Whenever I go to sync my photos to my computer I see all "pocket photos", screenshots no longer needed, and duplicate shots I'd prefer to delete. However I can't do this from my computer where it would be sooooo much easier. This is not just because of the UX, but also because you can see the images larger.

I don't want to waste double the space on my phone and computer and have to do double work. I also don't want to spend my time crouched over my phone inspecting and slowly poking with my finger when I have a full screen, keyboard and mouse interface at my disposal.

[Aside: The conspiracy theorist/negative karma in me believes apple sets this up intentionally so you run out of space faster and need to buy icloud storage or devices with larger and larger storage the next time around.]


Use Image Capture in the Applications folder. Connect your device and choose it from the sidebar, then select the photos you wish to delete and click the 🚫 icon at the bottom.

You can switch the view from list to thumbnails at the bottom too and increase the size of the thumbnails using the slider. Use ⇧-click and ⌘-click as usual to select multiple photos for batch deletion.

  • This looked very promising, but the "delete option" is 'greyed out' in the menu and ctrl click and I don't see the 🚫 icon. :( – Shwaydogg Jun 6 '17 at 20:35
  • @Shwaydogg Do you have iCloud Photo Library enabled? There's no manual management of photos if you do since they sync over iCloud. – grg Jun 6 '17 at 20:48

I've had this problem for a while too, and finally after trying out a bunch of solutions I came to the conclusion that I need to turn off "My Photo Stream" on the Photos app on the Mac, but leave it on in my iOS devices.

So the workflow will be:

  1. Turn off My Photo Stream on macOS
  2. Take photos on iPhone
  3. Edit photos on iPhone
  4. Connect iPhone to Mac and open Photos and import all the new photos, tick "Delete after importing" if you wish.
  5. Now the Photos on your Mac will only contain the filtered and edited photos.

This is because the way it works on iOS is that the "My Photo Stream" section there is separated from the main library, however, in macOS "My Photo Stream" is immediately imported, therefore you'll have to do double the work if you turn this on.

If anyone else found a better solution, I'd love to hear it, but I think this is what Apple intended to do.

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