Are you currently dealing with the frustrating situation where your iPhone storage is full after deleting photos? You’re not alone. It’s a common issue that affects many iPhone 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 users across iOS 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. This article explores why this problem happens and offers seven foolproof methods to solve it once and for all.
Why Is iPhone Storage Full Even After Deleting Photos?
You’ve deleted a bunch of pictures, but your iPhone storage is still full after deleting photos. This annoying problem can happen for several different reasons. Let’s take a closer look at the top three most likely culprits:
- The Recently Deleted album hasn’t been emptied: When you delete pictures on your iPhone, they aren’t immediately gone. They first move to a Recently Deleted album and stay there for 30 days. So, even though you’ve hit Delete, your storage isn’t freed up yet.
- The photos have been downloaded from iCloud: If iCloud Photo Library synchronization is turned on, photos you thought you deleted might make a comeback, especially when multiple devices are involved. That’s exactly what happened to this Reddit user.
- An unpatched software bug affected the deletion process: iOS is a robust operating system that frequently receives software patches that fix known issues. However, it’s also incredibly complex, and that leaves room for occasional bugs and glitches.
Again, these are just the top three most common reasons you might face this issue. Describing all possible causes would be beyond the scope of this article. However, we can certainly explore all the possible solutions.
How to Resolve iPhone Storage Still Full After Deleting Photos
So you’ve figured out why your iPhone storage is full even after deleting photos. What’s next? Trying out the solutions, of course! We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of seven methods, and we’re convinced that at least one of them can help you.
Method 1: Clear the Recently Deleted Album
Let’s start with a straightforward method that can instantly reclaim some of your iPhone storage. As we’ve already explained, deleted pictures on iOS are moved to the Recently Deleted album, where they stay for a month before they are automatically removed. If you don’t want to wait that long for your storage space to be freed up, manually clearing this album is your best bet.
To clear the Recently Deleted album manually, you need to:
- Launch the Photos app.
- Navigate to the Albums tab.
- Scroll down and open the Recently Deleted album.
- Tap the Select button in the top-right corner.
- Select all images you want to permanently delete.
- Tap the circle with three horizontal dots in the bottom-right corner.
- Select the Delete option.
Important: Make sure to carefully review the contents of the Recently Deleted folder before you go ahead and empty it. Once you delete these images, there’s no turning back—they’ll be gone for good.
Method 2: Restart Your iPhone
Restarting your iPhone can do wonders for solving issues you never thought were related to a simple reboot. So, why does it work for the iPhone storage keeps getting full after deleting photos problem? Because it clears the system’s cache and shuts down all running applications. As such, this simple action can correct minor software glitches that could be causing your iPhone storage to show as full, even when it shouldn’t be.
If you haven’t restarted your iPhone in a while, here’s a quick reminder on how to do it using the settings:
- Launch the Settings app on your device.
- Navigate to the General section.
- Scroll all the way down and tap the Shut Down button.
- Swipe the slider to power off the device.
- Hold the power button for at least 15 seconds or until the Apple logo appears on the screen to turn your iPhone back on.
Tip: Alternatively, you can restart your iPhone using the hardware buttons. The process varies depending on your iPhone model, but you can find specific instructions on how to do so on Apple’s official support page.
Method 3: Disable iCloud Synchronization
When iCloud Photos is enabled, your deleted images might reappear because they sync back from iCloud, creating a confusing loop that makes your iPhone storage still full even after deleting photos. This becomes more complex when you’ve got multiple devices under the same iCloud account.
Fortunately, the solution is simple: you just need to disable iCloud synchronization. Here’s how:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap your name at the top to access iCloud settings.
- Go to iCloud and then Photos.
- Select Download and Keep Originals. This will ensure that all your original photos and videos are stored on your device rather than just in iCloud.
- Stay connected to power and the internet while the download process completes. This could take some time, depending on the number of photos and videos you have in iCloud.
- Toggle off the iCloud Photos or Sync this Device option, depending on your iOS version.
