4 ways to delete photos from your iPhone but not from iCloud

  • You can delete photos from your iPhone but keep them in iCloud by turning off iCloud Photo Sharing.
  • You can also use a different iCloud account to keep your previous account’s iCloud photos safe.
  • Another solution is to use a different cloud server, such as Dropbox or OneDrive, to back up the photos.

Apple’s iCloud service lets you share photos across devices, while also providing automatic backups in case something happens to your iPhone.

For these reasons, iCloud storage is more permanent than storage on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and can serve as a backup in case something happens to one of your Apple devices.

But there are limitations. The connectivity between iPhone and iCloud means that if you delete an image on your iPhone, it’s also removed from iCloud.

Fortunately, there are some solutions that allow you to delete photos from your iPhone but keep them in the cloud forever.

Turn off iCloud Photo Sharing

1. Start it Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Tap on yours name (Apple ID).

3. Puncture iCloud.

4. Puncture Photos.

5. Turn off Sync this iPhone by dragging the button to the left.

The iCloud Photos page in Settings for iOS.

Turn off Sync this iPhone to stop your phone and iCloud from staying in sync.

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6. If Optimize your iPhone storage is turned on, you’ll see an option asking if you want to transfer a copy of the iCloud Photos folder to your phone. You can choose one of the two Remove from iPhone the Download photos and videosbut no matter what you choose, your iCloud originals will remain intact.

Turn off Sync this iPhone on the iCloud Photos page in Settings for iOS.

Tap Remove from iPhone to delete all photos from your phone but leave the photos in iCloud intact.

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There’s a downside to this method: If you reconnect your photos to iCloud, they’ll be updated to match your phone, deletions and all. If you want a more permanent cloud backup for your photos, use a different cloud server.

Use a service other than iCloud to back up photos

The example below uses Google Photos, but there are other cloud options to choose from, such as OneDrive and Dropbox.

1. If it is not already installed, start it App Store application and installation Google Photos.

2. Once installed, launch it Google Photos. The app may ask you to access your photo gallery, so tap Allow access to all photos.

3. If you see a pop-up asking you to access your photo gallery again, tap Allow access to all photos.

4. In the next popup, decide whether you want Google Photos to send you notifications or not.

5. If you have more than one Google account on your phone, select the account you want to back up photos to, then tap on Backup as [name of Google account].

6. Choose the image quality of your backups: Save storage space the Original quality. The former reduces the size of images by reducing their quality, while the latter saves them in their original size and quality – choose the option that best suits your needs.

7. Puncture Confirmand Google Photos will start backing up your images.

To monitor the backup progress, open the Google Photos app and tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the screen.

The account page showing your backup status in Google Photos for iOS.

Go to your account page by tapping your profile icon to see the progress of backing up your photos.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Sign in to a different iCloud account

This option is best used if you want to keep a running iCloud sync on your iPhone, but also want to keep a separate iCloud account with all your past photos.

1. Start it Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Tap yours name (Apple ID).

3. Scroll to the bottom and tap Log out. It will ask you to confirm that you want to log out.

Sign out of iCloud in Settings for iOS.

Sign out of your current iCloud account before you can sign in to another.

Dave Johnson/Insider

You’ll be asked what data you want to keep on your iPhone after you sign out.

Now, you can sign in to a separate iCloud account:

1. Start it Settings application.

2. Puncture Apple ID.

3. Your iPhone will ask you to sign in. Whichever iCloud account you use to sign in again will now be your synced iCloud account.

Download your photos to your Mac

You have one last option: You can transfer photos from your iPhone to Mac using an intermediate storage device, such as an external hard drive or SD card, and then delete the photos from your iPhone.

1. Connect your iPhone to an external storage device. To do this, you may need a cable adapter such as a Lightning to USB camera adapter, a Lightning to USB 3 camera adapter, or a Lightning camera to SD card reader.

2. When you connect external storage to iPhone, you may need to choose Confidence to allow the phone to connect to the device.

3. Start it Photos application, touch Choose at the top of the screen, then select the photos you want to save to your Mac.

Select photos in the iOS Photos app.

Select the photos you want to save to your Mac.

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4. Puncture Share and then select Save to Archives.

5. In the Files app, tap the external storage device on Locations section and press Save.

Save files to an SSD drive in the Files app for iOS.

Locate the device or folder where you want to save the photos, then tap Save.

Dave Johnson/Insider

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