3 Best Ways to Delete Photos From iCloud

We are blessed with the sophisticated HEIC format on iPhones today. Regardless, you will run out of iCloud storage quickly. One reason for that is Apple only offers iPhone users 5GB of free storage. So, you’ll soon have to look for how to delete photos and videos from iCloud storage.

That’s considering you use iCloud to back up and sync almost everything on your iPhone. Thankfully, it’s easy to free up space by deleting backed-up photos on iCloud. We assume you have iCloud Photos enabled on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

So, deleting them from your devices will also remove them from the iCloud servers. Alternatively, you can visit the iCloud website and delete your photos. Let’s check the steps for all the methods.

1. Delete Photos From iCloud Storage on iPhone and iPad

Step 1: Open the Photos app on the iPhone or iPad and visit the camera roll or an album.

Step 2: Tap and hold the image thumbnail to delete an individual photo.

Step 3: Tap Delete in the contextual menu.

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Step 4: Tap the Select icon in the upper-right corner to remove multiple photos.

Step 5: Next, tap to select the images that you want to delete.

Alternatively, tap and drag your finger across the screen to select multiple photos in a single seamless gesture.

Step 6: Follow up by tapping the Trash icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Step 7: On the menu that shows up, tap Delete Photos.

As per the warning, the photos will be deleted from iCloud. At the same time, they will get removed from any other iOS and macOS devices you’ve signed in with the same Apple ID.

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To recover any accidentally deleted photos, go to the Recently Deleted section in the Album tab. Thankfully, you have 30 days to do that. Recovered photos will be synced back to iCloud and the rest of your devices. Additionally, you can also change the iCloud Storage plan.

2. Remove Photos From iCloud Using Mac

Before removing the photos from iCloud, you can download and export the original copy to ensure you have a backup. Go to the Photos app > Photos > Settings > click iCloud > select ‘Download Originals to this Mac’.

Once done, follow the below steps to delete these iCloud photos.

Step 1: On your Mac, open the Photos app and select the photo(s) you want to delete.

Step 2: To select multiple photos, click the relevant thumbnails while holding down the Command key.

Alternatively, click and drag the cursor over the thumbnails instead to pick them up faster.

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Step 3: Afterward, right-click any selected image and click Delete Photos. In the confirmation pop-up box, click Delete again.

The photos will be deleted from iCloud and your synced Apple devices.

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If you want to recover any deleted photos, go to the Recently Deleted section underneath Library on the Photos app sidebar. Furthermore, you can also stop automatic backup to iCloud to manage your space efficiently.

3. Delete Photos via iCloud Website (Windows)

Things get a bit tricky if you use the iCloud app on Windows. You can’t delete your photos using File Explorer and expect the backup copies to be removed from your iCloud account. The iCloud app only downloads your photos; it doesn’t sync any changes made on Windows devices.

However, you can still easily delete your photos from iCloud by signing in to its website using any web browser. You can also do this on a Mac, but using the Photos app is much more convenient.

Step 1: Start by signing into iCloud. On the launchpad, select Photos to access your photo library.

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Step 2: Like iOS and macOS, you can navigate your entire photo library using the left sidebar.

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Step 3: To delete a single photo, click on an image thumbnail and then click the Trash icon in the upper-right corner.

Step 4: You can also remove multiple images — hold the Ctrl key (or the Cmd key on Mac) and then click the thumbnails to select them.

You can choose items faster by clicking and dragging the cursor over the thumbnails.

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Step 5: In the confirmation pop-up, select Delete. Your photos will be removed from iCloud and Apple devices.

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However, the downloaded copies of the photos on Windows devices won’t be removed. You must delete them manually if you want to get rid of them.

To recover any deleted photos, click Recently Deleted on the sidebar of the iCloud photo library.

Next, let us look at another query most of us have. How do we delete photos from iCloud but not from the local storage of our iPhone? Move to the next section.

Delete Photos From iCloud But Not iPhone Local Storage

If your backup is about to reach the limit on iCloud, you can follow the above steps to delete photos. However, deleting them also deletes their copy from your local storage. But if you want to keep them in your iPhone’s local storage while deleting them from the backup, follow the below steps.

Step 1: Wait for all the photos to be backed up on iCloud.

Step 2: Open the Settings app.

Step 3: Tap on your username — the first option in the settings app.

Step 4: Tap on iCloud.

Step 5: Tap on Photos.

Step 6: Turn off the toggle for ‘Sync this iPhone’.

Sync This iPhone

This essentially turns off the sync between your iPhone and iCloud. You may now delete photos from iCloud, and the change will not reflect on your iPhone. Once you complete it, you can enable the toggle back on.

There you go. That is everything you need to know about deleting photos from iCloud. However, if you have any more questions, look at the FAQ section below.

FAQs on Deleting Photos From iCloud

1. How do you recover permanently deleted photos on iCloud?

There is no way to recover permanently deleted photos on iCloud. Once you delete the photos from the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder, you can’t retrieve them.

2. Will photos deleted on iCloud reflect in recently deleted?

Yes. Once you delete the photos on iCloud, they will be sent to the recently deleted folder containing the deleted photos for 30 days.

Reclaim Your Storage

Your iCloud photo library will eventually fill up with junk photos (duplicates, screenshots, etc.). Hence, a regular cleaning spree can keep your storage in check. You can also use another cloud service for a backup. If you opt for one, you must disable iCloud Photos on your devices to eliminate all backed-up photos completely. And if you are willing to spend some time, there are other ways to help reclaim space on your iCloud account.

Last updated on 21 September, 2023

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