How to Delete iCloud Photos on iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac OSX

how to delete icloud photos on computer

If you’re using the , iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or any other device running on the Apple’s operating system, then knowing how to delete iCloud photos from all devices will come in handy someday.

Specifically, if you have the ‘iCloud photo library’ enabled, then your WhatsApp or Facebook photos and videos would’ve been sent to the online cloud.

While 5GB of space promises to give you a large storage area to back up your files to, it will run out of space sooner or later.

The speed at which yours runs out depends on the level of operation your smartphone undergoes and if you’re a moderate or heavy user.

how to delete icloud photos on computer

If you’re reading ebooks, messaging, programming, surfing the net and carrying out other memory intensive operations of your smartphone, then the backup memory space will tend to run out faster.

Nevertheless, you don’t really have much control on when the memory is exhausted but you can ensure that when it does run out of space, it is holding your most important files.

This makes it necessary to know how to delete iCloud photos without deleting from the iPhone or Laptop.

The latter means that while your backed up files would have been deleted, there is still room for you to manage them on your device given that there are inbuilt storage space and an external memory card.


Can you delete photos from iCloud?

Yes, you can.  We’ll show you how to delete them from your PC or phone quickly and all at once.


What is an iCloud Backup?

how to delete icloud photos on computer

iCloud Backup is Apple’s response to ensuring that you do not lose your valuable files especially after carrying out a factory reset on your smartphone or computer.

The device may have been reset, but you can still fall back on the files that were uploaded unto the storage.

Likewise, moving from an iPhone to , iPad, Apple Watch, or Apple TV ensures that you take your files with you as long as you sign in with your Apple ID.

Therefore, the U.S. based technology company uses the iCloud to ensure that all your documents are automatically loaded or synced to its servers.

Once the phone is booted and connected to a WiFi source, your data is automatically sent to the online storage.

It is also worthy to note that a 5GB free space has been provided to all users of iOS devices which in consideration, is large enough for the average smartphone user.

The storage may be free, but you can still pay for it in order to get a larger space to support your files especially if you are using one of the base model of the iPhone 4, 5, 6 that features only 16GB internal memory.

Despite this, you may still have to control which files are sitting in the storage in order to prioritize your most important files.

All that it’ll take, is to know how to clean out your iCloud before 30 days.


Kinds of Files Stored on iCloud

Before you proceed on deleting photos synced with iCloud, it is best you know what other files are being held in the storage and if they are a better alternative to being removed instead on your photos.

Therefore, the kinds of files stored on iCloud include:

  • App data
  • Ringtones
  • Health data
  • Device settings
  • Photos and videos
  • HomeKit configuration
  • iTunes purchase history
  • Visual Voicemail password
  • Home screen and app organization
  • iMessage, text messages, MMS messages

When you consider all these data that will be uploaded, you’ll agree that it won’t really take a long time before you run out of 5GB worth of space.


Reasons for Deleting iCloud Photos

There are several reasons for wanting to free up space on your storage and some of these include:

1. Duplicates content:

If you have the same images duplicated on your cloud storage account, then there may be a need to remove some of them.

It’s really not useful to have the same image replicated on the same platform which only helps to eat into the storage space.

2. High Resolution:

Storing photos on the iCloud memory usually uploads the original version while a less sharp quality will be stored on the phone in order to ensure that less memory is used.

This means that it is possible for the storage to run out faster than the inbuilt space on your smartphone.

Therefore, you have to take out the time to remove some of these photos for good.

Now, let’s show you how to make the most of the limited storage Apple has allocated to you.


How to Delete iCloud Photos

Are you trying to avoid having to pay more to have your videos, photos, files and other documents synced to iCloud, then here’s how to delete some of the files even without a computer.

Keep in mind that deleting multiple photos on your iCloud photo library may automatically delete the photos or videos across all your devices such as the iPhone, Mac, and iPad.

In the same vein, in the iCloud Photo Library, there are two options you must have settled on.

First Option:

The first is ‘Optimize iPhone Storage’.

Here, videos will be stored on the iCloud while optimized photos will be saved in your phone’s storage.

Thus, you will be unable to delete such photos.

Second Option:

The second option is the ‘Download and Keep Originals’.

This one ensures that photos are saved both on your iPhone as well as the iCloud.

That being the case, simply deleting the photos on your iPhone will automatically remove them from the iCloud storage.


