I have an iPhone 5S running iOS 8.1.3. I have removed all photos from the phone (i.e. the Camera Roll is empty). However, under Settings -> General -> Usage -> Manage Storage, it reports that 1.9 GB is still in use for Photos & Camera. Specifically, underneath that, it reports that 1.9 GB is being used for the Photo Library (which is ostensibly empty). This is a large chunk of the storage on my 16 GB phone!

I have tried doing a factory reset of the phone and restoring from backup, with no effect; it still reports the excessive storage usage. I've checked the following:

  • The Photo Library (and Recently Deleted) is empty.

  • Photo Stream is not enabled.

  • iCloud "Photos" is not enabled.

  • There is no photo sharing of any kind enabled.

Is there anything else that I should look at to determine why the incorrect amount of usage is being reported?

  • Did you check in Recently Deleted? Deletes will sit in there for a month if you don't empty it manually.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 16:02
  • 1
    @Tetsujin: Thanks for the idea. I meant to put that in my question; I did check there and manually flushed everything already.
    – Jason R
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 16:19
  • This happens on my phone, and my wife's phone. I still don't have a solution. I pulled every photo and video off the phone using iPhoto (which I hate), and then deleted all of the photos. Then I deleted any folder that existed, even if it said 0 pictures. I still have 2.3GB used and no photos on the phone that I can see.
    – GregB
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 2:14
  • @Tetsujin, Where is "Recently Deleted"?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:13
  • @Pacerier - last folder in Albums
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 6:23

5 Answers 5


apparently the "recently deleted"-feature in iOS8 is broken. Photos you've deleted don't disappear after 30 days, they're just hidden on your device. The storage being used isn't "phantom usage", since the photos are still safely stored. The easiest short term solution is to set back your date on the phone month by month (until the release of iOS8), and your deleted photos will reappear in the "recently deleted"-folder. There you can manually and permanently delete them.

As long you regularly delete all "recently deleted" images, your storage won't clog up.

If you want to get an overview of the photos on your iphone just download iexplorer. There you'll see all of them, even those you can't see on your iphone.

Here's a blog post about the issue: https://blog.tmoehle.de/ios-photo-problem/


  • 1
    Excellent, this worked perfectly! Hopefully Apple gets this bug resolved.
    – Jason R
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 15:18

There's a bug where Recently Deleted doesn't include all deleted photos. The workaround is to set the clock back: https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-8281

You might also check Messages app, where many photo attachments can be hiding. For each thread, tap Details, scroll down to the attachments, long tap (tap-and-hold) one of them, tap More… in the edit menu, then you can choose photos and delete them.


This issue did occur on the iOS 13.1 as well, after backing up and deleting all my photos (not to iCloud). A change of the date to few days back, and restoring the date to the correct one resolved the issue.


Although annoying that its incorrectly reported, I would think that if it came to actually needing that space for other data, the phone should then overwrite the so called "Photo Library" and allow you to use that memory

  • 2
    Unfortunately, it doesn't do that. The phone behaves as if the phantom space is actually being used, reporting that there is no remaining storage if the rest of the space gets used.
    – Jason R
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 15:43

i had same problem and found this video on YouTube


it helped ;)

Its actually your delete photos.

In some iPhone's your photos don't get deleted it self you have to go an d delete then manually by changing date setting...

  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.
    – grg
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 18:48
  • @grgarside i have given fare idea why this happen ;) ..... its because of bug in iOS ... just need to trick and delete that photos by changing date settings ;) and there is no need to down vote for that you could have ask me ... I JUST ANSWER THIS ON THE FLY
    – Harinder
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 18:53

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