Easily delete photos from your iPhone or iPad with Image Capture on Mac

By , Jul 18, 2016

Image Capture Icon

If you have a Mac, then you also have a really useful image importing app called Image Capture lurking in your Applications folder.

To be completely honest, I still use the Image Capture app despite the fact Apple released their new Photos app for OS X last year, and that’s because it’s a dead simple utility that isn’t bloated with extra features I really don’t feel like using.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use the Image Capture app on your Mac to remove photos or videos from your iPhone or iPad.

Deleting photos from your iPhone or iPad via Image Capture

So if you want to use Image Capture on your Mac to quickly and easily delete photos or videos from your iOS device, you’ll want to follow these steps:

1) Plug your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into your Mac with the USB sync cable.

2) Launch the Image Capture app on your Mac. I find it easiest to launch it from the Applications folder I have on my Dock.

Image Capture in Mac's Applications Folder

3) Select your iOS device from the sidebar in the Image Capture app.

Select Device from Sidebar in Image Capture

Note: You should see your entire Camera Roll when you do this. You may be asked to “trust your device” from your Mac or to “trust your computer” from your device, and if you are, be sure to click/tap yes.

4) Select any number of photos or videos from the list of available media that you want to delete, and then click on the Delete button.

Select photos and delete with Image Capture on Mac

5) You are now prompted to confirm the deletion. If you did intend to delete what you selected, then click the blue Delete button.

Image Capture Confirm Delete

6) Now the photos or videos that you deleted will disappear from the Image Capture window:

Image Capture Files Successfully Deleted

Note: And if you check your iOS device’s Camera Roll from the device itself, they should be gone from there as well:

Camera Roll on iPhone After Image Capture Deletion

And that’s all there is to it!

Why to use Image Capture

You can always delete photos from the iOS device’s Photos app itself, but there’s a slightly better feeling you get from doing it on Image Capture on your Mac.

The reason I say this is because your Mac has a larger screen and you can better pick and choose what photos and videos you really want to keep. The larger screen makes it easier to see photos up close so you can delete the blurry or out-of-focus ones and keep the good ones only.

Although you can always see many of these differences on the crisp Retina or Retina HD displays of your iOS device(s), it’s not always the same as seeing it on the big screen where you can really see things in a sizeable perspective.

It should be noted that you can’t use Image Capture wirelessly, like you can when syncing with iTunes. You will literally need to tether yourself to a Mac with your USB cable any time you want to use it. Unfortunately, there is no way around this.

Wrapping up

In this tutorial, you were shown how to delete photos from your Camera Roll directly from your Mac. For everyday photo viewing and deleting, it can sometimes be in your interest to use the Image Capture app because the larger screen provides a better viewing experience for you to better decide what photos to keep and delete.

Also read:

Do you ever use Image Capture for your iOS/OS X photography needs? Share in the comments!

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  • Paresh Bhatia

    didn’t knew about this, will use it sometime
    thanks for sharing

  • Anonymous

    Great post anthony, however, is there a way to delete image capture? Personally i hate this app I perffer photos. And before that iphotos. Either way i dont need/want the extra blote!

    • Bill

      Finder shows that Image Capture is 4.5 MEGABYTES. Hardly worth the effort to delete, if you even could. Who knows if anything else is tied to it for one thing.

      • Anonymous

        My problem with image capture is not a storge problem its, appearance problem. I just dont like to see an app i never use. But you make a point.

      • Bill

        I don’t open the Applications folder much personally. I’ve been using Spotlight Search more and more when I need to open something. I find it’s much faster since I’m already at the keyboard anyways. Less mouse clicks to drain battery as well! 🙂 But I hear ya. Every once in awhile I uninstall some stuff I haven’t used in a month or more.

    • I never recommend removing OS X apps in case of instability in the operating system.

      • Anonymous

        Perhaps hide then?

  • Xee

    Where does Image Capture store the photos?

    • Image Capture does not store the photos. Image Capture reads the files from your iOS device’s memory. It will import photos wherever you want it to.

  • Randy Bisig

    So, what do you do when Image Capture pinwheels for more than 5 minutes to transfer one photo, but AirDrop sends 15 photos in less than 5 seconds?

  • Having the ability to quickly trim down your photos is always useful, be
    it for the countless number of selfies you’ve taken or simply want to
    free up space on your iphone due to images you no longer want on your iOS device.