How to delete photos from iCloud backup on iPhone (2023)

How to delete photos from iCloud backup iPhone

iCloud lifts the storage weight off your iPhone. But photos take up considerable storage space as they accumulate rapidly. And before you know it, they might eat up your iCloud storage. Deleting photos from iCloud can be helpful if you use its default 5GB storage plan.

Removing photos from iCloud also ensures that they don’t persist if you restore a backup of your iPhone. Want to free up space in your iCloud storage? You’re in the right place!

Keep reading as I show you how to delete your photos from iCloud in this article.

How to delete photos from iCloud storage

The best way to delete photos from iCloud is to access iCloud via the web browser since it’s generic and more straightforward.

You can also delete iCloud photos via your iPhone if iCloud Photos is active on your device. I’ll highlight the steps for both methods below.

Caution: You can’t recover photos deleted from your iCloud backup anymore if you don’t have a copy on your iPhone. So, once you delete a backup of your photo from iCloud, you won’t find it on any linked device anymore.

1. Delete photos from iCloud backup via the browser

As earlier mentioned, this is the best way to delete photos you’ve backed up to iCloud already. To delete photos from iCloud via the browser using your Mac or PC:

  1. Go to your account on iCloud and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click Photos. This will load all the photos backed up to iCloud.

    Click Photos in icloud on iPhone
  3. Select the photos you want to delete:
    To delete multiple photos: Hold down the Command key (Ctrl on Windows) and select all the pictures you want to delete.
  4. Next, click the delete icon at the top-right.
  5. Finally, click Delete.

    Delete photos from iCloud backup via the browser

2. Delete iCloud photos on the iPhone or iPad

If you’ve backed up all your photos to iCloud automatically, then you only need to delete them from your iPhone’s Photos app to remove them from iCloud.

To do this:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Long-press the pictures you want to delete or tap Select at the top-right to choose many at a time.
  3. Tap the delete icon at the bottom right.
  4. Select Delete Photo.

How to delete photos from iCloud but not iPhone

You can prevent your iCloud deletion from reflecting on your iPhone by turning off sync between iPhone and iCloud photos. So when you delete a picture on iCloud via the web, that picture remains on your iPhone.

To disable iCloud Photos on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your Apple ID banner at the top → iCloudPhotos.
  3. Toggle-off iCloud Photos.

    Remove photos from iCloud but keep them on iPhone


Q. Can I keep copies of deleted photos on my iPhone

Yes. As described earlier, you can do this by deactivating iCloud Photos via your iPhone Settings; to disconnect your iPhone Photos app from iCloud Photos. However, when you enable the sync, things will return to square one.

Q. Can I recover photos deleted from iCloud backup?

Yes. Like the iPhone’s Photos app, iCloud keeps deleted photos in its Recently Deleted folder for 30 days. But it deletes them after this period. So you can’t recover previously deleted photos after the 30th day of deletion. 

To recover recently deleted photos from iCloud:

Go to your iCloud account on the web →iCloud Photos→ Click Recently Deleted on the left sidebar. Tap a photo or long-press Command or CTRL (for PC) + tap all the photos you want to recover to select multiple pictures. Next, click Recover at the top-right. 

Undoubtedly, iCloud is handy for stashing files and photos you don’t want to keep on your local storage. But chances are these files, especially photos, end up cluttering your iCloud storage. Although the story might be different if you’re on iCloud+.

There are just some images you neither want to keep on your local or cloud storage. So the best bet is always to delete them from iCloud backup so your iPhone doesn’t recover them during a backup restore.

Got any questions or comments? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Author Profile

Idowu is an avid tech writer and a software surfer who loves covering knowledge gaps in consumer software, including anything related to iPhones. Well, when he's not reading and learning new things, you'll find Idowu losing gallantly on a solid chessboard or virtually on Lichess.

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