Why Can't I Delete Some Photos
on My iPhone? It's A Joke. 😡

Photos probably is one of the most essential apps on our iPhones and iPads. In iOS 11, it gets even more powerful with Drag-n-drop and other features. It could get an A+ for photo editing and sharing, but in regards of photo management, lots of iPhone and iPad users seem to experience confusion when it comes to delete photos on an iPhone.

Alert: After iOS 8.3, you can no longer delete (neither single nor bulk) photos on your iPhone via Photos / iPhoto / Image Capture or other desktop apps.

Are You On The Same Boat?
Here's The Tip That Explains. 🤔

To clear up all these confusions, firstly let's figure out why some albums can be deleted, while others can't, and why it makes sense for Apple to design as so. Most of us sync our photos with iCloud since Apple introduced iCloud Photo Library, also some of us still sync with iTunes in order to bring own older photos.

The source of your photos comes from variety of channels. Most are taken by devices directly, some are synced by iCloud Photo Library, some are by iTunes, some are created by third party apps, etc. This explains why photo deleting on your iPhone always causes you problems.

When You Can & You Cannot
Delete Photos on Your iPhone. 👏

Here are the common scenarios you may have met when trying to delete photos on your iPhone. Adapt yourself to it.

1. Delete Photos Taken by iPhone

It's easy to delete the photos and videos that you don't want anymore. Just tap the Trash icon and you're done. You can also learn how to make space on your device and where you can get your photos back if you accidentally delete them.


  1. On Your iPhone - Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the photo or video that you want to delete from your iPhone.
  3. Tap the Trash icon on the right corner > Click Delete Photo to confirm.

Delete Photos Taken by iPhone

2. Delete Photos Synced by iTunes

Photos synced from the computer can only be removed via another sync. If that is the case, the only method to delete these photos is via iTunes and the computer.


  1. Turn off iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone.
  2. Connect the iPhone to the computer, open iTunes.
  3. Select the iPhone and then go to the Photos tab.
  4. Unselect the folder/album name and then sync the phone again. That will delete the photos on your iPhone that were synced by iTunes.

Delete Photos Synced by iTunes

3. Delete Photos on iPhone in Bulk

Before iOS 8.3, it was never a problem to mount your iPhone, iPad, import photos with iPhoto / Image Capture, and then delete photos off the device to reclaim mobile storage. The introduction of iCloud Photo Library in iOS 8.3 changed the file permissions for all image and movies files in an iCloud managed directory. After the change you could NO LONGER delete photos off your iPhone.

Instead, to bulk delete all photos on your iPhone, you can do it by turning of the iCloud Photo Library option on your device.


  1. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi.
  2. On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, then turn on iCloud Photo Library.
Delete Photos on iPhone in Bulk

Delete Photos on iPhone in Bulk

Have Similar Problems? Drop A Line to Us.

Do you have similar problems regarding iPhone photo deletion? If yes, feel free to leave a comment and we are happy to help you out.