Pictures can take up a lot of space on an iOS device so it’s a fairly reasonable thing to want to delete them all from an iPhone to . We’ll cover a few of the easiest ways to delete all the pictures, some directly on the iPhone itself, and the others you’ll need to connect the iPhone to the computer and delete everything with a bundled app like Image Capture or Explorer. Newer versions of iOS have improved their photo management capabilities, so if you’re on iOS 6 or later there’s a particularly easy option available to you.
Before proceeding, you’ll probably want to transfer all pictures from the iPhone to the computer beforehand, otherwise you won’t have any backups stored on the computer or the iPhone itself. If you’re going to be connecting it to a computer anyway to trash the pictures, you really should back them up first as part of that process.
Delete ALL Photos Directly from the iPhone
This is the best and quickest option available, but it is limited to iOS 6 or later. This limitation is because, for whatever reason, Photos wasn’t included in the prior to the newest iOS versions, despite being counted against , so you can’t just easily swipe to delete all the images from a central location like you can . That has changed with the latest versions though, and here is how to use this excellent feature:
- Open Settings app and then go to “General” followed by “Usage”
- Choose “Photos & Camera” from the list, this will also show you
- Use a left or right swiping gesture on the album to reveal a red “Delete” button
Swipe on “Camera Roll” to delete ALL photos from the iPhone, swipe on “Photo Library” to delete just pictures that are synced with a desktop, and swipe on Photo Stream if you want to remove everything from the shared streams.
This method is by far the fastest approach since it doesn’t require any syncing, manual removal, or computer use, but as we mentioned it is not available to all iOS users as it only arrived in iOS 6 and in later versions.
Delete Photos from the iPhone Itself
The third, and perhaps most obvious option, is to delete photos from the iPhone itself. This is done directly in the Photos app, and all you need to do is select which pictures to trash in your Camera Roll or any photo album. The select deletion option is available to all iOS versions:
- Open Photos app and go to Camera Roll or the album to delete images from
- Tap the [>] Edit arrow action button in the corner to select multiple pictures
- Tap directly on every picture you want to delete, select as many as you want, multitouch works to select groups at once
- When satisfied with the selections, tap the red “Delete” button in the corner, followed by the “Delete Selected Photos” button to immediately remove them from the iPhone
Of course these iOS-based approaches work aside from the iPhone as well, and this is obviously better if you want to be removing pictures from any iOS device while you’re on the go and away from a computer.
Deleting All Photos from iPhone Using a Mac
This works in all versions of Mac OS X:
- Connect the iPhone to the computer via USB
- Launch Image Capture from the /Applications/ folder
- Hit Command+A to Select All pictures within Image Capture, then with all images selected click the red (\) button to delete all photos
- Confirm deletion when asked and be prepared to wait
Now the waiting part, which can take quite a while depending on how many pictures you have. If you have 10GB+ of pictures expect it to take at least an hour to remove them all. The lengthy deletion process seems very inefficient and it’s a bit surprising there isn’t a quicker way to delete all pictures from an iOS device in one fell swoop. Also, once you start deleting the images, there’s no cancel button. It’s safe to say there’s room for improvement with this entire process, which is identical whether you’re on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
If anyone knows a better way for Mac, let us know in the comments.
Delete All Photos from iPhone Using Windows PC
This should work in all versions of Windows:
- Connect the iPhone to the computer via USB
- Open ‘My Computer’ and choose “Apple iPhone”
- Open to folders “Internal Storage” and then open “DCIM”, contained within will be a folder containing all photos and videos on the iPhone
- From the folder containing the pictures, select all, then delete
Removing pictures from the iPhone this way through Windows is significantly faster than it is from Mac OS X, probably because Windows treats it like a file system rather than a photo manager.
Thanks to Jason for reminder of how easy it is in Windows.
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