3 Best Ways to Delete Photos From iCloud

We are blessed with the sophisticated technology of the HEIC format on iPhones today. But no matter what, you will run out of iCloud storage quickly. One reason is that Apple only offers 5GB of free storage to its iPhone users. So you'll be soon looking for ways to delete photos and videos from iCloud.

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That's considering you use iCloud to back up and sync pretty much everything on your iPhone.

Thankfully, it’s quite easy to free up space by deleting backed up photos on iCloud. I'm assuming that you have iCloud Photos enabled on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. So, deleting them from any of your devices will also remove them from the iCloud servers. Alternatively, you can visit iCloud.com and delete your photos that way.

Warning: Deleting photos from iCloud will delete them from all other Apple devices too. Before proceeding, make separate backups of your photos to a location outside the Photos app on devices where you want to keep them intact.

1. Delete Photos Using iPhone and iPad

On the iPhone and iPad, open the Photos app, and then visit the camera roll or an album. To delete an individual photo, tap and hold the image thumbnail. On the context menu that shows up, tap Delete. (I bet you know that already.)

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To remove multiple photos, tap the Select icon to the upper-right corner of the screen. Next, tap to select the photos that you want to delete. Alternatively, tap and drag your finger across the screen to select multiple photos in a single seamless gesture. Now that's something you might not have known.

Follow up by tapping the Trash icon to the lower-right corner of the screen.

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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 that 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, located within 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.

2. Delete Photos Using Mac

On your Mac, open the Photos app, and then select the photo or photos that you want to delete. To select multiple photos, click the relevant thumbnails while holding down the Command key. Or you can click and drag the cursor over the thumbnails instead to pick them up faster.

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Afterward, right-click any selected image, and then click Delete Photos. On the confirmation pop-up box that shows up, click Delete again. The photos will be deleted from iCloud, as well as on all of your other 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.

3. Delete Photos via iCloud.com

If you use the iCloud app on Windows, then things are a bit tricky. 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 delete your photos from iCloud quite easily by signing in to iCloud.com using any web browser. You can also do this on a Mac, but using the Photos app is much more convenient.

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

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Just like on iOS and macOS, you can navigate your entire photo library using the sidebar to the left-side of the screen.

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To delete a single photo, click on an image thumbnail, and then click the Trash icon to the upper-right corner of the screen.

You can also remove multiple images — hold down the Ctrl key (or the Cmd key on Mac) and then click the thumbnails to select them. You can also choose items faster by clicking and dragging the cursor over the thumbnails.

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Tip: To select all images within an album, press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A. Just be careful that you don't end up selecting any important photos.

On the confirmation pop-up box that shows up, click Delete. Your photos will be removed from iCloud and all of your Apple devices.

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However, downloaded copies of the photos present locally 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 your iCloud.com photo library.

Reclaim Your Storage

Your iCloud photo library is bound to fill up with all sorts of junk photos (duplicates, screenshots, etc.). Hence, going on a regular cleaning spree can help out massively when it comes to keeping your storage quota in check.

You can also use another cloud storage service and there are many excellent alternatives to choose from. If you opt for one, you will have disable iCloud Photos on your devices to completely get rid of all backed up photos.

And if you are willing to spend some time, then there are also other means to help you reclaim space on your iCloud account.

Next up: Take complete control of your data. Here's how to download everything from iCloud.

Read Next
How to Download Data Stored on iCloud: A Complete Guide
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Dilum Senevirathne is a contributing writer at Guiding Tech who loves sharing his passion for all things technology. He takes privacy and security seriously, so don’t be surprised to see him put sketchy-looking apps to task! When he isn’t writing, you can find him catching up on the latest tech stuff at Reddit.