How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

If you use Google Photos on your iOS device, you may wonder if you can delete iPhone photos without deleting them from Google Photos. When you try deleting photos from the Google Photos app, you’ll notice that the photos also get deleted from Google Photos. So, how can you delete photos from iPhone without deleting them from Google Photos? Let’s find out.

The main purpose of a photo-storage service like Google Photos is to back up your photos to the cloud. Once your photos are safely stored in the cloud, you may consider deleting them from your phone to free up internal space. This allows you to make room for other apps and media, such as music.

Now, let’s explore different methods to delete photos from your iPhone without deleting them from Google Photos.

How Google Photos App Work on iPhone

When you install the Google Photos app, it functions as a gallery app on your iPhone, displaying the photos and videos stored on your device. Additionally, you can use it to store your photos in the cloud. Once the backup option is enabled, two copies of each photo are created: one on the cloud, and one on your device.

If you use Google Photos solely as a gallery app without backing up your pictures, deleting them will only remove them from your phone. These photos won’t be visible in any other gallery app. However, if you have backed them up, you can delete them from your iPhone while keeping them saved in Google Photos.

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It is possible because the device copy is deleted without affecting the cloud copy. However, the process isn’t straightforward.

Delete Photos from iPhone But Keep Them in Google Photos

There are three methods to do that. Before we check them out, let’s discuss its after effects. Read our guide on what happens when you delete photos from Google Photos.

What Happens When You Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

When you do so, only the device copy will be removed. The cloud copy will stay and is accessible on They will be visible on your phone too, but only in the Google Photos app.

In all three methods, if iCloud is enabled, then the photos will also be removed from it. Find out how to unlink Google Photos and iCloud. Also, learn how iCloud differs from Google Photos.

1. Delete From Different Gallery App

The best way to delete multiple photos from iPhone while preserving them in Google Photos is to use a separate app. You can utilize the Apple Photos app or any other gallery app on your iPhone. Just make sure that the photos are backed up in Google Photos before proceeding.

To clarify, if you delete photos directly through the Google Photos app, both the cloud and device copies will be removed since they are synchronized. However, when deleting photos using other gallery apps, only the device copy will be deleted. Therefore, your cloud copy will remain secure and unaffected.

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2. Use Free Up Space

Google Photos has a feature called “Free up space” that can delete device copies of photos on Android and iPhone to free up internal storage. When you activate this feature, it will remove device copies of all photos that have been successfully backed up to the cloud. The cloud copies will still be available on your phone. Unbacked-up photos will not be affected. For detailed instructions on how to free up space in Google Photos, please refer to our guide. To use this feature, follow these steps: 1. Open the Google Photos app on your iPhone. 2. Tap the three-bar icon at the top and select “Free up space”.

Step 3: A pop-up will appear showing the number of photos to be deleted. Tap Delete.

Step 4: If you want to free up internal memory, you must delete them from the Recently Deleted folder in the Apple Photos app. Otherwise, they will continue to occupy storage on your phone until they are automatically deleted after 30 days.

Open the Apple Photos app, which is pre-installed on your phone. Tap Albums, scroll down, and tap Recently Deleted. Select the photos and delete them.


3. Use Delete Device Copy Feature

The method above removes device copy for all photos from the backup. For selected photos, use the native Delete device copy feature.

Note: Google Photos has two types of delete buttons. One is the usual delete icon that removes photos from both your iPhone and Google Photos account. The second button (Delete from a device) can be accessed by swiping up on a photo or tapping the three-dot icon at the top.

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Using this feature only removes the device copy, while the photo remains saved in Google Photos (as a cloud copy) on your iPhone.

To delete a single photo, open the photo and swipe up, then tap Delete from device.

How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

To select multiple photos, go to the home screen of the Google Photos app. Then, tap the three-dot icon at the top and choose Device copy originals.

How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

What About Accidentally Deleted Photos

If you accidentally delete photos, you can recover them from the Photos Bin folder. To do this, open the Google Photos app and tap the three-bar icon, then select Bin.

How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

Choose the photos you want to retrieve and restore them.

How to Delete Photos From iPhone But Not From Google Photos

Be Careful

When dealing with photos and cloud services, it’s recommended to try the above methods for a few photos first. Once you’re certain they’re safe in Google Photos, you can proceed to delete the rest. You can also transfer your iPhone photos to Google Photos and delete them later.

Next, if you don’t like the Google Photos app, simply uninstall it from your iPhone. Wondering what happens to your photos after uninstallation?

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