How to delete videos from your iPhone

By , Aug 16, 2014

iOS 7 (Videos, Life of Pi 001)

Keeping all your photos on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is one way of filling up your devices and Sebastien has already explained how you can remove unwanted photos in order to conserve storage.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you keep a few movies stored on your iPhone.

I personally prefer having some entertainment handy in order to make long flights more bearable, or simply to catch up on the latest episode of my favorite television show while commuting, waiting in the bank to have a simple question answered and so forth.

The problem is, nothing eats up on-device storage more quickly than high-resolution movies and it’s all too easy to forget deleting videos right after you’ve watched them. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to free up significant amounts of storage by removing heavy video files from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

I know, many of you already know how to do this. Nevertheless, I’d encourage you to take a peek at this how-to because you might learn a few new tricks…

There are two ways to removing unwanted videos from your device.

The easiest and most obvious solution involves dealing with Apple’s Videos app that comes preloaded on every iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

The not-so-obvious alternative calls for item deletion through the Settings app.

Not only does this provide more flexibility, but also valuable information absent from the Videos app, such as precise file size information for the movies, TV shows and music videos kept on your device.

Before we get going, here is a summary of what we’re going to look at:

Table of contents

OK, here we go.

Remove videos in Videos app

How to delete movies in Videos app

I’m guessing that the vast majority of beginners or people who are new to the iPhone will be deleting on-device content directly in Apple’s stock iOS Videos app.

Step 1: Open the Videos app on your device by tapping its icon on the Home screen. Alternatively, pull down on any Home screen to bring up Spotlight, type “Videos” into the search field and choose the app under the “Applications” section in search results.

iOS 8 (Videos app in folder)

Step 2: Tap Movies in the bottom toolbar. Thumbnails of local or local+iCloud movies (depending on your settings) will get listed.

Step 3: Next, hit the Edit button in the upper right corner. The black “X” badge should appear on top of any movie stored locally on the device.

Tip: iTunes purchases that have not been downloaded to the device are labeled with the cloud icon and can’t be deleted from iCloud.

iOS-7-how-to-delete-Videos-Movies-005

Step 4: To delete a movie, tap the “X” badge in the thumbnail’s upper left corner. You’ll be asked to confirm the operation before iOS removes content from your device.

Tip: Depending on the size of the video file, this may take a few moments so don’t tap anything until the movie being deleted disappears from the list.

How to delete TV shows in Videos app

Step 1: Open the Videos app on your device by tapping its icon on the Home screen. Alternatively, pull down on any Home screen to bring up Spotlight, type “Videos” into the search field and choose the app under the “Applications” section in search results.

iOS 8 (Videos app in Spotlight)

Step 2: Tap TV shows in the bottom toolbar. Thumbnails of local or local+iCloud TV shows (depending on your settings) will appear. Notice how individual TV shows are broken down into seasons.

Step 3: Tap a desired TV show and then choose a season on the next screen.

Step 4: You’ll be again taken to a new screen with artwork and basic show information displayed in the upper half of the screen and a listing of individual episodes occupying the lower half. Swipe to the left over an episode you wish to delete.

iOS 7 (how to delete Videos, TV Shows 001)

Step 5: A red “Delete” button will appear. Tap it to confirm you wish to have this content removed from the device. Depending on the file size, this may take a few moments to complete so don’t tap anything until the item disappears from the list.

Tip: You can also swipe to the left over any individual episode in order to delete it quickly. If you need to remove the whole season, you can do so just as easily. First choose a show. Next, tap the Edit button on the next screen.

iOS-7-how-to-delete-Videos-TV shows-005

Finally, hit the “x” sign to delete all season episodes in one go, as pictured above. Again, give it a while as deleting multiple video files may take a few seconds.

How to delete music videos in Videos app

Step 1: Open the Videos app on your device by tapping its icon on the Home screen. Alternatively, pull down on any Home screen to bring up Spotlight, type “Videos” into the search field and choose the app under the Applications section in search results.

