[2024] How to Fix Unable to Delete iPhone Photos

Want to delete iPhone photos but find there is no deletion icon available? If you are unable to delete iPhone photos, just try the solutions mentioned in this guide.


By Demi / Updated on December 29, 2023

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Unable to delete photos from my iPhone

I tried everything to “empty” out one of the albums on my iPhone Photos app but it just wouldn’t let me delete the photos at all! What does such a simple task “deleting photos” seems so complicated :( Any suggestions?

- Question from Apple Community

Your iPhone has limited storage space, and you should know that your photos have taken up a large part of the storage space. Therefore, you may want to delete unwanted photos to organize photo library so that you can free up storage space more or less. However, you may run into an annoying problem like the user above - you are unable to delete iPhone photos. How come you encounter such issue, and how can you fix it? Keep reading this guide to find answers.

Why you are unable to delete iPhone photos?

Just like the picture below shows to you, when you intend to delete the photos, there will be no deletion icon available, let alone deleting them from iPhone. The main causes that will result in the issue are as below.

unable to delete iPhone photos

❌ The photos are saved in iCloud.
The photos you want to delete may be saved in iCloud. iPhone locally does not have physical but only readable files. If that's the case, you can't edit or delete those photos on iPhone.

❌ Your iPhone storage is full.
If your iPhone storage is almost full, you may want to delete photos to free up space. However, chances are that your iPhone storage is too full to perform the deletion task.

❌ Transfer/Sync photos to iPhone using iTunes or third-party transfer software.
If the photos were transferred or synced from iTunes or third-party data transfer software, these photos will be saved in the “From My Mac” album in your iPhone Photos app and won’t be edited or deleted.

From My Mac album

When you use PC version of FoneTool to transfer photos PC to iPhone, if you do not choose to install FoneTool App to assist PC to transfer photos to iPhone, but directly transfer photos to iPhone through PC version of FoneTool directly, you can’t delete transferred photos on iPhone, either.

Fixes to unable to delete iPhone photos

If you are in one of the situations above, just try the following solutions below to delete photos from your iPhone.

Fix 1. Turn off iCloud Photos

If your iPhone won’t delete photos, check if iCloud Photos is enabled. If it is, you can turn it off to delete photos that synced from iCloud. Here are the steps.

Go to Settings on your iPhone > Tap [your name] > Select iCloud > Tap Photos > Toggle off the switch beside iCloud Photos.

iCloud Photos

Fix 2. Delete photos by syncing iPhone to iTunes

When unable to delete synced photos from iPhone, you can rely on the iTunes sync function. If you sync photos to iPhone using iTunes, it will firstly remove all the previous photos from your iPhone, and then sync the photos you’ve selected. Here are how to do with it.

Step 1. Run iTunes and connect your iPhone to computer with USB.

Step 2. On iTunes, click the phone icon > Click Photos from the left pane > Check Sync Photos.

Step 3. Uncheck the album or specific photos you want to delete from iPhone > Click Apply or Sync.

sync photos using iTunes

You can also create an empty folder on computer and sync the folder via iTunes to delete photos from iPhone.

If you want to keep some of the photos on the album on your iPhone, you can backup iPhone photos using the tool mentioned in the Bonus part.

Fix 3. Check iPhone storage suggestion

If you fail to delete photos to free up iPhone storage, you can go to Settings to check iPhone storage suggestion to free up space first, and delete photos later.

You can go to Settings on your iPhone > Tap General > Tap iPhone Storage to have a check.

iPhone storage suggestions

Bonus: How to backup selective photos from iPhone to PC

If you are worried about deleting needed photos by mistake, it is suggested you to try FoneTool, the professional iOS data backup and transfer software, to do you a favor. It could perfectly help you backup and restore wanted photos with simple operations.

Step to backup iPhone photos to PC
Step 1. Download, install, and open FoneTool > Connect your iPhone to computer with USB.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Click Phone Backup from the homepage > Mouse over to Selective Backup and click Get Started.

selective backup

Step 3. Check the Photos icon to view and choose the photos you’d like to backup > Click OK to confirm.

select pictures

Step 4. Finally, choose a destination, and click Start Backup to begin the task.

click start backup

FoneTool is also the best free software to transfer photos from iPhone to PC, and vice versa to help you transfer files without annoying situations like unable to delete iPhone Photos.


This issue - unable to delete iPhone photos happens mainly because the photos were synced via iCloud, iTunes, or third-party software. Hope the solutions in this guide can help you out. If this guide is helpful, remember to share it with others.