How to delete and recover photos from your iPhone

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
If you were to choose the top three features a phone must have, one of them would certainly be a good camera. Most of us utilize our smartphone cameras nearly every day, but as they gain more features and better image quality, the file size of the resulting photos also increases. Storing an abundance of photos and videos is the fastest way to eat through your phone’s storage, so you need to know how to delete photos from your iPhone.

There are also times, however, when an overeager tap in your Camera Roll deletes a photo or video that you later decide you wanted to keep. Accidentally deleting the wrong photo is a horrible feeling, but there’s no need to panic. You just need to know how to retrieve a deleted photo on your iPhone. Luckily, there are ways to safely delete — and recover — iPhone photos. Let’s take a look at each of them.

How to delete photos on your iPhone using a Mac

delete all your pictures from iphone

You can plug in your iPhone to your Mac, and view your photos using Image Capture. To delete photos from your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Select your iPhone from the leftmost sidebar in the Image Capture app.
  2. Click on a photo to select it, or press Command + A to select all your photos.
  3. Click the delete button (how to delete and recover photos on your iphone no) in Image Capture.
  4. When asked if you want to delete your photos, select Delete.

How to delete photos on your iPhone

It’s easy to delete one or more photos from your iPhone. Here are a couple of ways you can do so.

Deleting multiple photos from Collections

  1. Open the Photos app, and select Photos in the lower-left corner.
  2. Select the year housing the photos you want to delete, which will bring you to the Collections view.
  3. In Collections, make sure you select Show All, so that you can see all the photos in that collection.
  4. Tap and drag your finger to select all of the photos you want to delete.
  5. Tap the delete icon — aka, the trash can — in the lower-right corner.

Deleting a single photo from your Camera Roll

This might seem straightforward, but if you have an iPhone 6S or later, it gets a bit more interesting with 3D Touch.

  1. If you have an iPhone 6S or later, your iPhone supports 3D Touch. To delete a photo using 3D Touch, press down on a photo to preview it. Then, swipe up and select Delete at the bottom.
  2. You can also tap Select in the upper-right corner, select the photo you want to delete, and tap the delete icon in the lower-right corner.

Deleting multiple photos from your Camera Roll

  1. Open your Photos app, and tap Albums in the lower-right corner.
  2. Go to Camera Roll, and tap Select in the upper-right corner.
  3. Tap and drag your finger to select all of the photos you want to delete.
  4. Tap the delete icon — aka, the trash can — in the lower-right corner.

Deleting photos from Recently Deleted

Use this method only if you’re running low on storage and you’ve backed up your photos, as this can’t be undone. Once you delete photos from Recently Deleted, they will be gone forever.

  1. Go to Recently Deleted in your Photos app.
  2. Tap Select in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select Delete All in the lower-left corner, or tap the images you want to get rid of. Afterward, select Delete.
  4. Note the warning that specifies that this action cannot be undone, then select Delete Photos.

How to recover photos on your iPhone

If you find that you’ve deleted the wrong photo by accident, or you’ve changed your mind about a photo you deleted and you want to recover it, then there are ways to get it back. Below are three options for recovering deleted photos on your iPhone.

Using Recently Deleted in your iPhone’s Photos app

If you haven’t deleted your photos from the Recently Deleted folder, then iOS will keep these photos for 30 days. Here’s how to restore them:

  1. Go to the Photos app.
  2. Go to the Recently Deleted folder.
  3. Tap Select in the upper-right corner.
  4. Select Recover All, or select the individual photos you want to recover. Afterward, select Recover.

Alternatively, navigate to your iCloud account and follow the same steps. Obviously, this will only work if you have iCloud Photo Library turned on.

Using iTunes to restore photos from a backup

restore photos itunes

If you’re in the habit of performing iTunes backups, then your photos should already be backed up to your computer. If so, you can restore your media from a preexisting backup. Because you are restoring your entire iPhone from a backup, however, the photos that will appear on your iPhone are the photos that were on your iPhone on the day of the backup. Any photos you’ve taken since then may disappear, though you can always restore them using a backup from a previous day.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Plug in your iPhone, and in the Summary tab, choose Restore Backup.

