Delete Photos From Photo Stream

Explore the many ways to delete images from your iPad or iPhone

Video archives concept

metamorworks / Getty Images 

The Apple My Photo Stream automatically uploads photos to all your connected devices and stores them there for 30 days. But what happens if you take a picture that you don't want to spread to your iPhone or iPad? You can delete an image from the Photo Stream, and unlike iCloud Photo Library, you can remove it from the stream without deleting it from your device.

Instructions in this article apply to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices with iOS 5.1 or later.

How to Turn On My Photo Stream

Before you can manage the photos in your Photo Stream, you'll need to turn it on. It isn't active by default in iOS, so go into Settings to get it working.

  1. Open Settings.

    How to delete movies from iPad
  2. Tap Photos.

    Delete from My Photo Stream
  3. Turn on the My Photo Stream toggle switch.

    Delete photo stream iPad
  4. With this setting on, any device signed in to the same Apple ID can see the photos you take on other devices. When you take a picture on your iPhone, you'll see it on your iPad or Mac without exporting it.

How to Delete a Single Photo From My Photo Stream

My Photo Stream is an album folder in the Photos app. It's different from other albums in that it synchronizes with other Photo Stream-enabled devices. But for the most part, it acts just like any other album. And this means you can delete pictures from it just as you would any image on your device. 

  1. Open the Photos app. To quickly open the Photos app, use Spotlight Search.

    Delete photos from iPad
  2. Tap the Albums tab.

    Delete photos from iPad
  3. Tap My Photo Stream.

    Delete photo stream ipad
  4. To delete a photo, tap it, which displays the image full screen, then tap the trash can icon.

    Delete photos from iPad
  5. When you delete a photo from your My Photo Stream album, it remains on your device in the Camera Roll. The photo is only removed from this album.

How to Delete Multiple Photos at the Same Time

To delete several images at one time:

  1. Tap Select.

    If a single photo is selected, back out of it by tapping the My Photo Stream link in the upper-left corner of the screen.

    Delete photos from iPad
  2. As you tap photos, a blue check mark appears on them.

    Delete photos from iPad
  3. When the photos you want to delete are checked, tap the trash can icon.

    Delete photos from iPad
  4. Confirm that you want to delete all of the photos, and the photos disappear from the folder.

When you delete a photo from My Photo Stream, it remains on the device if that is where the photo originated. It also appears in the Recently Deleted album because the image is still on the iPhone or iPad.

To remove the image completely from the device, delete it from the Camera Roll album. This removes it from the Camera Roll and from every folder the photo is stored in, including My Photo Stream.

Photos you delete from Camera Roll move to the Recently Deleted album for 30 days. So, if it is the type of image you would like to remove permanently, delete it from the Recently Deleted album. The process for deleting photos from the Camera Roll and Recently Deleted is the same as removing them from My Photo Stream.

What's the Difference Between My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Library?

My Photo Stream transfers every photo you take (including screenshots) to every device on your Apple ID account that has My Photo Stream turned on. This is the actual photo, not a thumbnail. And once it goes to your other devices, you don't need an internet connection to view it.

iCloud Photo Library uploads photos to a centralized server (iCloud) and allows your devices to download them from the cloud. The images download as thumbnail versions until you tap one to view, which saves some space on the device. You can also view iCloud Photo Library photos from a PC, Mac, or any web-enabled device that can connect to icloud.com. To turn on iCloud Photo Library in the iPad settings, go to iCloud and choose Photos.

Is There Any Other Way to Easily Share Photos?

If you would rather choose specific photos to share rather than uploading every picture you take on your device, iCloud Photo Sharing is the way to go. Use this feature to create a shared album and send invitations to friends and family. You can even choose to allow them to participate by sharing their photos. To send a photo to your shared album, navigate to the photograph in the Photos app, tap the Share button, then choose iCloud Photo Sharing from the list of destinations.