Looks like no one’s replied in a while. To start the conversation again, simply ask a new question.

Question:

Question: Delete Photos Just Off iPhone, Not iCloud

Is there any way to delete photos/videos from my iPhone without deleting them from my iCloud? I'm trying to free up device space without losing the pictures/videos on the cloud.

iPhone 6, iOS 9.3.2

Posted on

Reply
Question marked as Apple recommended
Answer:
Answer:

With iCloud Photo Library enabled, you cannot delete a photo on one device (or at iCloud.com) without deleting it from every device that uses iCloud photo library (and iCloud.com). In order to save space on your mobile devices (and indeed your Mac if you wish to do so) turn on optimisation for photos on these devices (settings > photos & camera > optimise storage on your mobile device and Photo preferences > optimise storage on your Mac)

Optimisation is dynamic, it reduces the resolution of your photos as and when needed, so you may not notice it occurring at first. However when it is needed, it is very effective and users have reported libraries being optimised to much less than 10% of their original size in some cases. My own library is about 9% of its original size on my phone.

Posted on

Question marked as Helpful

Apr 5, 2017 8:17 PM in response to iSmorris In response to iSmorris

Given that iCloud photo sync simply does not work the way that Apple says it does, the best option is to:

  1. Turn it off on your phone
  2. Take photos on your phone
  3. Plug your phone into your mac
  4. Copy all the photos to your mac using the Photos app
  5. Disconnect your phone
  6. Delete the photos on your phone to free up storage.
  7. Hope that one day Apple will fix iCloud so that files actually transfer, or their absurd "optimise storage" begins working in a sensible way.

Question marked as Helpful

Jun 24, 2017 12:48 PM in response to Winston Churchill In response to Winston Churchill

Its 2017. I need an easy way make space on my iPhone without having to connect to the laptop, where space is also at a premium. I naively assumed iCloud was that way: keep everything in the cloud and call from any device. But iCloud forces you to keep photos on the phone to keep them in the cloud. This defeats the whole purpose of having infinite storage on the cloud. It's disappointing that Apple hasn't solved this obvious problem forcing users to depend on third party solutions.

Question marked as Helpful

Jan 17, 2017 2:55 AM in response to GustavoSimon In response to GustavoSimon

At the risk of wasting my time responding to silly answers to threads that are 6 months old, I do so, so that others may avoid losing photos because of this nonsense.


When you save photos to a shared album they are saved at a reduced resolution, so if you decide to delete all the photos from your library and rely on the copy in the shared album you won't have the original copy and you may not be able to use the photo for whatever you wanted to do with it because it is of too low a quality.

Question marked as Helpful

Jul 1, 2017 7:46 AM in response to LACAllen In response to LACAllen

It remains the fact that icloud is an incomplete, dumb and brutish syncing service. Mighty Apple should be able to offer some additional features like the possibility to delete photos on one device without touching those in the cloud. They are almost 1 trillion worth, for chrissakes.

Question marked as Helpful

Jan 16, 2017 5:16 PM in response to iSmorris In response to iSmorris

Well....that's partially true. But....


When you go to your iPhone Settings>iCloud>Photos you'll have three options:


iCloud Library: super lazy mode

New photos: lazy mode

Shared Albums: diligent mode


So... the response you got above is true for Super Lazy mode (and I assume for lazy mode too, since I haven't used it). But if you use the Shared Albums mode you can actually create albums in your iCloud and fill them with photos/videos that will remain in the cloud even if you delete them from your device. You don't even have to share the albums, just create and fill them.


In the spirit of not being lazy, you can use ANY of the three modes and then go to your Mac and DOWNLOAD your content locally. It will also remain on your local hard drive even if you delete it from your iPhone.


If you're desperate and feed up with the cloud, you can plug your iPhone into your computer open Photos, iPhoto, Image Capture (or whatever they have now on those Windows thingys these days... if you use that) and import your content as if it was a digital camera. Then you can delete it from your iPhone and guess what... It will remain in your computer.


But the clue is stop being lazy.... and I speak for all of us.

There’s more to the conversation

Read all replies
Question marked as Apple recommended

Jul 3, 2016 1:40 AM in response to iSmorris In response to iSmorris

With iCloud Photo Library enabled, you cannot delete a photo on one device (or at iCloud.com) without deleting it from every device that uses iCloud photo library (and iCloud.com). In order to save space on your mobile devices (and indeed your Mac if you wish to do so) turn on optimisation for photos on these devices (settings > photos & camera > optimise storage on your mobile device and Photo preferences > optimise storage on your Mac)

Optimisation is dynamic, it reduces the resolution of your photos as and when needed, so you may not notice it occurring at first. However when it is needed, it is very effective and users have reported libraries being optimised to much less than 10% of their original size in some cases. My own library is about 9% of its original size on my phone.

Jul 3, 2016 1:40 AM

Reply Helpful (11)
Question marked as Helpful

Jan 16, 2017 5:16 PM in response to iSmorris In response to iSmorris

Well....that's partially true. But....


