Hey Apple, let me control my iCloud Photo Library

Compared to many people I know, I don’t have a very large photo library. With about 1,300 photos, it takes up just under 6GB on my iMac. Many of my friends have thousands of photos and videos, and their libraries take up tens of gigabytes. But I don’t have any young children, and I don’t shoot a lot of photos when I’m out and about. (I do have two cats, one a kitten, who’s been getting snapped lately though.)

I recently noticed that my iPod touch, which I use for listening to music and for testing iOS betas, was running out of space. The culprit was my iCloud Photo Library. Even though I had the device set to optimize iPhone storage and not download all my photos, it was doing the latter. It had apparently downloaded all my original photos and videos, all 6GB of them. On a 32GB device, which also contains apps and music, that’s quite a lot of storage used up.

I decided I should turn off iCloud Photo Library on that device and delete all the photos. But you can’t do that; at least not easily. If you turn off iCloud Photo Library, the device retains all the photos and videos. And while I could manually delete each one of them, that was a time-consuming process.

There’s no way to mass delete photos on an iOS device.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

14 thoughts on “Hey Apple, let me control my iCloud Photo Library

  1. You are partly right, you can’t mass delete it from the device itself, but if you connect it to your mac, open Image Capture utility and select your device you sure can mass delete photos and videos

  2. You are partly right, you can’t mass delete it from the device itself, but if you connect it to your mac, open Image Capture utility and select your device you sure can mass delete photos and videos

  3. Actually, you *can* mass-delete photos on the device in iOS. To do so: open the “All Photos” album in the top left of the Albums list. Tap ‘select’ in the top right. Now, tap and drag your finger without lifting, selecting all the photos between the initial touch and your current finger position (like dragging a lasso on macOS). Then, tap the trash icon. (You can also tap or tap and drag to unselect, if needed.)

    Hope that helps!

  4. Actually, you *can* mass-delete photos on the device in iOS. To do so: open the “All Photos” album in the top left of the Albums list. Tap ‘select’ in the top right. Now, tap and drag your finger without lifting, selecting all the photos between the initial touch and your current finger position (like dragging a lasso on macOS). Then, tap the trash icon. (You can also tap or tap and drag to unselect, if needed.)

    Hope that helps!

  5. I hope Apple listens to Kirk. Many of us have been banging on about this for some time. I have a desktop mac and will probably give the Image Capture solution a go with my iPhone. But I don’t want to risk losing my photo library and something I’ve noticed about photos on iCloud is that any change you make on one device is reflected in all the others. So I need to be reassured that using Image Capture to delete all the photos from my iPhone would not cause them to be deleted from my library in iCloud (or by extension, the mac itself).

    • You have to a) make sure all the originals are on your Mac, and b) turn off iCloud Photo Library before deleting the photos on the iPhone.

      • Brilliant! Thanks. Hopefully when you turn iCloud Photo Library back on they won’t all immediately stream back on to the phone. Only the ones you select to view will download, right?

  6. I hope Apple listens to Kirk. Many of us have been banging on about this for some time. I have a desktop mac and will probably give the Image Capture solution a go with my iPhone. But I don’t want to risk losing my photo library and something I’ve noticed about photos on iCloud is that any change you make on one device is reflected in all the others. So I need to be reassured that using Image Capture to delete all the photos from my iPhone would not cause them to be deleted from my library in iCloud (or by extension, the mac itself).

    • You have to a) make sure all the originals are on your Mac, and b) turn off iCloud Photo Library before deleting the photos on the iPhone.

      • Brilliant! Thanks. Hopefully when you turn iCloud Photo Library back on they won’t all immediately stream back on to the phone. Only the ones you select to view will download, right?

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