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iPhone Won't Delete Photos? 6 Solutions to Fix It

Your iPhone storage is running low and you want to remove some photos to free up the space. But you can't delete photos as the deleted files still exist in the Photos app. Well, you are not alone. Several other iPhone users also have experienced this problem.

Fortunately, iPhone won't delete photos error can be easily solved by trying a few fixes. Keep going through to learn how to get rid of this annoying issue!

iPhone Won’t Delete Photos!

Primarily, your iPhone won't let you delete photos for two reasons. They are:

Why Won’t My iPhone Let Me Delete Photos?

  • The photos you want to delete are synced with iTunes/Finder: You can synced photos from iPhone to your computer with iTunes or Finder. These photos can’t be removed directly from iPhone.
  • The photos you are trying to delete are stored in iCloud: Do you have the iCloud Photos feature turned on? If so, you might not be able to remove the photos from the iPhone as they are stored on iCloud storage.

Why does deleted photos come back?

When you disable iCloud Photos feature and enable it again, the copied document of iCloud Photo Library will be uploaded to your iPhone. That’s also the reason why deleted photos come back.

How to Fix iPhone Won’t Delete Photos Error

Now you know the primary reasons that can prevent the iPhone from deleting the photos directly, let's explore the possible solutions.

1. Delete iPhone Photos Using iTunes

If your iPhone photos are synced to computer with iTunes or Finder, you will be required to connect your iPhone to delete the photos. Here is how to do this:

  • Connect your iPhone to the computer utilizing a lightning cable.
  • Open the iTunes (or Finder) app on your PC/Mac and then click on the iPhone icon.
  • Now go to Photos and find the photos you want to remove.
  • Unselect the photos and sync the iPhone again to complete the procedure.

sync photos using itunes

2. Turn Off iCloud Photos to Delete Photos

If your photos are not synced with iTunes or Finder but you still can’t delete photos from iPhone, you should check if iCloud Photos is turned ON. Having the iCloud Photos enabled on your iPhone can also prevent the photos from deleting. Here is how to turn it off:

  • Open Settings and press on your name.
  • Now tap on “iCloud.”
  • Find “iCloud Photos” and make sure the toggle next to it is set to off.

turn off icloud photos iphone

3. Restart Your iPhone

Sometimes you might not be able to delete the photos from your iPhone because of some minor software glitches. Restarting the device can help to get rid of it. Here is how to restart your iPhone:

  • For iPhone with Face ID: Tap and hold the Side button with one of the Volume buttons until you see "slide to power off." Now release the button and swipe the power icon to power off the iPhone. After a couple of seconds, tap and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo.
  • For iPhone without Face ID: Tap and hold the power button and wait until you see "slide to power off." Then release the button and swipe the power icon to turn off the device. After a while, tap and hold the Power button until you see the Apple logo.

restart iphone

4. Update Your iPhone

If your iPhone is running on an outdated iOS version, it's normal to face issues like this more often. So, you should consider updating your iPhone to the latest version:

  • Open Settings on your iPhone and browse to “General.”
  • Find and open “Software Update.”
  • If there is an update available, press "Download and Install."

update ios version

5. Free Up iPhone Storage

You might not be able to delete the photos from your iPhone when the storage is full. Consider deleting some files to clean up some space. Here is how to check the storage of your iPhone:

  • Open the iPhone’s Settings and go to “General.”
  • Find and open “iPhone Storage.”
  • Now, you will see the storage condition and recommendations to free the space.

check iphone storage

You will also find the Recently Deleted Photos album there. Consider permanently deleting all the photos under the album. You can also delete other files like documents, videos, audios, etc., from Files that are not required to optimize the storage.

6. Contact Apple Support Center

If the solutions above don’t work for you, you can go to Apple support team to repair your iPhone. Any software and hardware issues causing this iPhone issue can be easily fixed by Apple’s technician team.

Important: Back Up Photos Before Deleting

You might be hesitant about deleting the photos from your iPhone just to release some storage. To avoid mistakenly deleting some important photos on your iPhone, you can first back up them to your computer instead of iCloud. You can use FoneGeek iOS Backup & Restore to export and backup photos to PC/Mac in one click. Whether you want a full backup of all files or a selective backup, this tool can help.

Here are the top features of the FoneGeek iOS Backup & Restore tool:

  • Support 20+ files, including photos, videos, contacts, SMS, etc.
  • Powerful and free tool; no risk of data loss.
  • Support convenient selective backup and restoration.
  • Transfer files between iPhone/iPad/iPod to Mac/PC.
  • Access and extract iTunes backup and export to readable formats.
  • Works well with iPhone 15/14 as well as iOS 17.

Now let’s see how to download and use FoneGeek iOS Backup & Restore to backup your photos and other files:

Step 1: Download and install FoneGeek iOS Backup & Restore to your Windows or Mac computer. Launch the program after installation.


Step 2: Select the "Backup & Restore" option from the top panel on the app interface. Then connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod using a USB cable.

backup restore

Step 3: Once the device is detected, select the files you want to backup and click on "Backup" option to proceed.


Step 4: Once the backup is complete, press the "View Backup List." Now you will find the backup history you have done using the app.

backup completed

You are done! After completing the backup, you can delete the photos from your iPhone to free up storage and restore them anytime you want.

The Bottom Line

Now you know what to do when your iPhone won’t delete photos. You can try the mentioned fixes to get rid of the issue quickly. And, if you are bothered about letting go of the lovely images, make sure to back up your photos by using FoneGeek iOS Backup & Restore. The convenient software is a great way to back up your photos for free and restore them anytime you want.

Joan J. Mims

Joan J. Mims is interested in researching all tips about iPhone, iPad and Android. He loves to share useful ideas with all users.

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