Option 1: How to Delete Multiple Photos at Once

To delete all photos, you need to do the following:

  • Access the website
  • Log in using your Apple ID and Password
  • Select the icon ‘Photos’
  • Select the pictures individually and move them to the trash

And that’s all you need to get started.


Option 2: How to Delete Multiple iCloud Photos from Device

This option will enable you to clear multiple photos off iCloud right from your iPhone or iPad, and as such, there is no need to access the cloud before you can do that.

First, you need to enable iCloud photos on your iPhone, Mac, or Ipad if you haven’t done that already.

Here, deleting the photos on your devices automatically removes them on iCloud and every other device where iCloud is turned on.

This method works for devices running on iOS 8.1 (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch)

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Click on your name at the top of the screen
  • Select ‘iCloud’
  • Click on ‘Photos’
  • Switch on ‘iCloud Photos’


 how to delete icloud photos from one device only

For iOS 9

  • Navigate to Setting on devices
  • Click on ‘iCloud’ 
  • Select ‘Storage’  
  • Manage Storage
  • Click on iCloud Photo Library
  • Tap on ‘Disable and Delete’.

how to delete photos from icloud on windows pc


For 10.10.3 or later

  • Go to ‘System Preferences’
  • Select ‘iCloud’
  • Click ‘Options’
  • Select iCloud Photo Library


For (4th generation) with tv OS 9.2 or later

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Click on ‘Accounts’
  • Select ‘iCloud’ 
  • iCloud Photo Library

We can now proceed to delete the photos without deleting from iPhone:

  • Navigate to your Photos app
  • Click on the ‘Select’ button to mark all photos

how to delete icloud photos all at once on pc

  • Finally, click on the ‘Trash’ button and your photos will be moved to it.

That may not be enough to get rid of the pictures given that deleted files are held in temporary memory for 30 days.

Therefore, you also need to access your ‘Recently Deleted’ album to permanently remove them.

Here’s how to delete photos from recently deleted folder on iCloud:

  • Goto ‘Recently Deleted’ folder
  • Click on ‘Select’
  • Choose one or more items
  • Click on ‘Delete’


Option 3: How to Delete Photos from My Photos Stream

Another option you have to be on the lookout for is ‘My Photo Stream’.

Enabling this feature on your iPhone, iPod, and iPad ensures that when you are connected via Wifi, all your new photos are automatically moved to the iCloud.

The disadvantage is that two copies of your photos, as well as videos, will be created at each instance.

To prevent this and avoid wasting more space on your iCloud account, do the following:

  • Navigate to Settings either on your iPad, iPod touch or iPhone
  • Tap on ‘Photos & Camera’ 
  • Turn off  ‘My Photo Stream’

 how to delete entire icloud photo library

If you already have duplicated photos, do this:

  • Launch ‘Photos’ on your iOS device
  • Click on ‘Albums’
  • Select ‘My Photo Stream’
  • Click on ‘Select’
  • Select the photos you will like to delete
  • Move them to the ‘Trash’ icon
  • Finally, click on ‘Delete’


Option 4: How to Delete Photos from iCloud Backup

One more way to go is to delete photos from an iCloud backup.

To do this on iOS 8

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Click on ‘iCloud’
  • Click on ‘Storage & Manage’
  • Manage Storage
  • Turn off Camera Roll


To do this on iOS 9

  • Goto Settings
  • Click on iCloud
  • Tap on ‘Storage’
  •  Manage Storage
  • Turn off Photo Library


For Mac

  • Access System Preferences from the dock,
  • Goto Finder
  • Click iCloud and sign in if prompted
  • Click on ‘Manage’
  • Select Backups provided in the menu on the left
  • Select the backup you want to delete
  • Click on ‘Delete’ on the bottom left the pane
  • Click ‘Delete’ in the pop-up
  • Finally, select ‘Done’



Now that you know how to delete iCloud photos on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac with or without a computer, it should no longer be an issue removing those pictures you no longer have a need for.

We’ve also highlighted on how you can delete photos from iCloud photo stream on iPad and soon, we’ll put up a tutorial on how to do the same on Windows PC.

The steps you have to go through to get it done are quite simple, but then, if you encountered any problems while trying out each method, we’ll be glad to help you out with it.

All that it’ll take, is a comment or two and we’ll guide you through it.

You can also make reference to the video below:

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