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How to Delete Photos from iPhone but Not iCloud

Sofia Albert updated on Sep 18, 2020 to iPhone Data Transfer | How-to Articles

Q 1: "I need to delete some photos on iCloud but want to keep those photos on my iPad. How can I do this?"

Q 2: "Is there any way to delete photos/videos from my iPhone without deleting them from my iCloud? I'm trying to free up device space without losing the pictures/videos on the cloud."

Q 3: "Hello, I have an iPhone 6, and I do have an iCloud backup. I need to free up some space on my iPhone. I notice when I delete a photo on my phone its automatically disappears from iCloud. Is there are a way to delete photos from the phone but keep it on iCloud?"

-- Questions from Apple Community

From the above-listed questions, you can see that many reasons may lead you to delete photos but keep them in iCloud. Perhaps you want to free up more space for your device, or perhaps you want to make a copy of pictures in iCloud and then delete them from your iPhone. Whatever the reason is, this guide will patiently explain how to do it. But before that, we advise you to learn about what a photo library is so that you can gain a better understanding of the following steps. 

What is the iCloud Photo Library?

iCloud Photo Library is an Apple's iCloud service that can automatically back up and sync images and videos you take to iCloud. Being note that it is not a Storage service but a Sharing service. It mainly aims to provide a place for managing all photos. Any device or computer that is signed in to iCloud Photo Library shares all of the images in the library. Any changes like Add, Edit, or Deletion you make to your albums on one device will also appear on another device. If you want to manage photos independently on your device, here are a couple of options that may help:

Option 1. Turn off iCloud Photo Library
Option 2. Download Photos to Computer from iCloud
Option 3. Transfer All Photos to Computer
Option 4. Backup iPhone Photos with iCloud Alternative

Option 1. Turn off iCloud Photo Library

By disabling the iCloud Photo Library, your iCloud photos won't be affected by any changes you make to the pictures on your iPhone. Here are the steps.

Step 1. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone > Tap on [your name].

Step 2. Tap on "iCloud" > "Photos" > Turn off "iCloud Photo."

Step 3. Then, you can delete photos from your iPhone.

Note: If you're running short of your storage space on the device, choose to use an Optimized local library in Photos. It will dynamically adjust the size of the library based on how much free storage is available.

Option 2. Download Photos to Computer from iCloud

Another option to get the job done is to import iCloud photos to the computer first and then delete photos from iPhone.

Step 1. Launch iCloud for Windows on your computer > Click "Options" > Enable "iCloud Photo Library."

Step 2. Make sure that the "Download new photos and videos to my PC/Mac" is ticked. If you need to change the location of uploaded photos, tap on "Change."

Step 3. Then all of your iPhone photos will be copied to your computer.

Import iCloud Photos to Computer

Step 4. After that, you can delete photos from your iPhone.

If you haven't had iCloud for Windows installed on your computer, then you can log in to icloud.com to download iPhone photos to the computer. Here's how to do it.

Step 1. Head to icloud.com on your PC > Log in with your Apple ID and password.

Step 2. From the options, choose "Photos" > Select the photos you'd like to download from iCloud to your PC > Click the "Download Selected items" icon at the top right corner of the screen.

Download iCloud Photos to Computer

Step 3. After downloading, then you can go to delete photos from iPhone.

Option 3. Transfer All Photos to Computer

As you know, the photos you delete from iPhone will also disappear from iCloud. To prevent them from disappearing, you can make a copy of these pictures to a trusted computer first and then delete them from the iPhone. After that, you can either choose to sync these photos from the computer to iCloud or keep them on the computer. Now, you can follow us to do it.

Import Photos from iPhone to Computer

To import all photos from the iPhone to the computer, you'll need to ask for the help of EaseUS MobiMover - a professional iOS data transfer tool that can help you transfer photos, messages, videos, music, calendar, and other data from iPhone/iPad to another or move data between an iOS device and a computer. It has a high transfer speed and doesn't require any internet connection. More importantly, it can also help you delete photos from the iPhone or iPad. Here are the steps to use EaseUS MobiMover to transfer photos from iPhone to the computer.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to your computer running Windows 7 and later or Mac OS X 10.7 and later. Launch EaseUS MobiMover, choose "Phone to PC" on the main screen and click the "Next" button to move on. 

How to transfer photos from iPhone to computer - Step 1

Step 2. Select the "Pictures" category as you want to copy from your iPhone to your computer. It's the right choice for you to transfer other supported file types together with photos from your iPhone to the computer to make a backup. 

How to transfer photos from iPhone to computer - Step 2

Step 3. Click the "Transfer" button to start transferring photos from your iPhone to the computer. Depending on the size of the files, it may take seconds or a while to import pictures from your iPhone to your computer. Wait patiently for the process to finish and check the items in the selected folder after that.

How to transfer photos from iPhone to computer - Step 3

After importing photos from iPhone to the computer, then you can follow the steps below to delete photos from the iPhone.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer with a USB cable, run EaseUS MobiMover, then go to "Content Management > Pictures > Albums".

How to delete photo albums on iPhone/iPad - Step 1

Step 2. If you want to delete all photo albums from your iPhone/iPad at once, click "Select All" and tap the trash icon. While if you intend to remove some specific albums, select the photo albums you want to delete and then click"Delete". 

How to delete photo albums on iPhone/iPad - Step 2

Step 3. After tapping the delete button, a new window will pop up asking for confirmation. Click "Yes" in the window to delete photo albums on your iPhone/iPad in seconds.

How to delete photo albums on iPhone/iPad - Step 3

Note: You can also delete your photo by going to the "Photos" app > Switch to the "Albums" > Select "All Photos" > Select the images you want to remove > Tap the trash icon > Tap "Delete[number] Items" to delete photos.

Sync Photos from Computer to iCloud

The last step is to sync photos from the computer to iCloud. To do this, you can follow the steps as shown below.

Step 1. Open iCloud for Window on your computer > Choose "Options" > Tick "iCloud Photo Library" > Click on "Done" > Choose "Apply."

Step 2. Go to This PC > iCloud Photos > Uploads from your Windows PC > Drag and drop the photos and videos into the Uploads folder.

Transfer Photos from Computer to iCloud

Option 4. Backup iPhone Photos with iCloud Alternative

Apart from the three options introduced above, you can also use some iCloud alternative tools like Google Photos, Dropbox, OneDrive, and EaseUS MobiMover to back up your photos. With these tools, you don't have to worry that photos disappear from the cloud when you delete them from the iPhone.

The Bottom Line

That's all about the options to delete photos from iPhone but keep them in iCloud. We hope this guide can help you a lot. Of the four options, there is always a way to help you get the job done. If you have any other better ideas related to this guide, you can share it with us.