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How to Delete Photo Albums from iPhone

This guide will demonstrate how to delete photo albums from an iPhone and illustrate why certain albums cannot be deleted by default. If you are having trouble deleting photo albums from your iPhone, you’ll definitely find the solution here.

Why can’t I delete some of my photo albums on iPhone?

For the most part, deleting a photo album in iOS is simply a matter of hitting the “Edit” button in the top right corner and selecting the album in question. Some of your albums might not present an option for deletion, though. What is up with that? Why can’t I delete this one specific album from my iPhone, you ask?

Apple restricted your options for the management of photo albums in specific cases, such as the built-in “Recently Deleted” folder in your “Photos” app, within the “Albums” section. The reason for that is easily explained: All of these special folders are there for functional reasons and help you organise your library in an efficient way. Here’s a list of most of these special folders, of which you can’t delete any:

  • Panoramas
  • Videos
  • Slo-mo
  • Recently Deleted

Note that future versions of iOS will probably include even more of those categorizations, which come in handy when you are looking for that one sweet panorama picture you took while at the beach.

Deleting photo albums within iOS

Photos App > Albums > Edit > Delete Symbol (red)

As outlined above, some of the special folders within iOS cannot be deleted. Deleting individual images is mostly possible, see this guide of ours for practical examples.

Check out the screenshot below to see the difference between deletable albums and special photo albums within iOS such as “Recently Deleted” and the “Camera Roll”, which have their own specific functions and cannot be deleted by the user. My “Testing” folder however is erasable, as indicated by the red symbol next to it.


Deleting photo albums that have been synced via iTunes

If you happen to have used the old-school photo sync via iTunes (not the modern one via iCloud), you might find yourself helpless in the face of an undeletable folder. Don’t worry, there is a remedy to this issue.

Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC regularly used for synchronization purposes and open up the iTunes application. The left-hand sidebar should show a section named “Photos” that lists a number of photo albums currently stored on your computer. Pick the one you would like to delete and make sure that the checkbox is unchecked, then hit “Apply” to sync. There you go, iTunes has now removed the offending album from your iPhone. To delete individual photos from a synced album, simply delete them on your PC or Mac (as it is the source) and sync again to apply the changes.

Deleting photo albums created by third-party apps

Modern image-processing and media apps with photo functionality tend to use the native “Camera Roll” for output and don’t cause any clutter in your album overview in the “Photos” app. Some use a special album of their own to store imagery, which you might want to delete at some point.

Open up your “Settings” app, navigate to the app in question and see if you can find a setting for this behavior. The respective app’s developers might have included a way for you to control the file destination.

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