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5 tips for clearing out your iOS camera roll to reclaim space

As useful as Apple’s Photos app is for keeping your photo library in shape, it’s prone to clogging up with unneeded images and videos. This makes scrolling through your camera roll a pain, and it puts a strain on your storage space too. Here are a few ways to tame the beast and reclaim that space.

Detect duplicates

This is a really handy space-saving tool in the Photos app that helps deal with duplicate images.

Head to the main Albums view and scroll down. Under the Utilities heading, you’ll see a Duplicates folder. Open this to see any exact copies of photos and videos you may have in your library.

Tap Merge next to any matching set to delete the duplicate. Photos will automatically save the best quality version if there’s any discrepancy in resolution. You can merge multiple duplicates at once by first tapping the Select button, choosing multiple photo sets, and then pressing Merge (X). There’s even a Select All button if you’re happy to deal with everything in one fell swoop.

Removing duplicates does wonders for cleaning up your library, and it could save you plenty of storage space too. But be aware that merged duplicates are initially sent to your Recently Deleted folder, not fully deleted. So to get that storage space back you’ll need to wait a month for automatic deletion, or open Recently Deleted and manually remove them.


So you want to delete a whole heap of photos in one go? Head into the main Photos tab and hit Select in the top right corner. Now you can touch and drag to select multiple photos for deletion.

Alternatively, you can hit the Select button next to the individual dates to select all images for that date. When you’re finished, hit the trash icon to delete.

Trash screenshots

Screenshots can be incredibly useful, but they’re rarely something you want to keep around. Thankfully, it’s easy to delete large swathes of screenshots at one time.

Just go into Photos, hit Albums, and scroll down to Media Types. Now select Screenshots at the bottom to bring up all photo files of that type. Hit Select and touch to select multiple files, or simply hit Select All, and hit the trash icon to delete.

No more bursts

One thing that often takes up a lot of unnecessary space on your phone is burst photos. This occurs – often inadvertently – when you hold your finger down on the shutter button, resulting in multiple quick-fire shots of the same thing.

Head into Photos > Albums > Media Types and select Bursts. Now go through the usual delete method, but note that this will delete all of the images within the burst. If you want to keep one or just a few of the images captured, tap the individual Burst thumbnail, hit Select at the bottom of the page, and tap the image(s) you wish to keep. Hit Done and Keep Only Favourite.

Bonus: it’s also worth periodically clearing out your Slo-mo folder, as thee videos take up more storage space than any other media type.

Recently deleted

Deleting unwanted images is all well and good. But the reason many of us don’t keep our photos in order is because we’re scared we might delete something important.

Don’t worry, Apple has thought about that, and there’s a simple way to undo your deletions in Photos. If you head into Photos > Albums > Other Albums and select Recently Deleted, you’ll have all of your image deletions from the past months.

After 30 days or so these images will be gone forever, but restoring them is a simple case of selecting them and hitting Recover.

On the flip side, if you want to reclaim storage space immediately after deleting something, head here and press Select > … > Delete All. Use with caution!