Where Do AirDrop Files & Photos Go?
Discover two easy ways to delete photos from iPhone and keep them on iCloud. Additionally, explore alternative solutions for photo management.
iCloud allows you to seamlessly sync and store your photos across multiple devices, providing a convenient backup solution for your precious memories. However, sometimes you may want to remove photos from iPhone but not iCloud to declutter your device's local storage.
Doing so can be a bit tricky, as the default settings on your iPhone are designed to synchronize photos between your iOS devices and iCloud. It means that when you delete photos from iPhone, it will be deleted from iCloud unless the iCloud Photos feature is disabled.
Luckily, with the right approach, you can delete photos from iPhone and keep on iCloud. In this guide, we'll show you two simple ways to delete photos from your iPhone while ensuring they remain accessible in your iCloud account.
Tip: If your iCloud storage (5GB for free) is full, you can use iCloud alternatives like Google Drive, or a desktop software iPhone Data Transfer to back up photos to your computer.
Table of Contents
The easiest way to delete photos from iPhone but not iCloud: Turn off iCloud Photos
How to delete photos on iPhone but not iCloud: Using another iCloud account
iCloud says not enough storage? Try other solutions to backup/manage iPhone photos
To free up storage space on your device, you may want to move photos from iPhone to iCloud and then delete them locally.
However, with the iCloud Photos feature enabled, all the photos and videos you capture or import on your Apple devices are automatically uploaded and synced across all your devices connected to the same iCloud account.
So, when you take a photo on your iPhone, it will be instantly available on your iPad and Mac as well. And when you delete photos from iPhone they will not still be on iCloud.
Here're the steps on how to delete photos from iPhone but not iCloud.
1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
2. Tap on your Apple ID banner at the top of the screen.
3. In the Apple ID settings, tap on "iCloud."
4. Scroll down and locate the "Photos" option. Tap on it.
5. On the next screen, you will see the "Sync this iPhone" toggle switch. By default, it is enabled. Tap on the toggle switch to turn it off.
Tip: Once you've enabled "Optimize iPhone Storage," a pop-up message will appear. If you choose to "Remove from iPhone," your photos and videos will be deleted from iPhone but keep on iCloud. If you select "Download Photos & Videos," it will download a copy of your iCloud Photos to your iPhone before turning off iCloud Photos.
When you want to delete pictures from iPhone but not iCloud, the next approach is to use another iCloud account for not manage your iPhone photos including deleting them.
By following these steps, you can delete photos from your iPhone while preserving them in your primary iCloud account:
1. Going to "Settings," then tap [Your Name] > Sign Out
2. Confirm the sign-out and enter your current iCloud account password.
In the next screen, it will ask if you want to keep a copy of your iCloud data on your iPhone. Select the appropriate option based on your preference.
Learn more: How to transfer photos from Mac to iPhone
3. Once signed out, go back to the main "Settings" screen.
4. Tap "Sign in to your iPhone."
5. Choose the option to create a new Apple ID or use an existing one.
6. After signing in with the new iCloud ID, you can confidently proceed to delete photos from your iPhone without worrying about the disappearance of those photos in the old iCloud account.
When your iCloud storage reaches its limit, your iPhone may no longer be able to automatically save photos to iCloud Photos, leading to potential issues with further management such as deleting. Fortunately, there are alternative solutions to help you effectively upload and delete photos from your iPhone but keep them in iCloud.
Read more: How to transfer photos from iPhone to external hard drive
Unlike iCloud, which, by default, synchronizes and deletes iPhone photos across all devices, there are several cloud services that offer the ability to delete photos from iPhone without deleting from cloud. Here are three popular cloud services along with their key features.
If you prefer to have better control over your photos, faster transfer speeds, and the ability to offline access, backing up photos from your iPhone to a computer using iPhone Data Transfer is a great solution. With this tool, you can store your photos locally and have complete control over which photos to delete from your iPhone but not iCloud.
By following these steps below, you can establish a reliable backup solution that bypasses the need for cloud services while keeping your iPhone photos safely stored on your computer. Here we'll use a Windows computer as an example.
1. Begin by connecting your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
2. Open iPhone Data Transfer on your computer, then it should automatically detect your connected iPhone. If prompted, follow any on-screen instructions to unlock, trust the computer and allow access to your iPhone.
3. Click on the "Photos" option, then select the albums or specific photos you want to back up to your Windows computer.
4. Hit the "Export to PC" button and choose a destination folder on your computer where you want to save the photos from iPhone.
You can also go to "Home," then select "Device to PC" to back up all your photos from your iPhone to your computer. By default, all items are checked, you can keep photos only, then select the location on the right, and then click "Start" to begin.
If you don't have a PC computer, you can move photos from iPhone to MacBook using this software as well.