Removing synced photos from iPhone


Q: The last time I synced my iPhone to my PC all of the photos on my PC transferred to my iPhone. I want to now delete the photos in my photo library that are on my iPhone and not have them come back when I sync again. I know how to delete photos from the camera roll but it wont let me do it the same way in the photo library.

Removing synced photos from iPhone

– Jerry

A: As you’ve already discovered, photos synced to your iPhone cannot be deleted on the device itself in the same way that photos in your camera roll can. To remove these photos, you must go back into iTunes and DE-select the photos that you do not want synced to your iPhone and then re-sync the device to remove these photos. This works much the same way it does for music content, and is adjusted from the Photos tab in your iPhone settings within iTunes.


To remove some photos while keeping others, simply ensure that “Selected Albums” is chosen and choose only the albums or folders that you want to sync to your iPhone. To remove ALL of the photos from your iPhone photo library (other than those in the camera roll), simply UNcheck the “Sync Photos” option. iTunes will prompt you to confirm that you actually want to remove all of the photos from your device.



Selecting “Yes” will remove all of the photos on the next sync, while selecting “No” will leave the photos on your iPhone but break the sync connection with iTunes such that no new photos will be synced. In this case, you still won’t be able to delete existing library photos directly on the device—you would need to re-establish a sync connection with iTunes and then repeat the above steps.

Note that none of the photo settings in iTunes will affect photos stored in your Camera Roll on the iPhone or “Saved Photos” on the iPod touch. These photos are backed up by iTunes or can be accessed through other digital camera applications on your computer, but are not otherwise touched by iTunes itself.


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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.