How to Permanently Delete iPhone Pictures from the Recently Deleted Folder

Pictures are perhaps the one item that everyone is concerned about losing when they need to reset their phone and switch devices. Due to this concern, Apple added a step in the photo deletion process where deleted pictures go to a special “Recently Deleted” folder. But you may be wondering how to permanently delete iPhone photos if you know that you don’t want them.

Managing storage space on your iPhone is a necessary evil for many users that find themselves lacking the space needed for a new app or an iOS update. The fixed amount of storage space becomes a problem for many people that like to install a lot of apps, or who take a lot of pictures and record a lot of videos.

One area where you can typically regain some space is the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app. When you delete pictures from your Camera Roll they aren’t gone forever. Instead they are moved to the Recently Deleted folder, from where they will be deleted after 30 days. Our tutorial below will show you how to empty the Recently Deleted folder so that you can increase your available storage.

How to Permanently Delete iPhone Photos

  1. Open Photos.
  2. Choose Albums.
  3. Select Recently Deleted.
  4. Tap Select.
  5. Touch Delete All.
  6. Choose Delete Photos.

Our article continues below with additional information on permanently deleting iPhone pictures, including pictures of these steps.

Emptying the Recently Deleted Pictures Folder on an iPhone (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed on an iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 12.1.4. By completing the steps in this article you will be permanently deleting any pictures that you have previously moved to this folder. This action cannot be undone, so these pictures will be gone permanently once you do this.

Step 1: Open the Photos app.

open the photos app

Step 2: Choose the Albums option at the bottom of the screen.

choose the albums tab

Step 3: Scroll down and select the Recently Deleted option.

open the recently deleted folder

Step 4: Choose the Select option at the top-right of the screen.

touch the select button

Step 5: Touch the Delete All button at the bottom-left of the screen.

delete all button in recently deleted

Step 6: Tap the Delete Photos button at the bottom of the screen to confirm removal of these pictures.

how to permanently delete iphone pictures from recently deleted

The method above is just one of many ways that you can free up some space on your device. Read our article on managing iPhone storage for some other tips that can help you get more room on your iPhone.

Note that this will not affect any other apps that you are also using to manage your photos. For example, if you have configured Dropbox or Amazon Photos to upload your pictures automatically then those photos can still be found in those apps.

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