Can’t delete photos on your iPhone? Here’s what you need to do

Are you trying to delete photos on your iPhone, but just aren’t able to? We’ve heard several complaints about an issue where the Trash icon in the Photos app is greyed out and doesn’t let you delete photos/videos. If you’re facing this issue, then worry not, there’s a simple solution to it.

In this post, we’re going to show you how you can delete photos on your iPhone when the Trash icon is greyed out.

Also see: How to recover deleted photos on iPhone or iPad

Can’t delete photos on iPhone because Trash icon is greyed out?

If you’re trying to sell your iPhone, or are running low on storage, then you probably want to permanently delete all photos on the device. However, the Trash icon in the Photos app is greyed out and won’t let you delete anything. This is most likely because the photos on your iPhone were synced via iTunes to a computer. In this case, you’re going to have to connect your iPhone to a Mac and then use iTunes to delete the photos. Here’s how to do this.

On macOS Mojave 10.14 or older

For those who are still using macOS Mojave 10.14 or older, then you’ll still have access to iTunes and are probably using it to sync you iPhone. Follow the steps below.

1) Launch iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone.

2) Click on the iPhone icon in the top left corner and navigate to Photos.

3) The Sync Photos option should be checked along with All photos and albums.

4) Select the option ‘Selected Albums’ under Sync.

5) Uncheck the photos or albums you don’t want on your iPhone and then sync your device by hitting the Apply button.

All the photos you didn’t select will now be only available on your computer, and will disappear from your iPhone. If you want to delete all photos and don’t want to sync photos to iTunes, then uncheck the Sync Photos option.

On macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer

Since there’s no iTunes for macOS Catalina or newer, you’re going to use the Finder to sync your iPhone.

1) Connect your iPhone to your Mac and open Finder.

2) Click on your iPhone from the left pane and select Photos.

3) Again, choose the Selected Albums option in Sync settings.

Delete Photos iPhone Finder

4) Uncheck the photos/albums you want to delete from your iPhone. Click on the Apply button.

The photos should automatically be removed from your iPhone. If they are still on your device, then it’s likely that you’ve enabled iCloud Photos.

Disable iCloud sync on iPhone

In case you’ve turned on iCloud Photos on your iPhone, then the photos will remain as they’re synced to iCloud and are available on all synced devices. You’ll need to disable iCloud Photos and here’s how you can do that.

1) Open Settings app on your iPhone.

2) Tap on your Profile name and select iCloud.

3) Select the Photos option and disable iCloud Photos.

iCloud Photos iPhone

You should now be able to delete the photos on your iPhone and the trash icon should no longer be greyed out.

Wrapping up

The Trash icon in Photos app being greyed out is a common issue, but can be rectified with ease. This happens because the iPhone has been synced via iTunes or iCloud Photos is enabled. The photos are not really available on the iPhone, but stored on the cloud or on the computer. Therefore, the Trash icon in the Photos app is unavailable. Hopefully, this simple guide has helped you fix this issue on your iPhone or iPad. Here are some of the best apps that you can use to delete photos.