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How to Delete all Photos from an iPhone All at Once

Posted in How To, iOS, News on 20/12/2012 by Chris Hauk

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The iPhone, especially the iPhone 5, makes a good replacement for a point-and-shoot camera, we all know that. But photos can take up a lot of space. If you have hundreds, nay thousands of photos on your iPhone, I’m assuming you don’t want to go through and tap, tap, tap to select every photo on the device. So what do you do? Well, if you have a handy Mac or Windows PC you can connect your iPhone to, it’s simple as pie. Mmmm… Pie!

(Note: This article assumes you’ve already copied the photos you want to keep to your computer, or the cloud before deciding to delete them.)

There are probably better ways to do this, I know there are utility apps for sale that can handle this, but the idea of this article is to do it without extra expense. If you know of a better way using a stock iPhone and Mac, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll re-write this article, giving you credit where credit is due.

How to Delete All the Photos from an iPhone With a Mac

  1. Connect the iPhone to the computer to the Mac’s USB port using your iPhone sync/charging cable.
  2. Launch Image Capture. You’ll find this in the Applications Folder.
  3. Make sure the iPhone is selected in the device list on the left side of the screen, and Press (Command Key + A) to Select All the photos.
  4. Click the red Delete button, (as shown above), to delete all of the photos.
  5. Confirm deletion when asked. (As shown below.)
  6. Wait for the deletion process to finish. (If you have Gigs of photos on your iPhone, this can take awhile.)

How ToDelete All The Photos from an iPhone Using a Windows PC

This should work in any recent version of Windows, I used Windows 8:

  1. Connect the iPhone to the computer’s USB port using your iPhone sync/charging cable.
  2. Open “My Computer” and choose “Apple iPhone.”
  3. Open to folders “Internal Storage” and then open “DCIM”, you’ll see folders containing the photos and videos that are on the iPhone.
  4. Select all the photos and/or videos (CRTL-A), then hit the delete key on your keyboard, or right click and select “delete,” as shown below.

It’s easier to delete the photos via Windows, since Windows just treats the attached iPhone as just another hard drive. Again, be prepared to wait awhile, as the photos are deleted from the device.

There you go, not exactly easy-peasy, but easier and faster than the “tap, tap, tap” process we mentioned at the beginning.



  • http://twitter.com/AMDeeb90 AbdulRahman Deeb

    OR, you can delete them from the iOS device by going to Settings> General> Usage> Photos & Camera

    Then swipe left for the collection that you want to delete.

    • http://twitter.com/CLHauk Chris Hauk

      You are exactly right! Thanks so much for mentioning this. I’ll make some changes in the article today. I’ll be sure to give you credit where credit is due. Thanks again!

      • arry

        i have the same problem, what should i do?

    • ARyan

      very good answer, i always did it but never thought about the swipe to the left or right, thank you

    • rob

      This didn’t work for my Iphone 5 ios6; the pics were still there. I want these pics (esp. now) out of my life and cloud! When I swipe delete, after a left or right swipe, it scrolls back a screen and won’t let me get into the photos (unless I go to camera>photos> or photo roll. I tried hooking up the phone the first time, transferred them via Windows to get them on the pc, then got a very brief box that asked; do you want to delete all photos after download? Perhaps if I turn everything off & on (reset) I’ll get this choice again? Tried the suggestions below too. With the photo stream button ‘on’ and ‘off’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MsZane Kisane Appleby

    Fantastic! Thank you!!! I used to use iphoto and select the delete images after import option but once iPhoto crashed and I lost everything!! This allows me to import, double check and then delete! Fantastic..

  • skeeballfamily

    Neither your solution nor AbdulRahman Deeb’s solution didn’t work for me. I had the same problem, gave me the delete button that didn’t do anything. Image Capture disconnects my phone (I even tried just 9 out of the 1468 photos I have on my phone). I tried connecting it to a PC, but my phone doesn’t appear in the list of devices (maybe because I’ve never connected it to this PC before?).

    • Paul

      Great tips, but…

      I have the exact same problem as Skeeballfamily: Abdul’s delete solution brings up the Delete button, but it doesn’t actually do anything when I press Delete; and “Apple iPhone” does not show up in my list of devices under “My Computer”.

      Does anyone get this? I’m using XP Service pack 2.

      • mtrafico

        The delete button doesnt work for me either. Cant see any photos in the DCIM folder….is there really no way to delete photos from the Iphone except one by one?!?!?

  • chris

    thanks!

  • bianca

    Does this delete them off of your computer as well?

  • Kat

    SO irritating, image capture disconnected my phone in the midst of “deleting” numerous times, and I swiped left to delete my camera roll and it took me back to previous screen. Images still clogging up my phone. Any other suggestions of deleting all at once?

  • Tim

    Great tip, thank you.

  • G

    Very Helpful! Thank you so much!! :)

  • Robin

    thank you so much !

  • Paul

    Great tips, but…

    I have the exact same problem as Skeeballfamily: Abdul’s delete solution brings up the Delete button, but it doesn’t actually do anything when I press Delete; and “Apple iPhone” does not show up in my list of devices under “My Computer”.

    Does anyone else get this problem? I’m using XP Service pack 2.

    • Gray Cragg

      I have that too!

    • Entwort

      The same here! Apple sucks :)

  • Aggers

    Hi Chris, thanks for the help. This did indeed allow me to delete photos from “Albums”, but what about the copies in “Photo Stream”. How do I get to these? I am still receiving daily mails on my iCloud storage space being full.
    Being this tricky to delete photos does leave you wondering whether this is not a ploy from Apple to trick customers in to buying extra storage space…?
    Thanks again, cheers

    Aggers

  • Ellie

    Thank you so much! finally a simple answer!

  • Sandy

    You are the bomb! Thank you for the info! I just deleted 1790 pics from my iPhone and it was so easy!

  • Carol

    The Image Capture method worked for me on my Mac. Thank you!
    The swipe to access the delete button on my iPhone did not delete my photos.

  • Carol

    The Image Capture method worked for me on my Mac. Thank you!
    The swipe to access the delete button on my iPhone did not delete my photos.

  • Paolo G

    Worked like a charm!

  • Evan

    Thank you! Finally a simple solution. Using iPhone 5 with Windows 7 OS.

  • CJ

    Worked great on Windows! Thanks Chris. This saved me a lot of time.

  • Ian

    Thanks! Very helpful

  • Thomas

    i dont have the iphone in “devices” on my mac. what should i do?

  • Cry_beloved

    my phone does not have photos under usage, only all other apps. i have iPad, iphone and mac pro. please help some more on how to delete this photos i did not even download them.

  • chana

    thanks!! so easy and helpful!!

  • Alfranks2015

    What if there isn’t any photos that show up in your DCIM folder, but they’re definitely still on the iPhone? These photos I want to delete were added via my computer.
    I also tried AbdulRahman Deeb’s technique and after I tap delete, I go back and it’s still there.
    It’s treating these photos like they’re permanent! I also tried to restore my iPhone and it wouldn’t let me

Chris Hauk

Author

Chris Hauk

MacTrast Senior Editor, and self-described "magnificent bastard," Chris Hauk owns Phoenix Rising Services and writes for everyone's favorite "bad movie" website, Big Bad Drive-In.

His first Apple product was an iPod Classic 5 years ago, and he has since added a MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, and 2 Apple TVs to his collection.

He lives somewhere in the deep Southern part of America. Yes, he has to pump in both sunshine, and the Internet.

Don't forget to check out Chris' two latest endeavors, as the "Apple Expert" at Answers.com, and his own personal tech blog at chrishauk.com