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I use an iPhone 12 mini with iOS 15. I connected the phone to my Windows laptop and I removed all the files I could see on Windows explorer. However, the photo app takes 28GB, how is it possible?


The photo app takes 28GB:

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I don't see any shared albums in the photo app:

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My iCloud capability is capped to 5GB:

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After connecting the iPhone to Windows, I saw many folders in the DCIM folder, and I removed all the files:

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  • Has someone shared albums with you? Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 22:46
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    @JaimeSantaCruz thanks, I don't see any shared albums in the photo app: i.sstatic.net/yNb05.png Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 23:57
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    Were the photos moved to "Recently Deleted?" Also, it says you have 700 photos - are those supposed to be deleted?
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 4:03
  • I can't remember the behavior in Windows, but you have to empty the trash after deleting on macOS, maybe you have a hidden Trash folder? Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 14:00
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    @JaimeSantaCruz thanks, I don't see any thrash folder on Windows for the iPhone. I emptied the thrash folder in C:\$Recycle.Bin but that didn't help. Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 16:07

2 Answers 2

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It seems that Windows PC need to use iTunes to access Photos on an iPhone/iPad. Here is what Apple Support says about it (2023):

Import to your Windows PC

You can import photos to your PC by connecting your device to your computer and using the Windows Photos app:

  1. Update to the latest version of iTunes on your PC. Importing photos to your PC requires iTunes 12.5.1 or later.
  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC with a USB cable.
  3. If asked, unlock your iOS or iPadOS device using your passcode.
  4. If you see a prompt on your iOS or iPadOS device asking you to Trust This Computer, tap Trust or Allow to continue.
  5. Then, visit Microsoft's website to learn how to import photos to the Windows Photos app in Windows 10 or Windows 11.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201302

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Why does the photo app take 28GB even though I remove all the files from Windows and my iCloud capability is capped to 5GB?

The issue is caused by the presence of photos and videos on my phone that don't show up when I connect the iPhone to Windows. I don't know why that's the case though. To transfer these files, I use Google Drive or ES Explorer.

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  • Are you saying you found the files and used other apps to sync them or that you just stopped using photos app on the phone? (Perhaps deleting the app to let iOS clean up the files you took off the camera roll instead of the photos sandboxed database?)
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 8 at 17:40

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