How to batch delete photos from your iPhone

THE PROBLEM

I recently ran into a rather big problem in the iOS world.  I completely filled up my phones 32 gigs of memory with photos, and realized to late that it is not terribly efficient to delete them manually on the phone.  I have had my iphone for a couple years and have always chosen the “keep photos” option after downloading the images into iPhoto – which I use solely to manage my iPhone images – preferring Lightroom to manage the library for my ‘big boy’ cameras.

Delete photos from your iphone

iPhoto gives you the option to delete photos after every download, however if you press the “Keep Photos” button as I often did, it will not give you the option to delete those specific images ever again.

 

When my iphone indicated that its’ memory was full, I figured that I could simply plug the iphone into my computer, browse to the iphones photo library in iPhoto or Finder, and delete the photos as a batch.  As it turns out, the iPhone’s iOS is set up in such a way that you cannot browse the iphone’s photo library like you would a digital camera’s memory card using the Finder.  Because the Finder cannot see the iPhone’s photo library, apps like Adobe Bridge and Lightroom also cannot see the iPhones photo library making it impossible to leverage these apps to batch delete the images on my phone.  Not wanting to take the time out of my life to manually delete the images in the iphone’s photo library, I set out looking for another solution to the problem.

THE SOLUTION

The solution of how to delete the photos as a batch from my iphone’s photo library came in the form of a under appreciated native mac os app called image capture.

Image Capture

Image Capture was the only app I could find that could browse the iPhone’s photo library and batch delete the images.

Here is how to use Image Capture to access the iPhone’s photo library and batch delete photos from the phone (Note – This is a Mac solution only)

1 – Plug your iphone into your computer.

2 – Go to Applications>Image Capture

3 – Click on your iphone icon

4 – In the right hand column of Image Capture you will see all the images in your iphone’s photo library load.

5 – Select All (Command+A)

6 – Hit the little red delete icon at the bottom of the Image Capture Window.

7 – Wait patiently as image capture deletes all the images in the iPhone photo library.

Image Capture with iPhone connected

With Image Capture you can browse and batch or singly delete any image in your iPhone’s phones photo library.

 

That’s it!  Easy as pie.

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14 thoughts on “How to batch delete photos from your iPhone”

  1. Hi Johnathan, i follow the idea of what to do, however, where do i aquire the app, “Image Capture”?

    Terence

  2. Hi Terence, On the Mac go to your Applications folder and search for Image Capture. It ships with every mac and should be hiding in there somewhere.

  3. Sorry to hear that Andrew. Will your Mac run 10.6 smoothly? It is well worth the upgrade if it will. Less than $30 if you can still find the disks.

  4. What if I want to delete only some from my iPhone via Image Capture on the computer? it’s easier than going through 400 images and videos on the iPhone one by one. I imported all of the images into the computer via Image Capture and saved them in a folder I created in documents. I was told if I wanted to delete images easily from the iPhone, call up Image Capture and plug in the phone to the computer. Then delete at will. Problem is, I can’t make it work. Nothing will delete. The iPhone is designed as it should be; the phone is plugged in and on. I was told not to delete images from the documents file I created because if I did that, they would be in the trash and thus taken both from the iPhone and the Mac. I want most stored on the computer, and most taken off the iPhone… but not all.

  5. Hi Calvin, You can delete only some of the images instead of all via Image Capture. Follow the above steps – but at step #5 instead of using the “Select All” command, simply hold down the command key and click on the images you wish to delete. Only the images you command+click will get highlighted. Click the little red delete icon when you are ready to blow them away. They will only be deleted off the phone.

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