Deleting all photos and videos from your iPhone

Deleting all photos and videos from your iPhone

Summary: If you're running low on space, use this technique to clean out your iPhone quick

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If you have an iPhone, chances are you use it to shoot pictures and videos. In my case, since I upgraded to an iPhone 4, I use it constantly to shoot 720p video and also for still picture taking.

The other day I was shooting, like I normally do, when the iPhone suddenly alerted me to the fact that I was out of space. I found this particularly interesting considering that I have the iPhone 4 with 32GB of space. So that I could finish recording what I wanted, I did some emergency deleting, and then when I connected to my computer later on, it all became clear. Apparently, I had managed to shoot more than 18GB worth of pictures and video! The interesting part, though, is that I had backed it all up to iPhoto on a pretty regular basis, but since I enjoyed looking at the pictures, I kept them on my phone.

Long story short, to free up some space I first spent about 10 minutes manually selecting and deleting photos and videos. Then a quick Google search later yielded this article which describes how you can automatically delete the photos off your iPhone.

If you're not familiar with the process (I wasn't), you use the application Image Capture on your Mac. The nice thing about this technique is that it uses a program that ships on your Mac from the start--in other words, FREE! Here's what I did:

  • Plugged in my iPhone to my computer
  • Opened Image Capture
  • Created a new directory for the photos to go into
  • Selected to "Delete after import"
  • Clicked "Import All"

After that I watched as the numbers of photos remaining decreased. Moments later, I clicked on the photos app on my iPhone, and then the iPhone said it was rebuilding the library. Seconds later and the iPhone was void of all Photos and videos--success!

Since I'm eternally paranoid when it comes to photos, I then dragged the photos that had been imported into iPhoto. This actually caused 10 photos to be imported into iPhoto, so I'm glad I went through the last step.

I haven't tried this on a PC but I'm assuming that if you run an image capture or photo importing program on your PC and treat your iPhone as a digital camera, the same would probably work.

One more thing: if you want to go hard core and copy the entire contents of your iPhone to a directory, check out Phone Disk. That's what I did for my first round, and it definitely made me feel secure knowing that my entire iPhone had been copied safely.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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8 comments
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  • Yes, this works on PC

    Windows Live Photo Gallery is a fantastic program that also offers you the option of deleting after import. I use it all the time.

    On a side note, I have to say that I'm so impressed with the quality of the camera on the iPhone 4. I've always been anti-cell phone camera but to be honest, the pictures I take with my iPhone are only marginally worse than the pictures I take with my digital camera (disclaimer, it isn't an expensive camera). In the end, I'm willing to accept the minor drop in quality for the convenience of not having to carry around a separate device.

    Good job Apple!
    NonZealot
    • RE: Deleting all photos and videos from your iPhone

      @NonZealot Who are you and what have you done with NZ?!?!?! :)
      Gritztastic
  • A simpler way?

    Couldn't you just select the option to sync no photos or videos to your phone from within itunes? Sync up, and you're visual media free.
    ActorMonkey
  • This is why you should use iPhoto instead:

    If you're on a Mac, and it's not a server, then you have iLife that came with it.

    The better option here is to import the photos using iPhoto. It will ask you to delete the photos only after it has imported them all.

    What makes this a better option is that when in iTunes you select "sync photos with iPhoto," iTunes takes the photos you just imported into iTunes and scales them down to a much smaller size for viewing on the iPhone!

    See, the iPhone takes images at a much higher resolution than its screen can display. That's great because you can then make nicer prints or crop them without losing detail.

    But those high resolution images eat up space--just like the author said.

    But if you let iTunes optimize them for the iPhone and put them back, you can still have all your photos available for viewing and showing to your friends, AND still have room to take MORE pictures, too.
    lelandhendrix@...
  • Using iPhoto instead

    If you're on a Mac, and it's not a server, then you have iLife that came with it.

    The better option here is to import the photos using iPhoto. It will ask you to delete the photos only after it has imported them all.

    What makes this a better option is that when in iTunes you select "sync photos with iPhoto," iTunes takes the photos you just imported into iTunes and scales them down to a much smaller size for viewing on the iPhone!

    See, the iPhone takes images at a much higher resolution than its screen can display. That's great because you can then make nicer prints or crop them without losing detail.

    But those high resolution images eat up space--just like the author said.

    But if you let iTunes optimize them for the iPhone and put them back, you can still have all your photos available for viewing and showing to your friends, AND still have room to take MORE pictures, too.
    lelandhendrix@...
  • What about DELETING WHAT YOU AREN'T USING

    For example, movies you already watched and songs you don't like?

    Deleting a 2MB picture is stupid when a you can easily clear out 800+MB by just deleting ONE movie.
    wackoae
  • RE: Deleting all photos and videos from your iPhone

    Easy.
    james347
  • RE: Deleting all photos and videos from your iPhone

    Works perfectly. Thanks for this. I couldn't find any other way of doing it. High five !
    byol-nz