iOS 7: Delete photos from Camera Roll without removing from Photo Stream | iLounge Article


iOS 7: Delete photos from Camera Roll without removing from Photo Stream

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Q: I’ve updated to iOS 7 and now whenever I delete a picture in my Photos app, it actually removes it from my Photo Stream as well. I’m certain iOS 6 didn’t do this, and I definitely preferred it that way, as I don’t think there’s any point in keeping two copies of every picture around, and Photo Stream seems to be the better place to keep them so they show up on my iPad also. Am I missing something here or is this just how it is now in iOS 7?

- Gene

A: The primary view in the new Photos app in iOS 7 is actually now a unified view that collects all of the photos from your Camera Roll and Photo Stream, as well as any photos you’ve synced onto your device via iTunes.

As this is a unified view, the Photos app tries to reconcile duplicate images and show them as a single image, even if they appear in both Photo Stream and the Camera Roll. Since this single image represents both photos, when you delete that photo, the Photos app assumes that you want to remove it in both places. In this case, you will actually see text above the “Delete” option indicating that the photo(s) will “also be deleted from Photo Stream on all your devices.”

This is actually a handy feature when you’re trying to remove photos you no longer want at all, such as bad camera shots; new pictures are uploaded to Photo Stream very quickly if you’re on Wi-Fi, and prior iOS versions would have required you to manually delete the photo from both your Camera Roll and the Photo Stream separately.

However, if like you the goal is to free up space on your device by removing the Camera Roll copies in favour of the Photo Stream, this can be a bit of a hassle. Fortunately, the old method actually does still work, but you’ll have to switch over to the “Albums” view in the Photos app to access it.


The Albums view displays your photos organized in much the same way as they were by default in iOS 6, with your Camera Roll and Photo Stream presented at the top as two separate albums. As in iOS 6, if you go into one of these sections specifically, you’ll be viewing photos from only that section.


Hence, deleting a photo while in the “Camera Roll” album will remove it solely from the Camera Roll, leaving the Photo Stream version intact. The opposite here is also the case in the event you want to remove a photo from the Photo Stream by leave it in your Camera Roll.

In either case, the photo will continue to appear in the unified “Photos” view unless you delete both versions.


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I am having problems removing photos from my iphone 5 running IOS7 when I open my photos the option at the bottom says photos or albums. I want to delete photos from the photos when I select the option photos it comes up with collection and years when I select a year it asked me to select when I select a photo it only gives me the option of add to or airdrop and the trash can is not able to be selected so is it possible to still delete these photos I need to delete so I have more memory on the phone and these photos are all saved on my PC would love to hear if you can help thanks Linda

Posted by inda connell on November 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM (CST)


I just upgraded to IOS 7 and was looking forward to being able to delete duplicate photos to free up space. But this does not work. When I go into Camera Roll, click on a photo, then hit delete, it tells me it will also be deleted from an album. Do you have any idea why this doesn’t work on my iphone?

Posted by Suzanne on November 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM (CST)


I have iOS 7.0.3 and this does not work for me. If I delete a photo from “Camera Roll”, it will be removed from the unified “Photos” also even though it is still in “My Photo Stream.” Is this a bug with the new version?

Posted by Richard Lang on November 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM (CST)


It does seem to be a bug in iOS 7.0.3, but it’s more of a refresh issue. If you reboot your iPhone or in some cases even just force-close and restart the Photos app, the Photo Stream photos will usually reappear.

Similarly strange things happen when you delete photos from your Mac or PC, such as after importing them into iPhoto or Aperture.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on November 13, 2013 at 4:02 PM (CST)


Help needed. I have NO remove button what so ever.

In ‘Album’ view, I see NO remove button.
In ‘Phots’ view the remove button is ALLWAYS grayed.

I have no way of deleting my photos… that’s kind of anoying…

Please HELP.

Posted by Francois on November 29, 2013 at 3:29 PM (CST)


I have the active trash can in my Unified view but my friend does not…can’t figure out why he can’t delete photos like I can.

Posted by J Meldrim Florida on December 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM (CST)


I am trying to free up space in iCloud. The iCloud overview tells me that most space is occupied by my Camera Roll (apprx 12 GB).

However, when I delete photos from my iPhone it does not seem to affect the space in iCloud. When I see the space photos occupy on my iPhone (apprx 4 GB) it is much smaller than in iCloud. How can this be and how can I reduce the size of Camera Roll in iCloud?


Posted by Fredrick Støa on January 6, 2014 at 2:18 AM (CST)


I am trying to delete some pics from my 5c to free up space as I can’t even update the phone.  My pics are backed up on iCloud on my MacBook including contact pictures.  My question is if I delete a picture from the phone that I used as a contact pic will that pic remain in contacts or once it’s deleted is it gone from the contact list as well?

Posted by Tiffanie on March 18, 2014 at 1:04 PM (CDT)


Help!  I was attempting to delete groups of pics in moments view and some how got to a “years” view and cannot get back to the original screen to delete groups of picturEs. So frustrating.

Posted by Chris on May 4, 2014 at 12:57 PM (CDT)

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