Important: Disabling iCloud Photos means your new photos won’t automatically be uploaded to the cloud anymore. That means if your device is lost, stolen, or damaged, those precious memories could be gone for good unless you have another backup solution in place.
Method 4: Adjust Your Date & Time
As bizarre as it sounds, manipulating the time settings can help resolve the annoying issue where your iPhone storage keeps getting full after deleting photos. As explained by this post on r/Apple, this method essentially tricks your iPhone into performing a storage clean-up, including that iCloud Photo Library that just won’t let go of deleted pictures.
Follow these steps to adjust your iOS date & time settings:
- Open the Settings application on your iPhone.
- Tap on General.
- Navigate to Date & Time.
- Toggle off the Set Automatically option. This will allow you to manually adjust the date and time.
- Set the date to 14 days into the future.
- Wait for a bit and then go to check your Storage & iCloud Usage. Do this multiple times to ensure that the clean-up has indeed taken place.
- Revert back to the current date once you’re satisfied that some storage has been freed up. To do this, simply toggle on the Set Automatically option again in the Date & Time settings.
Important: Setting your iPhone’s date and time to the future can interfere with how certain applications function. You may find that some apps don’t work correctly or don’t work at all. So don’t forget to revert to the correct date and time settings once you have confirmed that storage has been cleared.
Method 5: Manage Photos Using Third-party Tools
As an iPhone user, you don’t have to rely solely on the built-in Photos app to manage and delete your pictures. There are many third-party apps that provide all kinds of additional features to help you optimize your storage space.
One such app is Slidebox, a convenient and intuitive tool that comes with a range of features for sorting and deleting images. You can trash unwanted photos with a simple swipe, sort them into albums with a single tap, and even compare similar photos to decide which ones to keep. Slidebox integrates seamlessly with your Photos app and iCloud, ensuring that changes are reflected across all your devices.
So, if your iPhone storage keeps getting full after deleting photos, Slidebox offers a more hands-on approach to decluttering your device.
Method 6: Optimize Photo Storage
If you rely on iCloud to back up your photos and videos, another effective strategy to tackle the issue of iPhone storage keeps getting full after deleting photos is to use the Optimize Photo Storage feature. This feature can automatically replace full-resolution pictures and videos with smaller versions, freeing up precious storage space on your device without making it more difficult for you to access your digital memories.
Here’s how to enable the Optimize Photo Storage feature:
- Open the Settings application on your iPhone.
- Tap your name at the top to access your Apple ID settings.
- Navigate to iCloud and then Photos.
- Select the Optimize iPhone Storage option.
Note: It may take some time for the Optimize iPhone Storage feature to finish doing its job, especially if you have lots of photos on your device. To speed things up, you should be connected to a fast Wi-Fi network and have plenty of juice left in your battery.
Method 7: Free Up Other Storage
Have you tried all the above-described methods but are still struggling with storage space issues? Then it might be the right time to switch your attention to other common iPhone space hogs, such as unnecessary apps and cached data.
Specifically, removes apps you don’t use often but keeps their data by taking advantage of the Offload Unused Apps feature and get rid of browsing remnants by clearing the Safari cache. These two actions can go a long way in reclaiming lost space and improving the performance of your device.
To offload an unused app:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to General and then iPhone Storage.
- Enable the Offload Unused Apps features.
To clear your Safari cache:
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap on Safari.
- Scroll down and select the Clear History and Website Data option.
- Confirm your decision to clear Safari data.
Tip: If you’ve tried all the available methods and are still encountering persistent storage issues, a factory reset can be your last resort because it can erase all the data and settings on your device, restoring it to its original, problem-free state.
Who wouldn’t be sick of iPhone storage being full even after deleting photos? But as this article shows, there are several effective ways to tackle this issue. Hopefully, at least one of the seven methods we’ve outlined will help you solve this problem for good. And maybe some of the techniques we’ve covered will even become go-to solutions for future storage dilemmas.
David Morelo is a professional content writer in the technology niche who joined the Handy Recovery team in 2019 and has since made an invaluable contribution to the quantity and quality of our materials. David's main principle is not to start working on a new article until he has studied the subject backwards and forwards.