Step 2: Tap Music Videos in the bottom toolbar. Depending on your settings, you’ll either see only the music videos stored locally on your device or both local and cloud content.

Step 3: Now tap the Edit button in the upper right corner. The “-” sign should appear on the left side of any music video stored locally on the device.

Tip: iTunes purchases that have not been downloaded to the device are labeled with the cloud icon and can’t be deleted from iCloud.

iOS 7 (how to delete Videos, Music Videos 002)

Step 4: To delete a music video, tap the “-” sign to the left of the item. A red “Delete” button will appear on the right. Tap it to confirm the operation and have the music video removed from this device.

Tip: You can simply swipe to the left over an item to have it deleted quickly. Again, depending on the file size this may take a few moments to complete. Therefore, don’t tap anything until the item being deleted actually disappears from the list.

Remove videos in Settings app

How to delete movies in Settings app

Step 1: Open the Setting app on your device by tapping its icon on the Home screen. Alternatively, pull down on any Home screen to bring up Spotlight, type “Settings” into the search field and choose the app under the Applications section in search results.

Step 2: Navigate to General > Usage. If you’re using iOS 8, navigate to General > Usage > Manage Storage (the “Manage Storage” under the “Storage” label, not the “iCloud” one).

Step 3: A list of apps installed on your device should appear. Locate the Videos app and tap on the entry. If you don’t see the Videos app listed, scroll down to the bottom and hit the Show All Apps… link.

Step 4: You’ll be taken to the next screen. Here you can check out file sizes on a per-item basis across default video categories: Movies, TV Shows and Music Videos.

iOS 8 (how to delete Videos, Storage 001)

Tip: Total file size for all the movies, television shows and music videos stored on the device is quoted to the right of each section label, as seen on the screenshots above.

To delete one or more movies, tap the Edit button in the upper right. The red “-” sign will appear next to any locally stored video file.

iOS 8 (how to delete Videos, Storage 002)

Step 5: I want to remove “Avengers” — it really is not my kind of superhero flick. I’m just going to tap the minus sign and then the big red Delete button.

Voilà, the disappointing superhero move is gone from my device and I’ve just gained a cool five gigabytes of storage space.

Tip: You can also swipe to the left over an item to delete it.

How to delete TV shows in Settings app

Step 1: Open the Setting app on your device by tapping its icon on the Home screen. Alternatively, pull down on any Home screen to bring up Spotlight, type “Settings” into the search field and choose the app under the Applications section in search results.

Step 2: Navigate to General > Usage (in iOS 8: General > Usage > Manage Storage under the “Storage” label).

Step 3: Locate “Videos” on the list and tap it. If you don’t see the entry, scroll down to the bottom and hit the Show All Apps… link.

Step 4: On the next screen, navigate to a desired show and pick a season whose episodes you wish to delete, like so.

iOS 8 (how to delete Videos, Storage 003)

Step 5: Now tap the Edit button in the upper right corner of the episode selection screen. The red “-” sign will appear next to any locally stored TV show episodes.

Step 6: Tap the minus sign to the left of an episode you wish to remove and hit the big red Delete button.

Tip: Instead of using the Edit feature to remove multiple video files, just swipe to the left over a single item to delete it real quick.

iOS 8 (how to delete Videos, Storage 004)

Tip: Should you need to delete entire show seasons, there’s no need to tediously remove one episode after another. It couldn’t be simpler — for starters, navigate to the show season screen.

iOS 8 (how to delete Videos, Storage 005)

There, either use the Edit button to select multiple seasons or simply swipe to the left over a single item and then hit the Delete button that will appear on the right side. This will delete all the locally stored episodes attached to the season.

How to delete music videos in Settings app

Simply follow the steps under the “How to delete movies in Settings app” section. The process of removing unwanted music videos via the Settings app is the same as deleting movies.

