I have iCloud Photo Library enabled on my iPhone and it is set to be optimised on my iPhone.

How can I delete photos off my iPhone OR is this optimise feature going to do this for me, to free up space on my iPhone?

4 Answers 4


Unfortunately, Apple does not provide that information when you are about to delete a picture or albums. It would be nice if Apple would give us a Help option in the photos app that can also be removed if desired. Furthermore, I am not an expert on this subject but I will provide a sensible answer from my research, rather than making a comment that DOES NOT answer the question. But Hey, everybody is entitled to there opinions and comments.

So here it goes:

How do you eliminate a photo off your iPhone without eliminating it completely from my iCloud Photo Library and other devices?

You can’t, and it’s a little counter-intuitive as to why. You have to twist your head around to how Apple thinks of cloud storage for media. When you use iCloud Photo Library, the “truth” of your library is in the cloud—that means that the accurate, full, current state of all your images and other media are always stored on Apple’s servers, and the various places you can download or view images (Web, iOS, and OS X) are endpoints. (The only point in which that’s not true is when you have images that remain to be uploaded from an endpoint.)

Thus, if you delete an image in any associated app, you’re telling iCloud Photo Library to remove that image from its “truth,” which means to delete it from the central repository and sync that change to all endpoints. You can choose to only store optimized (low-resolution) media in iOS and OS X, but you can’t delete images in one place and expect them to remain elsewhere. And you can’t maintain separate local albums in Photos that aren’t synced. (In OS X, you can use alternate, non-synced libraries, however, choosing them when you launch Photos. In iOS, you can use alternate photo apps that can have their own libraries, too.)

If you want the ability to delete images from an iPhone or any device without deleting it from all your devices, you have to disable iCloud Photo Library and use another form of sync or another service, like Dropbox, Google Photos, or Amazon Cloud Drive.


  • 1
    I cannot believe this is an acceptable business practice. Apple get ur hands out of my goods. You have way too much involvement in my local media affairs. Apr 20, 2018 at 3:19

The optimization feature is supposed to free up space automatically by keeping low res versions of your pictures.

From the Apple support site:

If you turn on Optimize [device] Storage, iCloud Photo Library will automatically manage the size of your library on your device, so you can make the most of your device's storage and access more photos than ever. All of your original, full-resolution photos and videos are stored in iCloud while device-size versions are kept on your device. You can download the original photos and videos over Wi-Fi or cellular when you need them.


First you need to disable iCloud Photo library option from settings and then you can go to iTunes and follow this simple steps to delete entire photos album which you have imported from your computer.

Step #1. Connect your iPhone to your computer with USB cable.

Step #2. Launch iTunes on your computer.

Step #3. Click on iPhone icon.

Step #4. Now click on Photos.

Step #5. Uncheck the Sync Photos box.

Step #6. A pop-up window will ask you to either Remove Photos or Keep Photos.

Step #7. Click on Remove Photos.

Step #8. Finally click on Apply button at the bottom right corner.

Ref:- http://www.igeeksblog.com/how-to-delete-photos-imported-to-iphone-from-pc-mac/

  • Welcome to Ask Different! 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.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 19, 2015 at 10:48
  • I don't want to disable iCloud Photo Library. I want to free up space on my iPhone
    – TheLearner
    Jun 19, 2015 at 12:01
  • 1
    Then Clear “Documents and Data” On iPhone and Free Up Space.
    – Arpan Shah
    Jun 22, 2015 at 6:28

Free Options [with more space]

Google Photos

If you are trying to free up quite a bit of photos without them being a stock app, and not paying for storage, a possible option could be Google Photos. It will remove all photos from your device, sort them, and allow you to stylize them using different tools by Google. It also has a free up storage mode that may provide an easy way do delete the locally stored photos.

Mega.nz (Free Storage)

Another option is also mega.nz may be an option for libraries under 50 GB. It will store all photos in an encrypted cloud for free, generating a key that only you can unlock.

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