How to delete photos on your iPhone or iPad


This is a crazy oversight by Apple, but there’s no obvious way to delete all the photos off your iPhone. You can delete them from the iPhone but you have to select each photo one at a time. Digital Cameras usually have a ‘delete all photos’ option but the iPhone doesn’t. If you don’t delete them when you sync them to iPhoto, it’s hard to get rid of them.

Here’s how to do it.

In the utilities folder on your Mac computer you will  find an application called “Image Capture”.  It is made by Apple, and it will allow you to delete all the photos of your iPhone as follows:

  1. Plug in your iPhone  to your computer.  If Photos and iTunes open just quit them.
  2. Open the ‘Image Capture’ app.
    (It will be in your Applications folder, called ‘Image Capture’)
  3. Select all the photos that you want to delete.  
    (To select them all in one go click on the top photo, scroll down to the bottom and then shift – click on the bottom photo to select them all.)
  4.  Click on the no smoking icon that is in black. It looks like a circle with a line through it. For some reason Apple thought this was a good symbol to delete instead of using the normal trash symbol,  I have no idea why they would do this.
  5. All your photos will be deleted – it’s that easy!

  6. Thanks to Dan for this tip.



The problem with Apple’s suggested way of deleting photos.

This is what Apple suggest on their help site:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the photo or video that you want to delete.
  3. Tap  > Delete Photo.

The problem with this is that you need to do this for every single photo individually. This takes a long time if you have a lot of photos!






5 responses to “How to delete photos on your iPhone or iPad”

  1. John

    Apple has pushed an update out that lets you delete pictures in bulk, not exactly “delete all” but def a lot faster.

  2. Dan

    Better still, why not plug in your iPhone, open Image Capture, select everything, and delete by clicking the universal “don’t do this” icon? Saves the time of reimporting everything, and, more importantly, won’t screw up people who might not have the disk space for a full reimport (I’m lookin’ at you, MBAir owners!).

  3. Peter

    Using the Image Capture app worked like a charm. I was able to easily download everything into and archive on and external HD and then quickly delete all but my most recent pictures. Now I have oodles of space again. Thank goodness!!

  4. No, it’s not that easy. There is no smoking icon on my Image Capture. 6.7

  5. Wayne hom

    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed. I’m trying to transfer a larger capacity iPad to a new smaller capacity iPad, and I couldn’t get the space freed up. I had turned off iCloud for photos (40,000+) and said Yes to deleting them on the iPad. For some reason, they would not delete, even selecting them and deleting manually on iPad.
    Some limits though. I tried doing it all in one shot with Image Capture, but it froze after deleting 10,000 or so, but the space was freed up. So, now I am content to doing the deleting in batches of a few thousand at a time.

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