How to delete photos from iCloud to free up space

Unless you are willing to upgrade your iCloud storage, your free 5GB of iCloud storage is not going to last very long. This means constant deleting is going to be necessary, and you may decide that all those pictures of your avocado toast for breakfast don’t need to stay in iCloud. Here’s how to delete photos from iCloud to claw that space back.

Read more: How to access your iCloud photos on any device

QUICK ANSWER

If your device is connected to your iCloud account, then simply deleting the photo(s) from the device will also automatically remove them from iCloud. If your device is not connected to iCloud, you will need to go into iCloud.com and delete the image(s) from there.


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How to delete images from iCloud on your iOS or Mac device

ios enable icloud photos

If your iOS or Mac device is connected to your iCloud account via Photo sharing, then you just have to delete the image(s) from the device itself. Once you do, the device will sync with iCloud on its next scheduled backup, and iCloud’s copy of the photo(s) will delete too. Well, actually, they will be put into a Recently Deleted folder where they will sit for 30 days before being permanently deleted. During those 30 days, you can easily pull the photo(s) out if you want them back.

The iOS method

If you need to nuke an image on your iPhone or iPad, go to the Photos app and locate the photo. In the bottom right-hand corner is a small trash bin. Tap it to delete the image.

ios photo delete

If you want to delete in bulk, go to the grid view of your album and tap the Select button at the top.

ios bulk image delete

Now tap the thumbnails of the pictures you want to go, and a small tick will appear at the corner. Now tap the trash bin icon at the bottom right to delete them.

If the image deletions do not sync with iCloud, go to the Photos app settings and make sure that Photo sharing is turned on.

The Mac method

The method of deletion on a Mac is just as easy and fast. Open the image you want to delete in the Photos app and right-click on it. When the menu pops up, click Delete 1 Photo.

delete image mac

To bulk delete, go to the grid view of the album, hold down the Command key and click the image thumbnails of the ones you want to delete.

macos bulk image delete

Each one will be highlighted in turn. Right-click, and when the menu pops up, click Delete Photos.

If the image deletions do not sync with iCloud, go to the Photos app preferences and ensure that iCloud Photos has been selected.

macos photos icloud tab

How to delete images from iCloud on the web

If you have disconnected your iOS or Mac device from iCloud photo sharing, then you will need to delete the images directly in iCloud to get rid of them. For this, you need iCloud.com in your browser and the Photos section.

icloud.com photos

Go to the image you want to delete and click the trash icon at the top-right.

delete image icloud.com

No. Turning off iCloud photo sharing will merely result in the device and iCloud not syncing anymore. The images on both the device and iCloud will remain unchanged, and any additions and deletions on the device will not be reflected on iCloud.

No, once they are permanently deleted, they are gone forever.

If the phone is connected to the iCloud account, then any deletions on the phone are immediately reflected on iCloud. To stop this from happening, you would have to switch off iCloud photo sharing.

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