When you go to your iPhone Settings>iCloud>Photos you'll have three options:


iCloud Library: super lazy mode

New photos: lazy mode

Shared Albums: diligent mode


So... the response you got above is true for Super Lazy mode (and I assume for lazy mode too, since I haven't used it). But if you use the Shared Albums mode you can actually create albums in your iCloud and fill them with photos/videos that will remain in the cloud even if you delete them from your device. You don't even have to share the albums, just create and fill them.


In the spirit of not being lazy, you can use ANY of the three modes and then go to your Mac and DOWNLOAD your content locally. It will also remain on your local hard drive even if you delete it from your iPhone.


If you're desperate and feed up with the cloud, you can plug your iPhone into your computer open Photos, iPhoto, Image Capture (or whatever they have now on those Windows thingys these days... if you use that) and import your content as if it was a digital camera. Then you can delete it from your iPhone and guess what... It will remain in your computer.


But the clue is stop being lazy.... and I speak for all of us.

Jan 16, 2017 5:16 PM

Reply Helpful (7)
Question marked as Helpful

Jan 17, 2017 2:55 AM in response to GustavoSimon In response to GustavoSimon

At the risk of wasting my time responding to silly answers to threads that are 6 months old, I do so, so that others may avoid losing photos because of this nonsense.


When you save photos to a shared album they are saved at a reduced resolution, so if you decide to delete all the photos from your library and rely on the copy in the shared album you won't have the original copy and you may not be able to use the photo for whatever you wanted to do with it because it is of too low a quality.

Jan 17, 2017 2:55 AM

Reply Helpful (10)
Question marked as Helpful

Apr 5, 2017 8:17 PM in response to iSmorris In response to iSmorris

Given that iCloud photo sync simply does not work the way that Apple says it does, the best option is to:

  1. Turn it off on your phone
  2. Take photos on your phone
  3. Plug your phone into your mac
  4. Copy all the photos to your mac using the Photos app
  5. Disconnect your phone
  6. Delete the photos on your phone to free up storage.
  7. Hope that one day Apple will fix iCloud so that files actually transfer, or their absurd "optimise storage" begins working in a sensible way.

Apr 5, 2017 8:17 PM

Reply Helpful (31)

Jun 14, 2017 7:40 AM in response to lohmdj1 In response to lohmdj1

lohmdj1 wrote:


And what if you already have photos on the phone that you want to save, but want to take off the phone to make room for more?

Stop using iPhoto (cloud) Library and use one of the other cloud storage/backup options. (e.g., I use Box.)


Copy your photos to a thumb drive or external HD.

Jun 14, 2017 7:40 AM

Reply Helpful (3)
Question marked as Helpful

Jun 24, 2017 12:48 PM in response to Winston Churchill In response to Winston Churchill

Its 2017. I need an easy way make space on my iPhone without having to connect to the laptop, where space is also at a premium. I naively assumed iCloud was that way: keep everything in the cloud and call from any device. But iCloud forces you to keep photos on the phone to keep them in the cloud. This defeats the whole purpose of having infinite storage on the cloud. It's disappointing that Apple hasn't solved this obvious problem forcing users to depend on third party solutions.

Jun 24, 2017 12:48 PM

Reply Helpful (21)

Jun 24, 2017 1:13 PM in response to RikinSeattle In response to RikinSeattle

I naively assumed iCloud was that way: keep everything in the cloud and call from any device.

True dat.


But iCloud forces you to keep photos on the phone to keep them in the cloud.


It's not really forced on you if that's the way it's designed. Using iCloud is a choice you made. How on earth were you forced in to that choice ?


It's disappointing that Apple hasn't solved this obvious problem forcing users to depend on third party solutions.

There is no problem to solve. iCloud is NOT off device storage and has never claimed to be. It is a syncing service. Multiple copies of your content in multiple places, all synced in near real time.


You can use a 3rd party option by choice.

Jun 24, 2017 1:13 PM

Reply Helpful
Question marked as Helpful

Jul 1, 2017 7:46 AM in response to LACAllen In response to LACAllen

It remains the fact that icloud is an incomplete, dumb and brutish syncing service. Mighty Apple should be able to offer some additional features like the possibility to delete photos on one device without touching those in the cloud. They are almost 1 trillion worth, for chrissakes.

Jul 1, 2017 7:46 AM

Reply Helpful (8)

Jul 1, 2017 8:43 AM in response to androne In response to androne

Apple should be able to offer some additional features like the possibility to delete photos on one device without touching those in the cloud.

But it doesn't at this moment.


They are almost 1 trillion worth, for chrissakes.

How is this in any way relevant to the features of their offerings?



Nobody here disputes your point that a feature you want is missing. This is simply not the place to bemoan it. This community is for technical assistance, not an agent for change.


Feedback for Apple goes here >>> http://www.apple.com/feedback/

Jul 1, 2017 8:43 AM

Reply Helpful

Jul 2, 2017 7:33 PM in response to LACAllen In response to LACAllen

Feedback for Apple goes here >>> http://www.apple.com/feedback/


I've submitted to this hundreds of times. Bugs mostly, for all their software that doesn't work like they say it does - you know, iCloud, the App Store, Siri, and so on. Pretty sure it submits whatever you type in into a black hole, since years go by and the same dumb bugs are still there.

Jul 2, 2017 7:33 PM

Reply Helpful (3)
User profile for user: iSmorris

Question: Delete Photos Just Off iPhone, Not iCloud