deleted” folder for 30 days.
Do the same for your iPhone and iPad. If you are looking to clear system storage and not your iCloud, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings and click on your name at the top
- Click on iCloud
- Turn off the photo option
If some of your photos disappear from your phone, it is because they weren’t saved in the device memory during a backup. The phone now shows the content that has been saved on it.
Deleting photos from iCloud.com
If you’ve ever wondered where you can see all the photos you’ve uploaded to iCloud, you can. It’s not just stored on an inaccessible server somewhere. Go to your favorite web browser and log into iCloud.
- Tap the Photos icon
- Optional: Filter your content
- Use the filters on the left side of the screen to narrow the content (for example, if you’re trying to free up space, start with screenshots)
- Select all
- If you want to delete all photos type CMD + A on your Mac or Control + A on your PC to highlight all The selected images will be highlighted in blue.
Click on the trash can icon
After selecting the desired content, click on the trash can button located in the upper right corner. Using iCloud on a web browser to delete your photos is probably the easiest option. It allows you to delete all your iCloud photos at the same time.
Delete iCloud photos from your iPhone
If you want to delete photos from your iCloud, the easiest way to do this is to simply delete them from the Photos library on your iPhone. To do this, you will need to make sure that your iCloud Photo Library is active. Note that this will also delete photos from other Apple devices. Here’s how to do it on your iPhone:
Open your photos
Go to the Photos app and tap on the Photos option located at the bottom left, which will show you all your photos from the most recent at the bottom to the oldest photos at the top.
Click “Select” and tap the photos you want to delete
Click the Select button that floats at the top right of the screen. You may want to start with your oldest photos by swiping to the top of the screen by tapping once at the top.
- Choose “Select All”
- Tap the trash can icon and confirm
- After tapping Select , you can tap to select the photos you want to delete, then tap the trash can icon at the bottom right to delete the photos.
Note that this does not permanently delete the photos. Instead, it simply transfers them to the Recently Deleted album . To completely remove all photos, follow these steps:
- Open the “Recently Deleted” folder
- Tap Albums , which is the second tab to the right of the photos on your iPhone. Scroll down until you find the recently deleted photos
- Tap “Select” which will select all recently deleted photos.
- Tap “Delete All” to finish deleting the photos.
Now your photos will be completely gone. If you don’t follow this step, you won’t save disk space until Photos automatically completes deleting the “recently deleted” items.
Delete iCloud photos on a Mac
On a Mac, you can delete iCloud photos from all connected devices in minutes. This is by far the easiest way to do it as it allows you to take advantage of Apple’s ecosystem. To do this, perform the following steps:
Open the Photos app on your Mac and do this:
- Tap the Photos option in the left panel.
- Press Command + A or go to Edit then Select All.
- Press Command + Delete on your keyboard to delete all selected photos.
Note: This is an efficient way to delete ALL your photos or you can just select photos one by one to delete them in bulk.
Similar to deleting photos from your iPhone, this simply moves them to the Recently Deleted folder . You can find the folder on the left side of the screen, inside the sidebar, and delete the photos from there following the same steps.
From your Mac’s Photos application, simply click Recently Deleted, then click Delete All at the top right of the screen.
What happens when you delete photos from iCloud
As mentioned above, iCloud is a cloud storage service. Deleting your information from iCloud essentially means it’s gone forever (unless you’ve stored it somewhere else like an external hard drive or Google Photos).
When you delete content, whether you need to free up space on your Apple device or iCloud, knowing how to properly remove the content will save you a lot of time and heartache.
For example; if you buy a new device and restore it from an iCloud backup, all your photos could instantly take up all of the device memory. If you want to free up your device storage space, be sure to turn off iCloud Photo Library first.
If you haven’t disabled this selection, your photos will also be deleted from iCloud.
Conclusion on deleting photos from iCloud
Freeing up your iCloud storage space can be a pretty quick and easy task if you follow one of the methods in this article. It can be done in minutes, thus allowing you to continue using the 5GB of storage that Apple has provided you with.
If you need more space, you can always sign up with other cloud providers, like Dropbox or Google Drive. This way, you can have a lot more storage space, and you won’t have to depend solely on iCloud to make sure your important photos and media files are backed up.
If you have more questions, we have the answers here.
How do I extract my photos from the “Recently Deleted” folder?
If you have accidentally deleted some important photos, simply go to the “Recently deleted” folder and click on the “Recover” option. It will appear when you have selected the photos you want to recover or give you the “Recover All” option.
I have deleted all my photos but my storage is still full. What is happening?
There are some causes for this; you have not deleted the “Recently Deleted” files, the phone memory is full or the iCloud memory is full. If you get a message that iCloud is full, you will need to delete photos from iCloud and not just the phone.
How can I clear iCloud storage without deleting items from my phone?
You can turn off iCloud Photo Library. This means that the photos on your device will not be affected if you make changes in iCloud. This can be tricky if you turn the feature back on at some point, then have a backup to Google Photos or another cloud service ready.