How to bulk delete attachments from the Messages app on iOS

Apple’s Messages app for iOS is capable of not only sending and receiving texts in the form of iMessages or SMS, but it can also send and receive files, which are known as attachments. Over time, attachments add up. This takes up valuable storage space on your device and keeps a paper trail of everything you’ve sent and received to one another.

Here, we’ll show you how you can easily bulk delete attachments from a conversation in the Messages app without deleting the entire conversation.

iPhone mockup showing how to delete many message attachments at once

Why bulk delete attachments from the Messages app

The main reasons you’d want to bulk delete attachments from the Messages app are to conserve storage space and delete a paper trail of all the files you’ve sent and received.

Assuming you already saved the files you’ve been sent, you no longer need to keep them in your Messages app’s attachment archive. This is just wasting space by keeping doubles of what you already have. By removing unwanted attachment files from the Messages app, you’ll free up some of that space quickly.

Alternatively, if you don’t want someone else who may know your passcode to see what attachments you’ve been sending and receiving in the Messages app, you might consider removing them from the conversation so that they can’t be browsed through, protecting your privacy in the process.

How to delete attachments from iMessage in bulk

If you’ve made it this far, then you probably have a reason to bulk delete attachments in the Messages app. To do just that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Launch the Messages app and open a conversation that has attachments you want to get rid of.
  2. Tap the person’s name at the top.
  3. Scroll down and tap See All next to Photos or Documents.
  4. For pictures, select All, Photos, or Screenshots at the top and then tap Select. For documents, just tap Select.
  5. Choose each of the attachments you wish to delete, and this will put a checkmark on them. Sadly, drag to select doesn’t work here.
  6. Select Delete at the bottom right of the app.
  7. In the pop-up menu that appears, tap the red Delete [number] Attachments button to confirm the deletion of your selected attachments from your conversation.
Delete Bulk Attachments on iPhone

All those attachments should be removed from the conversation, but your conversation itself remains; double-check the conversation to verify.

What about my other devices?

Something to keep in mind about this process is it will only delete your attachments from the device you’re on at the time you delete them.

Since iCloud is keeping all your devices up to date in terms of your iMessage conversations (and even SMS if you have Text Message Forwarding enabled), any other devices tied to your iCloud account are still going to have those attachments available in your Messages app history even when you remove them from one of your devices.

You can go into each of those devices individually, whether they’re an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and repeat this process.

What about that message expiration feature?

iOS comes with a feature that lets you configure text messages, audio messages, and even video messages to expire and auto-delete after a period of time. In this case, you’re actually deleting all of your messages along with your attachments. It’s an ineffective method for anyone that wants to keep their conversation history while only removing attachments.


Actively removing unwanted attachments from conversations in the Messages app is a great way to free up storage space and protect your privacy, so if you don’t already do this, you may consider practicing this method more often to reap the benefits.

If you found this tutorial helpful or have any questions, drop us a comment below!

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