How to quickly delete photos and videos to free up storage on your iPhone or iPad

How to quickly delete photos and videos on an iPhone or iPad

It's all too easy for the Camera Roll on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to grow out of control. The list grows incredibly, uselessly long and photos and videos end up eating up a ton of your storage space. If you have only 8GB or 16GB, or even 32GB there can come a time when you have to delete the old photos and videos on your iPhone or iPad in order to free up space for the new ones. You might even have to do it regularly! Luckily, Apple makes it fairly easy to delete large batches of photos or videos and reclaim your storage space!

Note: Make sure you sync or upload any important photos or videos before deleting them!

How to delete batches of photos and videos on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Photos tab along the bottom.
  3. The Photos tab lets you go from the top category of Years to Collections and finally to Moments. You want to be in the Moments section so drill down if you need to until you see Moments at the top.
  4. Tap on Select in the top right.
  5. Tap on Select next to a set of photos instead of a single photo.
  6. Tap on the Trash Can in the bottom right.
  7. Confirm you'd like to delete the photos.

While it isn't a perfect solution, it's much faster than individually tapping individual photos in the Camera Roll. Until Apple gives us a way to mass delete all photos, it's what we've got. The next time you've got large amounts of photos to delete, give this method a try and tell me how it works for you!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to quickly delete photos and videos to free up storage on your iPhone or iPad


Did you enable iTunes Match on your iPhone? If so, disable it by going to Settings > iTunes and App Store > iTunes Match > OFF

In addition, you can delete photos and videos from any iDevice using copytrans manager without the need to sync/unsync with iTunes.

You may not know that simple deletion is not enough, it can't delete call history permanently. It still can be recovered by some iPhone data recovery app. So it was highly suggested to use professional iPhone data eraser to completely delete call history without recovery.
This is resources:

The same to me. And that's the reason I didn't use iTunes so much. BTW, the delete photos are still recovered if you have tested with some data recovery app. The above method is the quickest but not the safest. Here is the way more security that it writes random digits to overwrite existing data. Step by step tutorial available here:

Good tip, I hadn't noticed!
Previously with iOS 6 on iPad you could hold down two fingers on one photo, then swipe over other ones to select them then delete. Not sure why it was taken out of iOS 7.

Sent from the iMore App

I have an iPad 2 but that did not work with IOS 6. I can not upgrade to IOS 7 until I remove over 2000 pics to make room for additional storage. Help! I need a way to select and delete a large amount of pics at a time, preferably NOT using iTunes.

And once you highlight the entire group, you can de-select the ones from the group that you want to keep. Great tip!

Another way to do mass deletion is to use Image Capture on the Mac. I was able to delete a couple thousand photos off of my phone and clear up a whole bunch of space...after I synced them with iPhoto/Google+/Dropbox/OneDrive first. #redunantcloudbackupFTW

I tried deleting the camera roll and followed the steps you gave, but it didn’t work. It gave me the delete button, allowed me to click it, but I tried to recover them by some iPhone data recovery, it still is recoverable! simple deletion is not far enough, it is still can recover by some iOS data recovery program. IF you want to permanently erase call history from your iPhone, this guide may help you:
How to permanently erase photos on iPhone.

It is better to backup your photos and videos before deleting. After backing up all the photos and videos, you can freely delete what is useless and leave what is needed.
Read this blog post to learn how to backup iPhone photos before deleting to free up space.