By Lena / Last update August 12, 2021

iPhone Won’t Let Me Delete Photos

My storage space is full, so I want to delete photos to free up storage space. However, there is no trash icon for some photos and I can’t delete them. Any suggestions? Thank you!

- Question from Reddit

The iPhone and iPad have limited storage space and sometimes we need to take steps to free up space. We can delete Other data or remove some old photos, songs, messages, etc. that we no longer need. However, when you go to the Photos app to delete pictures, you run into an annoying problem like the user above - you can’t find the trash bin to delete certain pictures.

Well, can’t delete photos from iPhone/iPad is a common problem and it’s easy to fix it. In this article, I’ll explain why iPhone won’t delete photos and what methods can be taken to delete these undeletable photos. Let’s get it on.

Why Can’t I Delete Photos from My iPhone/iPad

The main reason you can’t delete photos from iPhone/iPad is that they are synced from other sources.

Photos app will show the pictures stored on the internal storage of your device as well as the pictures synced from other devices or iCloud. Photos taken with the camera or app photos are saved on the phone, and these photos can be deleted directly. However, the pictures synced from iTunes or iCloud can’t be deleted. and that is why you meet such “can’t delete photos from iPhone/iPad” issue.

How to Fix Can’t Delete Photos from iPhone/iPad Problem

As we said before, you can’t delete photos from iPhone/iPad because they are synced from iTunes or iCloud. To delete those photos from the device, you need to stop the sync.

Tip 1. Delete Photos from iPhone Using iTunes

When you let iTunes sync photos to iPhone/iPad, it will erase the existing pictures and then sync the selected pictures to device. To delete unwanted pictures, you can uncheck those pictures and sync again.

1. Run iTunes and plug in your iPhone or iPad.

2. Click the Device tab > Click Photos > Choose Sync Photos.

3. Uncheck the pictures you want to delete from iPhone/iPad > Click Apply or Sync.

Sync Photos Using iTunes

If you want to delete all synced photos from the device, you can create an empty folder on computer and sync the folder via iTunes.

Tip 2. Turn off iCloud Photos to Delete Photos

When iCloud Photos option is enabled, your iPhone will download pictures that have been synced to iCloud from all devices. To delete photos that synced from iCloud, you can turn it off.

Go to Settings > Tap your account > Tap iCloud > Tap Photos > Turn off iCloud Photos (or iCloud Photo Library) or My Photo Stream.

Turn off iCloud Photos

An Easy Way to Transfer Photos between iPhone and Computer

You can’t delete photos from iPhone/iPad directly if they are synced iTunes - that is how it works and we have no choice but to sync again to delete the unwanted photos. It will be troublesome to delete photos like this every time. To avoid such a situation, you may try another tool to help you transfer photos from computer to iPhone or iPad.

AOMEI MBackupper, one professional iOS data backup and transfer tool can do you a favor. It is developed by a team who is focused on data security for more than 10 years. You can let it help you transfer photos, videos and songs from computer to iPhone and vice versa.

How to Transfer Photos to iPhone:

1. Download, install and launch AOMEI MBackupper > Connect your iPhone to computer.

2. Click Transfer to iPhone option.

Transfer to iPhone

3. Click the “+” to browse your computer and choose the photos you want to transfer. Or you can drag and drop needed pictures.

Choose Photos

4. Finally, click Transfer to start.


And that’s it. AOMEI MBackupper will not delete any existing pictures or any other data on your device. If you have lots of photos, you may choose to click Photos Backup to create an image backup for your photos to save time and storage space.


That’s all about how to fix the can’t delete photos from iPhone/iPad problem. Depending on the situation, there are two solutions.

  • If the photos are synced from iTunes, you need to uncheck unwanted photos and sync again.

  • If the photos are synced from iCloud, you can turn off iCloud Photos or My Photo Stream option.

Have any questions about this guide? You can leave them in the comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.