Free up space by deleting photos from your iPhone and iPad

If you take photos and videos with your iPhone or iPad, your memory slowly becomes full. So full that you can’t take new pictures. Oddly, you’ll notice that older photos will not be removed if you set iTunes to synchronize ‘Automatically including photos of last month’.

(I assume you want to keep your photos. You can do this by synchronizing them with your computer or iCloud. This is a great way to archive them. You will still have your pictures in case your iPhone or iPad dies or gets lost. iCloud is convenient and it can synchronize between your devices, but after 5 GB you have to pay for more memory space. This can add up quite a bit, depending on how much memory you need.)

Synchronizing with your Mac via iTunes and Photos is free. Most people have plenty of room on their hard drive anyway. If you make backups of your Mac (as you know you should) you can back up the photos from your iPhone and iPad in the process.

One way synchronizing?!

So far, so good. However, you’ll notice that ‘synchronizing’ photos and videos with iTunes illogically only goes in one direction. The result is that your iPhone and iPad keep filled to the brim with old photos, even if you set it to “synchronize ‘Automatically including photos of last month'”.

Delete photos from iPhone and iPad fast with this trick

Free up your lost memory with this simple approach:

  1. First make up your mind about what pictures you want to keep on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Set your preferences in iTunes and make sure you synchronized your photos and videos. Keep your device attached via USB.
  3. Decide which photos you want te erase from your iPhone or iPad.
  4. Image CaptureStart the application Image Capture that comes with OS X. It’s in the Applications folder. (Fotolader)
  5. In the left column, select your iPhone or iPad.
  6. Use the main column top bar to sort your images on date.
  7. Click the select the oldest file. Then scroll and with the caps key down, click the newest file you want to delete to also select all files in between.
  8. OS X Image Capture delete button frees up your iOS memory!Click the small gray delete-button on the bottom of the Image Capture application window to delete the files. This may take a few seconds.

After deleting the photos, you’ll first need to synchronize again for iTunes to display the correct amount of used memory.

Solving problems and quirks

I have found that sometimes Image Capture won’t show your iPhone or iPad. Weirdly this usually is caused by a corrupt image file on the iPhone or iPad. It’s unclear how they become corrupted, but you can easily recognize them because Photos complains about them the first time you try to import them. After that, the image is shown at the ‘import’ screen, but never imported.

When Image Capture won’t show your iPhone or iPad

This can be fixed by opening the Photos app on the iPad or iPhone and deleting the images in question manually. After that, re-attach the iPad or iPhone. You may have to restart both iPad or iPhone and Mac as well.

iPhone or iPad won’t connect, keeps beeping

When your iPhone or iPad won’t connect to your Mac and keeps beeping instead, the cable you’re using is faulty. It might not be a MFi (made for iPhone) cable. Find a MFi cable instead.

Sync favorites won’t sync to your iPhone or iPad

In iTunes, in the (Settings) Photos menu of your device, under the ‘Sync Photos’ title, there is an option ‘Only favorites’. I’ve found that this option ‘Only favorites’ does not sync your photo favorites to your iPad or iPhone. It doesn’t do anything, as far as I can find out. If you want to synchronize Photo favorites, select the iTunes option ‘Selected albums’ instead and in the Album list below the option, select the smart album ‘Favorites’.