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How To Delete Photos From iPhone But Keep Them On iCloud?

Today, people increasingly love to record their lives with photos or videos. When you take photos or videos on iPhone, these media files take up more and more storage space on your iOS device, so they tend to sync photos with iCloud to make backup copies or share them. However, they discover that when they delete the photos from the iPhone, the photos backed up in iCloud are also deleted. In fact, they just want to delete the photos on the iPhone to free up space and expect the synced photos to stay on iCloud.

Apple’s iCloud lets you share photos between devices while providing an automatic backup in case something happens with your iPhone. For these reasons, the iCloud memory is more permanent and is better preserved than the memory of your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

However, connectivity between iPhone and iCloud means that if you delete an image on your iPhone, it is also removed from iCloud. Fortunately, there are some alternative solutions that allow you to delete photos from your iPhone and keep them in the cloud forever.

Also Read: How To Transfer SMS & iMessages From Old iPhone To New iPhone XS/XR/X/8 Plus

Why can’t I delete photos only from the iPhone, not from iCloud?

In general, it’s true that you can’t directly delete photos from your iPhone without deleting them together from iCloud. The reason is that you have enabled the “Download and keep originals” feature in the iCloud photo library, therefore, when you delete photos from iPhone, even iCloud photos will be automatically deleted.

It is interesting to note that if you activate the “Optimize iPhone Storage” feature in the iCloud Photo Library, you cannot delete photos from iPhone or iCloud. This is because the original photos are stored in iCloud. In this way, it is difficult to manage photos from iPhone or iCloud separately when the iPhone and iCloud account are connected.

How To Delete Photos From iPhone But Keep Them On iCloud?

Delete Photos From iPhone But Keep Them On iCloud

With the iPhone, you can ask the question: is it possible to delete the photos from the iPhone but at the same time keep them on iCloud?

Technically, iCloud has a photo library to share, store and archive your photos on IOS devices, so if you change any settings in your photo library on your device, this will also automatically affect iCloud data.

In fact, Apple does not offer a way to delete some photos from your iPhone but keeps them in iCloud. But there is always a way for a will: the solutions described here will help you perform the task in a friendly way without disobeying rules or protocols. The article will show four practical ways you can use to delete photos from your iOS device but not iCloud.

1. Disable the iCloud photo library

iCloud Photo Library is designed to replicate all the images and videos between your iOS devices. Once this feature is activated, all the work you do on your photo on your iPhone is synced with iCloud and other iOS or Mac devices register red with the same iCloud account. That’s why, when you add or delete a photo or multiple photos from your iPhone, you’ll find that the same snapshots are also deleted from iCloud.

Therefore, the main and shortest way to remove photos from the iPhone but not from iCloud is to postpone the installation of the iCloud Photo Library completely.

You can do it in some simple following steps:

  1. Go to “Settings” on your iPhone.
  2. Make sure you are logged in with your Apple ID.
  3. Click on this path: Apple ID => iCloud => Photo, then turn off iCloud Photo Library.
  4. You will be asked to select “Download a copy” or “Remove all photos from iPhone”. (If you want to skip this notification, follow these steps offline).
  5. Now, delete the destination photos from your iPhone … and you’re done.


When you turn off the iCloud Photo Library on an iPhone, it only means stopping the syncing of media files on the iPhone, but still keeping the synchronization between other Apple devices. And all your photos and videos that are already uploaded to iCloud will remain on the iCloud server without damage or loss until you exceed the cloud storage limit or re-enable this feature.

2. Backup of iPhone photos with iCloud alternatives

If the memory of your iPhone is a problem and you don’t really want to permanently delete the photos on your iPhone, then there is the possibility of requesting a third-party cloud service to support the photos of your iPhone. There are numerous iCloud substitutes such as Google Photos, OneDrive, DropBox, etc. Your iPhone photos can be securely stored in the cloud after uploading them, so you can delete them from your iPhone without changing iCloud settings.

  • Download and install a cloud app on iPhone that suits your needs.
  • Choose “sync all your photos” when requesting permission and upload all your photos.
  • You can then delete it on your iPhone without worrying about the server in the cloud.

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3. Access your iPhone with another iCloud account

Another practical method is to access your iPhone with a new iCloud account. After uploading photos of your iPhone to iCloud that is integrated into the old Apple ID, you can sign out of this account and sign in with another new Apple ID. Then, you can delete all the photos from your iPhone without deleting them from your old iCloud account. And you can access deleted photos from your other iOS devices by logging in with your old Apple ID.

4. Sync all iPhone photos with iCloud Drive from your computer

You may have some doubts in mind about this solution. It’s easy to do. You know that the photos on your iPhone will automatically sync with iCloud when you turn on the iCloud photo library and you can also access photos synced from multiple iOS devices that have signed in with the same Apple ID. Therefore, if you delete a photo from your iPhone, it will be automatically deleted from iCloud and other iOS devices at the same time. It seems difficult to delete the photos from the iPhone but not from iCloud. However, you can take advantage of iCloud instead of the photo library. The precise idea is to sync your photos from your computer to iCloud Drive, but not to Photo Library.

Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Make sure you have enough space for iCloud photos.
  2. Export all photos from iPhone to your personal computer.
  3. Remove them from the iPhone to free iCloud storage.
  4. Go to iCloud.com and upload the photos to iCloud Drive from your computer.

These 4 steps seem simple, but sometimes they could be exhausted, especially in the transfer part. If you have activated “Optimize iPhone Storage”, you cannot directly export all the photos of iPhone simply by connecting the device to the PC and you must first download all the photos on iPhone using “Download and keep all the originals”. But if your iPhone doesn’t have enough space, you may need to free up storage space on your iPhone first, or you can export photos from iPhone to the computer.

  1. Install and run any iPhone Data Recovery software on your computer, select “Photos and videos”.
  2. Connect the iPhone to the PC and click Next to scan.
  3. After scanning, you can view all the photos captured in the preview interface.
  4. Click “Restore” to export all the photos from the iPhone to your computer.

Note: Keep in mind that different software may have different options to recover iPhone data.

Once the process is finished, you can check the exported photos on your computer and delete them on the iPhone. Then, you can freely upload them to iCloud Drive to store them. Furthermore, you can use this powerful software to easily recover any deleted photos or videos from your iPhone or iPad, and it is also able to retrieve other import data, such as text messages, text messages, contacts, voice messages, safari history, notes, etc.

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Bonus: Delete photos and videos to save storage space on iCloud

You can free up iCloud storage by deleting photos and videos you don’t want to keep.

  • If you have activated iCloud Photos on your iOS device (iOS 8.1 or later) or Mac (OS X 10.10.3 or later), the photos or videos you delete will be deleted from iCloud and from all your devices on which iCloud Photos is enabled.
  • If you have not activated iCloud photos on your iOS or Mac device, you can delete photos or videos from the Camera Roll album on your iOS device, so they are not included in iCloud backup.

Delete photos or videos

  1. In the Photos app on your iOS device (iOS 8.1 or later), tap Photos at the bottom of the screen, so sometimes you see photos and videos.
  2. Tap Select, tap one or more photos or videos, then tap the Delete icon.
  3. Tap Remove [items].

That’s is.

These are easy and simple ways to delete photos from your iPhone, but keep them in your iCloud account. These methods do not require too much technical knowledge, so everyone can easily complete the steps, even if it is new on the iPhone. If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave a message in the comments section.


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