I have seen this question on here a few times, but never with a clear answer.

I am using a iPhone 6s with iOS 10.3.3. When I take a picture I want it to be uploaded to my iCloud Photo Library; however I also want to be able to delete that photo from my iPhone while keeping it in iCloud (to free up space for other data).

Is there a way to delete photos from my iPhone’s local storage but not from iCloud Photo Library?


1 Answer 1


Apple’s solution is to manage your storage for you. Under SettingsPhotos & Camera, select to Optimize iPhone Storage.

As long as you have enough local storage, photos will remain on your device. When your iPhone needs the space, high-resolution versions of your photos will be removed from your iPhone; all that is kept then is thumbnails, until you decide to view the photo again.

At that point a device-optimized version of the photo is downloaded from iCloud. A full-resolution version won’t be downloaded until you decide to edit or share the photo.

iCloud Photo Library is a photo-sync service, rather than a backup service, which is why deleting a photo anywhere deletes it everywhere. What you see on your device is what you see in iCloud is what you see on all your devices connected to the service.


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