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?
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.