How to Delete Photos from iCloud | A Comprehensive Guide

How to Delete Photos from iCloud

The digital age has made capturing precious moments much easier, mainly due to the convenience of smartphones and cloud storage services such as iCloud. People use iCloud for Apple devices, which is a way to store pictures across different devices and keep them synced so that it's like having all your memories around you.

However, this could quickly turn into a nightmare if you have to deal with photo library management once it becomes too big for your device's memory. This article will focus on how to delete photos from iCloud storage.

Reasons why you must delete photos from iCloud:

Although iCloud provides a convenient way of storing and accessing your photos, regular cleaning of your library is necessary in order to create space for the addition of other images. Deleting unnecessary or duplicate photos not only optimizes your iCloud storage but also enhances the overall organization and manageability of your photo collection. By keeping your iCloud library lean, you can ensure seamless syncing and a smooth user experience across all your Apple devices.

Understanding limitations of iCloud Storage:

Apple offers a limited amount of free iCloud storage which quickly fills up, especially when you take more photos and videos. After exceeding this free capacity, users will need to either buy additional iCloud storage allocated by Apple or remove some items to make room for new ones. Regularly reviewing and deleting unnecessary photos may help you remain within the confines of the free iCloud storage capacity or at least reduce the need for paid upgrades.

How to delete iPhone pictures from iCloud?

Deleting iPhone pictures from iCloud is quite simple. Here's how to delete photos from iCloud storage on your iPhone:

    • Start by opening the Photos app on your iPhone.

    • Go through the albums or folders containing the images you want to delete from iCloud.

    • Tap "Select" in the top right corner.

    • Tap the picture(s) you want to remove so they are selected. Alternatively, tap and hold one picture, then select multiple others using the same technique.

    • After choosing the photos, press "Delete" at the bottom of the screen.

    • Confirm the deletion by tapping "Delete Photos" in the pop-up window.

Remember that removing photographs from your iPhone will also delete them from your iCloud and any other devices linked to your iCloud account.

How to delete photos from iCloud on Mac?

To remove photos from iCloud on your Mac, follow these steps:

    • Open the Photos app on your Mac.

    • Choose the pictures you want to delete by holding the Command (⌘) key while clicking on them.

    • Right-click (or Control-click) on the selected images, then choose "Delete X Photos" from the context menu that appears.

    • Click "Delete" in the confirmation pop-up window.

    • Alternatively, you can use the Delete key on your keyboard to remove the selected photos.

Keep in mind that deleting pictures from iCloud on your Mac will also remove them from any other devices connected to the same iCloud account.

Deleted photos managed in Recently Deleted:

When you delete a photo from iCloud, it is not immediately and permanently removed from your account. Instead, deleted photos are moved to the "Recently Deleted" album, where they remain for 30 days before being permanently deleted. This means you can recover any mistakenly deleted photos within this time period. To access the Recently Deleted album:

    • Open the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

    • Scroll down to the "Other Albums" section and tap or click on "Recently Deleted."

    • Here, you can view the images that have been deleted and recover them by selecting the desired photos and tapping or clicking "Recover."

Note that when you restore pictures from the Recently Deleted folder, they will be added back to your iCloud library and synced across all your connected devices.

How to permanently delete photos from iCloud?

If you are certain that you no longer need the photographs in the Recently Deleted folder on iCloud, you can permanently delete them. Here's how:

    • Open the Photos app on your device.

    • Navigate to the Recently Deleted folder.

    • Select the images individually and tap or click "Delete Permanently" to completely erase them from your iCloud library and all synced devices.

    • Confirm the action by tapping or clicking "Delete" in the pop-up window.

Permanently deleting photos means they will be removed from all devices and cannot be recovered once this process is complete.

Common troubleshooting tips when deleting photos from iCloud:

Although removing photos from iCloud is straightforward in most cases, you may encounter some issues along the way. Here are a few common problems and their solutions:

Photos not deleting from iCloud: If, after deleting images from your device, they still appear in your iCloud library, try logging out of iCloud and then logging back in. This should resolve any syncing issues.

Photos reappearing after deletion: If deleted photos keep reappearing in your iCloud library, check if you have iCloud Photos enabled on another device. Turning off iCloud Photos on that device will prevent the deleted photos from being restored.

Recently Deleted album not showing up: If the Recently Deleted album is not visible in the Photos app, try restarting your device or logging out and back into iCloud.

Storage not freeing up after deletion: If you've deleted a large number of photos but your iCloud storage hasn't reflected the change, give it some time. It may take a while for iCloud to update its content and show the freed-up space.

If these issues persist, you may need to contact Apple Support for further assistance.

Alternative ways to manage iCloud photos:

While iCloud is convenient for storing and syncing photographs, it's not the only option. If you frequently run out of iCloud storage or prefer exploring alternatives, consider these options:

Google Photos: With unlimited free storage for compressed photos and videos, Google's photo hosting service has become popular among users.

Dropbox: If you're looking for a file storage solution that covers all types of media, including pictures and videos, Dropbox is a great choice.

Amazon Photos: Amazon Prime includes a built-in service for storing pictures called Amazon Photos, which offers unlimited photo storage to Prime members.

Microsoft OneDrive: OneDrive is a cloud storage solution from Microsoft that can be easily integrated with Windows and Office applications.

When evaluating alternative options for cloud storage, consider factors such as storage capacity, pricing, cross-platform compatibility, and any special features that may be particularly useful to you.


Mastering the art of managing iCloud photos is essential for maintaining a well-organized and efficient photo library. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can free up iCloud storage on your devices, ensure efficient photo management, and enjoy a seamless experience across all your Apple devices.

Remember that regularly purging unnecessary photos not only optimizes your iCloud storage but also improves the overall organization and manageability of your cherished images. By taking control of your iCloud photo library and keeping it lean, you can focus on preserving the moments that matter most, rather than cluttering your devices with unwanted pictures. Take charge of your iCloud Photos today!

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