I have deleted ~25,000 photos and videos from iPhone. They're now in 'Recently Deleted', and I want them permanently gone so I can transfer the remaining contents of the iPhone to a new iPhone.

When I click 'Empty' from settings, it takes some time, but the photos don't go anywhere, and the storage level of the iPhone doesn't indicate deletion.

How can I be sure 'Recently Deleted' is emptied properly?

  • I have experienced that this deletion process takes quite some time. Sometimes a restart also helps.
    – X_841
    Mar 11, 2021 at 7:48

1 Answer 1


Here's what I did

Go into Photos -> Recently Deleted

Click 'Select' (top right)

Slide your finger from the photo at the very bottom of the screen up to the top of screen (without lifting your finger), this should select everything on the screen, and now hold your finger at the top of the screen until all the photos in Recently Deleted have been selected, then press 'Delete'

Tip: if you have a lot of photos to delete, before doing the above, press on the three dots (...) on the top right and zoom out, that will allow you to select more photos per minute.

Note: for 25000 items, this took approximately 9 minutes.

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