How to Permanently Delete Photos on iPhone

If you’re looking to free up storage on your iPhone, or you simply want to trash bad photos or videos, here’s how to permanently delete these files from your iPhone.

After you tap the garbage can icon on a photo or video on your iPhone, the file isn’t deleted immediately. Instead, the operating system will put it into a Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app.

Photos and videos you delete stay in that folder for up to 30 days before the software will automatically delete them from storage.

Should you not what to wait that long, you can permanently delete them from the Recently Deleted folder. At that point, unless they are backed up somewhere, they will gone forever.

If you’re fine with that, here’s how to permanently delete photos and videos on iPhone.

How to Permanently Delete Photos & Videos on iPhone

First, find the Photos app on your iPhone. Open it up and tap the Albums tab, located in the menu at the bottom of the screen. Now do the following:

  • Scroll down
  • Underneath Utilities, you will see the Recently Deleted album
  • Tap on Recently Deleted
  • Use Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to open it up

In order to permanently delete the photos and videos, tap on one you want to delete and select Delete or Recover.

You can also tap on Select which is located in the upper right-hand portion of the screen if it’s preferable. From there, follow these instructions:

  • Tap on the photo or video you wish to delete. You can tap on multiple videos or photos if you want to batch delete files.
  • Once you’ve selected the files you want to delete, tap on the More symbol which is the circle with three horizontal dots in the bottom right corner.
  • Tap Delete in the menu that pops up. Alternatively, you can tap Recover which will move the photo(s) or video(s) you selected back to the Library in the Photos app.

It’s a bit of a process and unfortunately, there’s no way to alter it other than turning off biometrics (Face ID, etc) for access to the Recently Deleted folder.

You can do that in the Settings app. Go to Photos and toggle “Use Face ID” off.


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