How to remove photos from your iphone

This post will show you how to delete all the photos on your iphone and then put the best ones back onto your camera roll.


After spending 7 hours trying to do what should be a most basic task, i.e. take all the photos from my phone, select the best ones and delete the rest, I have vowed my next phone will be on Android. Even though I’ve been in love with apple products for about 5 years when I got more into photography and wanted to start moving my photos around between my laptop, iphone and ipad trouble began.

Anyway, this post is for anyone else who is having the same frustrations I had and might just speed up the process for you. I did this on my iphone 4s, running IOS version 5.1.1

I wanted to do this without using itunes or iphoto as I hate pressing that SYNC button. I have accidentally erased the contents on my phone multiple times for me ever to trust it again.

Step 1 – Backup your photos.

The first step I took is to back up all my photos to an external hard drive, I manage all my images using Lightroom 4 and store them on a single external hard drive.

The way I did this was to use a piece of software called IExplorer. It allows you to use your Iphone like a USB drive.

You can navigate to the folder where your photos are store by following this file path.


Just select all the photos in this folder and copy them to where you want to store your backup.


Step 2 – Delete all the photos on iphone camera roll.

Once you have your backup, you can safely delete all the photos on your iphone. The problem is there is no way to do this from your phone. I discovered a quick way to do this using Finder after searching extensively on the net for a solution. Thanks to tandoantd for this solution 

connect your iphone to your mac

open preview

select file > import from iphone

select command + A to select all photos

hit the delete symbol on the bottom





This will take a while to delete all the photos especially if you have a lot, so take a break and come back in 20 minutes. Once all the photos are deleted you are ready to select the best ones and put them back onto your phone.

Step 3 – Select your favourite photos

I did this using Lightroom 4, but you can do this using any photo software. I starred all the ones I liked and then exported the best ones to their own new folder ready to put back on my iphone.

I first tried to use the Itunes method of syncing the new photos folder, I thought it had worked but my camera roll was still empty. Iphones store synced photos in Albums and not on the Camera roll where I wanted them.

After much searching I found a way to put the photos back on my phone using an iphone app and transferring them via wifi.

Step 4 – Transfer your photos back to Iphone Camera Roll

You need to install an app called drop2roll this allows you to move pictures from your computer back to your iphone camera roll. To use it you will also need to install CyberDuck, a free FTP software. You need to make sure your phone and computers wifi is turned on and they are both on the same network. Here is a short video I found on Youtube explaining how to do this.



Step 5 Decide whether having an Iphone is really worth all the trouble.

After spending so much time doing such a simple task, decide if owning apple hardware is really worth it when they control and restrict the way you use it.

I for one will be jumping ship at the next opportunity. I hate to say it but my next phone will probably be made by Samsung and not Apple.



  1. Oh thank you very much for the step by step instruction. I actually have this problem few days ago and I can’t figure out what to do to transfer back my photos in the iphone camera roll. Thanks again Ian.

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  7. Well the steps are all very well explained, i dont know where else could i have found such information. Thank you so much

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  10. Thank you, thank you! I’d have never thought to use Preview, but now that I’m on Lightroom I didn’t want iPhoto touching anything on the phone. This was brilliant.


  11. I actually have this problem few days ago and I can’t figure out what to do to transfer back my photos in the iphone camera roll. Thanks again Ian.

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