User Case: Why is iPhone Not Letting Me Delete Photos?


When attempting to delete photos, I encounter two scenarios: either they disappear momentarily before reappearing, or nothing occurs when I tap the trash bin icon. Despite expanding my iCloud storage and transferring the photos there before deleting them from my computer, they persist stubbornly.

Why iPhone Won't Delete Photos?

iPhone Won’t Let Me Delete Photos
iPhone Won’t Let Me Delete Photos

Before diving into the solutions for the iPhone won’t delete photos issue, let's understand why you might encounter this problem. There are several reasons why your iPhone photos won’t delete:

  • Software Glitches: Sometimes, minor software glitches can interfere with the normal functioning of your iPhone, including the ability to delete photos.
  • Syncing Issues: If you disable iCloud Photos and then delete photos from your iPhone. When you re-enable it, the photos will come back to your iPhone.
  • Read-only Mode: If the photos are set to read-only mode, you cannot delete photos from your iPhone.
  • Insufficient Storage: If your iPhone storage is full, you may be not able to delete photos from the iPhone.
  • Synced with iTunes: If you sync photos with iTunes, these photos cannot be deleted with the "Delete" button on your iPhone.

How to Fix iPhone Won’t Delete Photos Issue [5 Tested Solutions]

Now that we have a better understanding of the potential causes, let's explore the solutions to fix the issue.

Solution 1. Restart Your iPhone

A simple restart can often resolve temporary software glitches and bring your iPhone back to normal functioning. To restart your iPhone, follow these steps:

Step 1: Press and hold the power button until the "slide to power off" option appears.

Turn off Your iPhone
Turn off Your iPhone

Step 2: Slide the power icon to the right to turn off your iPhone.

Step 3: Press and hold the power button again until the Apple logo appears after a few seconds.

Solution 2. Check iCloud Photos Settings

If you have iCloud Photos enabled, it's essential to ensure that your settings are properly configured. Follow these steps to check your iCloud Photos settings:

Step 1: Go to the "Settings" app on your iPhone and tap on your Apple ID at the top of the screen.

Step 2: Select "iCloud" and then "Photos."

Step 3: Turn off the "Sync this iPhone" option to disable iCloud Photos syncing and wait for a few seconds.

Turn off “Sync this iPhone”
Turn off “Sync this iPhone”

Step 4: Turn on the “Sync this iPhone” button and check if your iPhone won’t delete photos or not.

Solution 3. Disable Read-only Mode

If your photos are set to read-only mode, you won't be able to delete them directly from your iPhone. To disable read-only mode, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the "Photos" app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Locate the photo you want to delete and open it.

Step 3: Click the 3-dot icon in the upper-right corner, choose “Duplicate” in the menu, and check if there is another photo in your album.

Duplicate Photos on iPhone
Duplicate Photos on iPhone

Step 4: Delete the duplicate photo and the original photo and you should now be able to remove it successfully.

Solution 4. Update iOS and Apps

Keeping your iPhone's operating system (iOS) and apps up to date is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and resolving various issues. Outdated software can sometimes lead to conflicts and glitches that lead to the iPhone won’t delete photos problem. To update your iPhone's software and apps, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to the "Settings" app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap on "General”.

Step 3: Select "Software Update" and check for any available updates.

Update iOS
Update iOS

Note: If updates are available, follow the on-screen instructions to download and install them. Updating your iOS and apps can fix potential bugs and compatibility issues, providing a smoother experience when deleting photos.

Solution 5. Delete iPhone Photos by Using iTunes

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to the computer with a cable.

Step 2: Open iTunes and click on your device name in the upper-right corner.

Step 3: Select "Photos" in the left bar and uncheck the box beside "Sync Photos" or choose "Selected folders" instead of "All folders".

Use iTunes to Remove iPhone Photos
Use iTunes to Remove iPhone Photos

Step 4: Find the photos you want to remove from your iPhone and delete them.

Backup iCloud Photos before Deleting via MultCloud

If you solved the issue of the iPhone won’t delete photos, before you begin to delete them from your iPhone, you’d better backup them to another place in case you want them on another day or mistakenly delete some photos. In this regard, MultCloud Cloud Transfer is recommended to you.

MultCloud is used to manage your multiple cloud drives in one place instead of turning to different cloud websites. And Cloud Transfer is one of MultCloud’s main functions and it can transfer files from one cloud to another cloud with ease.

Let’s see how easy to use MultCloud Cloud to transfer iCloud Photos to OneDrive (for example).

Step 1: Sign up for a free account on the MultCloud website.

Step 2: Add a cloud by tapping on the “Add Cloud” button and its icon. Then you will grant MultCloud access in the pop-up window.

Add iCloud Photos to MultCloud
Add iCloud Photos to MultCloud

Note: To add iCloud Photos to MultCloud, you will additionally go through the two-factor authentication.

Go through Two-Factor Authentication
Go through Two-Factor Authentication

Step 3: Click “Cloud Transfer” in the left sidebar and choose iCloud Photos and OneDrive in the different boxes. At last, tap “Transfer Now” to initiate the iCloud Photos to OneDrive transfer process.

Transfer iCloud Photos to OneDrive
Transfer iCloud Photos to OneDrive


  • Since the photos are usually large in size, the 5 GB of free traffic every month may be not enough for you to transfer. However, if you are a VIP user, you will have more traffic and can move photos freely.
  • If you transfer the photos for freeing up iCloud Photos space, you can tick the “delete all source files after transfer is complete” order in Options.
  • If you don’t want to move the videos on iCloud Drive, you can use the Filter feature to pick the videos out by adding their extensions and choosing to ignore them. After you save the settings, MultCloud will ignore these videos during the transfer process.
Cloud Transfer Filter
Cloud Transfer Filter


Encountering issues with iPhone won’t delete photos can be frustrating. However, with the troubleshooting tips and solutions mentioned in this article, you should be able to overcome the problem.

What’s more, there are more great functions on MultCloud like Cloud Sync, Cloud Backup, Email Migration, and so on. You can solve many cloud problems in the best way with these functions. For example, if you want to move Gmail emails to Dropbox or another cloud as PDFs, using Email Migration is a pretty good try.

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