How to show or hide purchased iTunes videos

If you’ve previously bought a movie, TV show or music video in the iTunes Store, you can tell the Videos app to show all purchases alongside locally downloaded videos. And in addition to downloaded purchases, the Videos app may also contain your own footage synced through iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

Step 1: Open iOS Settings by tapping the icon on the Home screen. Alternatively, pull down on any Home screen to bring up Spotlight, type “Settings” into the search field and choose the app under the “Applications” section in search results.

iOS 8 (Settings app in Spotlight)

Tip: I keep the Settings app in my iPhone’s Dock and so should you. Settings is one of the most-often used iOS applications so dragging it to the Dock makes the app readily available from any Home screen.

iOS 8 (Settings app in Dock)

Step 2: Navigate to the iTunes & App Store section in Settings. On the next screen, you should encounter the Music and Videos switches.

Step 3: To show your iTunes purchases right inside the Videos app, go ahead and flip the Videos switch to ON. Doing so adds thumbnails of all your iTunes-purchased movies, TV shows and music videos that have not yet been downloaded.

iOS 7 (how to delete Videos, Local and iCloud 001)
Left: iCloud purchases disabled. Right: locally downloaded and iCloud videos.

Step 4: Switch back to the Videos app. You should now see your iTunes purchases that have previously been downloaded to your device (and videos synced from your computer) alongside purchases not yet downloaded to this device, denoted with the cloud icon on their thumbnail.

Tip:You can stream a video stored in iCloud by tapping on it. If you’re planning on watching purchased videos without an Internet connection (maybe you’re aboard a long flight, for example), don’t forget to download it beforehand by tapping the cloud icon.

On deleting purchased content

Note that deleting a previously downloaded video does not remove the purchased item from iCloud. To refresh your memory, Apple allows you to re-download your purchases as many times as you wish to any iOS device authorized with the same iTunes account.

And when you’re done watching iTunes entertainment on a flight from LA to NY, don’t forget to free up storage space by removing watched items from the device.

Speaking of which, deleting a purchased video from the device does not remove its thumbnail in the Videos app. To temporarily hide all purchases not downloaded to your device, use the Settings app.

Why am I playing Captain Obvious?

Because this tends to get pretty confusing for novice users who may wonder why deleting a purchased item wouldn’t remove it entirely from the Videos app — because iTunes purchases in Music and Videos apps are enabled in Settings.

iOS-7-how-to-delete-Videos-TV shows-006
Cloud icon marks iTunes purchases not yet downloaded to this device.

Look more closely and you’ll spot the cloud icon appear instantly over that purchased video you’ve just deleted. I find this combined local+cloud view very handy.

Not only do all my iTunes purchases and downloaded/synced videos get collated in one place, I can actually download any previously purchased iTunes video, by tapping the little cloud icon.

Again, this requires iTunes purchases for Videos to be turned on in Settings. If not, you’ll only see videos stored locally.

Related articles

Check out the following how-to articles and tutorials for additional perspective on freeing up iPhone storage.

You’re a pro, you say?

Good, hopefully this tutorial has taught you a thing or two and maybe even inspired you to rethink your storage strategy.

At any rate, we’d really love to hear how you manage iOS device storage and learn the tricks you rely on to ensure that your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad never run out of space.

As per usual, any suggestions you may have in terms of our tutorials are much appreciated and welcomed so do write us at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • Flees

    I see you’ve joined Sebastien in creating stupidly simple tutorials of pointless and ineffectual standards

  • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

    Deleting videos from the Settings app is a great tip. It’s very helpful to know how big each video is.

    • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

      Agreed, but this is very helpful in passing time until the 9th also. I never said anything was wrong with it.

  • Escar

    Anyone know how to see the time on lockscreen? Think we need a tutorial for that.

  • Jonathan

    Nice tutorial! Quite easy to follow.

  • Rares

    A tutorial about how to delete saved messages would be really nice.