To keep a complete backup of every photo you take, we recommend using a cloud service like Google Photos.

Using a third-party app

The last resort would be to use a third-party app. These apps are great when it comes to recovering your contacts, texts, and other types of media. Some of them can even repair various iOS issues. Below are a few of our favorites.

iMobie Phone Rescue ($60+)

how to restore deleted text messages on an iphone phone rescue ios

Phone Rescue will allow you to recover a number of media files, including your photos. What sets this program apart, however, is that it allows you to recover data from your iCloud account, in addition to your iTunes and device backups. The app also has a number of repair tools, which let you recover your device when it crashes or experiences errors.

Download now from:

iMobie

Wondershare Dr.Fone ($70+)

how to restore deleted text messages on an iphone dr  fone thumb

This recovery tool is compatible with the latest iOS devices, and you can install the program on both MacOS and Windows-based machines. The software will allow you to quickly recover photos, as well as text messages, videos, and even data from third-party apps like WhatsApp.

Download now from:

Wondershare

Tenorshare Ultdata ($50+)

how to restore deleted text messages on an iphone tenorshare ultdata recovery

Like other recovery apps, this app will let you recover both messages and media. It also allows you to recover your iPhone when it’s stuck in recovery mode, or when it fails to install the latest iOS update.

Download now from:

Tenorshare

Mobile

The iPhone XR is now up for pre-order -- here's where to get it

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Social Media

Over selfies and an onslaught of ads? Here's how delete your Instagram account

Despite its outstanding popularity and photo-sharing dominance, Instagram isn't for everyone. Thankfully, deleting your account is as easy as logging into the site and clicking a few buttons. Here's what you need to do.
Mobile

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next phone, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.
Mobile

Google Pixel 3 vs. Apple iPhone XS: Does Google’s A.I. take down Apple?

The Google Pixel 3 is here, boasting top-tier specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM, and some of the world's best artificial intelligence features on a phone. But can it take out the Apple iPhone XS?
Mobile

There are four versions of the Mate 20, but which one is the best?

Huawei revealed its full range of Mate 20 handsets, and it seems that there is a device that fits everyone's needs. We've compared all the options, including the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Mate 20 X, the Mate 20, and the Mate 20 Lite.
Mobile

Keep your new Google phone pixel perfect with the best Pixel 3 cases

If you want your new Google phone to stay pixel perfect, then you should snag one of the best Pixel 3 cases. We've scoped out some of your best options so far based on different styles, levels of protection, and budgets.
Product Review

We can’t find a reason to buy the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS over the Mate 20 Pro

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro looks like an exceptional phone, so can a version with Porsche Design’s involvement be worth spending twice as much on? We’ve taken the phone for a test drive.
Mobile

Huawei is working on a 5G foldable phone, the Mate 20 X may be its template

Huawei is working on a folding 5G smartphone, according to the company's CEO, Richard Yu. He also provoked speculation the phone may have something in common with the massive Mate 20 X and its 7.2-inch screen.
Mobile

Apple sends out invites for October hardware event, new iPad Pro expected

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.
Mobile

Number not recognized? Here's why you're receiving calls from 'Scam Likely'

While it may seem like a bold marketing move to tag your calls "Scam Likely," these alerts are actually your carrier's way of helping you identify scams. Here, we'll walk you through what exactly these markers mean and how you can turn them…
Music

How much is Spotify Premium, and how can you get it at a discount?

Having access to millions of songs comes at a price -- albeit, a pretty small one. Before you figure out how much is Spotify Premium going to cost you, you will want to see if you qualify for a discounted (or even free) subscription.
Mobile

Master your new Google phone with these handy Pixel 3 and 3 XL tips

If you’re hunting for some Pixel 3 tips to help you get more from your Google phone, then you’ll find them right here. We’ve got tips for shortcuts, camera controls, and more. All these tips will also work for the Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are now available for purchase

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

The world’s thinnest smartphone fits alongside your business cards

Kyocera has taken the wraps off of a new smartphone called the KY-O1L. The device is a tiny 5.3mm thick and is specifically billed as being a phone that can fit inside a business card holder.