How To Delete iPhone Photos Except Favorites

Since I have a new baby, it’s no surprise that my iPhone is out of storage. I have backed everything up on my computer (and Google Photos as a back-up backup) so it’s time to delete them off of my phone. Except I don’t want to delete ALL of them; I have several albums I’d like to keep, and specifically, photos I’ve marked as “favorites” I’d like to keep after the purge.

How do you do this without deleting photos one by one? It’s a multi-step process.

  1. Hide the photos you want to keep
  2. Select all (unhidden photos) and delete
  3. Un-hide the photos you wanted to keep and you’re done!

Here’s a breakdown.

Hide the photos you want to keep

There are a couple ways to do this on my current iOS (iOS 10.2). If you want to hide an entire album, open that album in the Photos app (on your phone), click “Select”, and click “Select All”. Then click the export icon, and at the bottom of the export screen there’s a “Hide” option. Do this for any albums you want to keep, including Favorites.

If you’d rather hide a single photo, tap on it to view as normal, and click the export icon. Then you can click the hide icon at the bottom.

Delete the ones you don’t

If you’re in “Albums,” including “Camera Roll,” you will still see your hidden photos. Go to “Photos” on the bottom to hide your hidden photos. Then click a category until you see the “Select” option appear at the top. Click “Select”, then click “Select” next to each day until you have selected everything you want to delete. You can hit the trash icon periodically to delete what you have selected so far. This is also a handy way to un-select anything you missed hiding but still want to save. Be sure to tap the trash can at the end to delete everything you have selected. I wish there was a way to “Select All” that are remaining; if you figure out a way, post a comment!

To clear out the space on your phone immediately, go back to Albums, and Recently Deleted. Click “Select” then “Delete All” to remove them permanently. If you’re nervous, you can save this step until after you unhide the ones you’re saving.

Unhide your photos

You’re almost done! Click on the Hidden album, “Select”, “Select All”, export icon, and “Unhide”. Now they should all be visible again in your Collections.

Success! Storage space achieved.

16 thoughts on “How To Delete iPhone Photos Except Favorites”

  1. This worked like a charm! I was going through my photos and saving the few I wanted to keep in their own album so I could delete all the others, and without this article I would have had to delete all other photos individually. Thank you so much!

  2. Get the app Deleter — does exactly this, no other bells or whistles, and no digital gymnastics to get there. Perfect if this is your workflow.

  3. omg I have been trying to figure this out for years and now I’m even worse off – I hid the Favorites album as suggested, but then the next step didn’t work, and now I can’t “Unhide” the favorites – there is no “Select” option – so now they’re gone too. what a disaster!

    1. Oh no; did you get this resolved? If not, you can send me some screen shots and I’ll help you figure it out.

  4. Does this work for clearing out photos from iCloud too? It is not so much storage on my phone that is the problem, but I don’t want to keep paying for more iCloud storage. I have backed all my photos up to an external hard drive. I’m just so nervous to delete everything.

  5. This sounds amazing and I’ve been desperate to be able to save my favourites album and delete the rest of the photos!!
    However when I hide them and leave that album to go the recent album they don’t go in the hidden folder (says 0 on the folded) – do you know why this could be?

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