What Happens When You Delete Photos from iPhone

Deleting a photo from a phone should be an easy task. Even though it is, the outcome isn’t satisfactory, especially when you delete photos from your phone connected to the cloud services. Many of you might have noticed that their photos disappeared from iCloud when you deleted them on your iPhone. Why did that happen? And what does happen when you delete photos from your iPhone? Find the answer in this post.

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If you are a newbie to the cloud services, you must be wondering whether you are deleting the original photo or its copy. Well, the answer depends on many things. Firstly, it depends on what app you are using to delete the photos. Is it the Apple Photos or other gallery app like Google Photos? We have covered the results for deleting photos from Apple Photos in this post.

In the Apple Photos app, the result depends on two things — whether the iCloud is off or on. Let’s see how that affects your photos.

What Happens When You Delete Photos From iPhone When iCloud Is Off

That again depends on two things. Firstly, if you have never turned on iCloud backup for photos on your current phone, then deleting photos will simply remove them from your phone.

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However, if you had earlier turned on iCloud and your photos are synced to iCloud, then if you turn off iCloud and delete the photos, they will be removed from your phone only. But, if you enable iCloud Photos again on the same phone using the same Apple account, then the photos that you deleted on your phone will be removed from your iCloud too if they were previously synced. That might be the reason why iCloud deleted your photos.

What Happens When You Delete Photos From iPhone When iCloud Is On

While things are simple when iCloud is on, many won’t like the repercussions irrespective of whatever method you use to delete photos from iCloud.

When iCloud Photos is enabled on your iPhone, and you press the delete button for a photo, it will be removed from iCloud and other Apple devices connected to the same iCloud account. It happens because your photos are constantly in sync with iCloud. So, removing a picture from one device will remove it from all.

Sadly, it’s not possible to remove it from the iPhone only. Fortunately, your phone will remind you that deleting the photo from your phone will remove it from everywhere before you confirm the deletion.

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Tip: Do you use Google Photos on your iPhone or iPad? Find out why your iCloud photos are deleted when you delete photos from Google Photos on iPhone.

How to Get Back Deleted Photos on iPhone

If you accidentally deleted some photos on your iPhone, you can get them back easily. That’s possible with the help of the Recently Deleted album.

When you delete photos, they go into the Recently Deleted folder where they stay for 30 days. You can retrieve the photos within 30 days of deleting them. If you don’t do so, they are deleted forever.

If iCloud Photos is enabled on your iPhone, then you can retrieve the deleted pictures from any connected Apple device and even from iCloud on the web. It’s not necessary to use the same iPhone to get the pictures back.

Here’s how to restore deleted pictures on the iPhone.

Step 1: Open the Apple Photos app and tap on the Albums tab at the bottom. Scroll down and tap on the Recently Deleted album.

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Step 2: Tap Select and choose the photos that you want to retrieve. Tap on Recover.

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Tip: To select multiple photos, select a photo and with the finger on the photo, drag your finger to select other pictures and videos.

Unable to Delete Pictures on iPhone

In case you are unable to delete pictures from your iPhone, or the pictures reappear after you delete them, the reason might be iTunes. If you have added those photos from iTunes, you need to sync your phone again to the computer via iTunes. Then, deselect the photos to delete them from your phone. Sometimes, photos in other cloud services on the iPhone also pose problems.

How to Free Storage on iPhone Without Deleting Photos

If you are deleting the photos only to free up storage on your iPhone or iPad, then there are better alternatives. Let’s check them out.

1. Enable Optimize iPhone Storage

Known as Optimize iPhone Storage, it is a native feature provided by Apple for iCloud Photos. It replaces the original copy of the photo on your iPhone by a compressed version, thus saving space. That doesn’t mean the original photo is deleted. It’s safe and sound in iCloud Photos.

Once you enable it, the feature starts working automatically when your device is low on storage. For instance, if you have 50 GB of photos and videos, your iPhone will take up only around 1.5-3 GB using the Optimize iPhone Storage feature.

To enable it, go to Settings on your iPhone. Then, tap on your name, followed by iCloud.

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Tap on Photos. Enable iCloud Photos if it isn’t. Then, tap on Optimize iPhone Storage.

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2. Use Google Photos App

Google Photos is a great alternative to iCloud Photos. It also comes with a native feature to free up storage on your phone. Unlike iCloud, no space will be occupied on your phone if you use the Free up storage option provided by Google Photos. Free up space is a great way to delete photos from iPhone only and not from Google Photos. If you like the app, you can even move your iCloud Photos to Google Photos.

Delete Photos Temporarily

Many people delete the photos temporarily from their iPhone to hide it from others. But you don’t need to do so. What if you forget restoring the photos? Then, they will get deleted forever. What you should do is hide the pictures using the built-in feature of the Apple Photos app.

Next up: Find out how to hide photos and other tips and tricks for the Apple Photos app using the next link.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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