How to Delete Photos from iPhone but not iCloud Photo Library

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To free some storage space in your iPhone it is logical to back-up your photos in iCloud and delete them from your iPhone. The problem is when you delete photos from your iPhone they also get automatically deleted from iCloud. So, how to delete photos from iPhone but not delete from iCloud Photo Library?

Your iCloud account includes a Photo Library for easy storing and sharing of your photos with other IOS devices, so does your iCloud account. Changing the settings in your iPhone’s Photo Library will automatically affect data in your iCloud account.

If the “Download and Keep Originals” function in your iCloud Photo Library is turned on, photos you delete from your iPhone will also automatically get deleted from iCloud.

Apple does not provide a way where in you can delete photos from your iPhone Photo Gallery yet keep them on your iCloud account. Of course though, it there is a will, there is a way.

Method 1: Turn off iCloud Photo Library

Activating the “iCloud Photo Library” will sync your iPhone to your iCloud account as well as all iOS devices and Mac that you registered with your iCloud account. Thus when you delete photos from your iPhone, they will also get deleted from your iCloud Photo Library.

To prevent this scenario, turn off your iCloud Photo library.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap your Apple ID.
  3.  Tap “iCloud” and select “Photos.”
  4. Turn off “iCloud Photo Library.
  5. Select the photos you want to delete.
  6. A pop-up box will appear.  Tap “Remove from iPhone.”
  7. Tap “Remove from iPhone” once again to confirm. The confirmation dialog box will read, “(No. of photos/videos) will be removed from this iPhone. This photos and videos will remain in iCloud Photo Library.”

Not turning off the “ICloud Photo Library” feature in your iCloud account, will cause photos you delete from your iPhone to also be deleted from your iCloud account.

Method 2: Sign into your iPhone using Another iCloud Account

Another method you can use to delete photos from your iPhone but keep them in your iCloud account is to sign in to your iPhone using a new iCloud account.

  1. Upload photos to your iCloud account connected with your original Apple ID.
  2. Sign out.
  3. Sign in to iCloud using a new Apple ID.
Sign out icloud
  • Delete photos from your iPhone.

When you sign into iCloud using your original Apple ID, you will find photos you deleted from your iPhone still in your “iCloud Photo Library.”

Method 3: Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac and Use iCloud Alternatives

You can use other iCloud alternatives (third party iCloud service) such as DropBox, Google Photos etc.

  1. Download and Install any cloud app (DropBox, Google Photos etc…) on your iPhone.
  2. When the app asks for permission, choose “Synch all photos.”
  3. Upload your photos.

Your iPhone photos will be safely stored in the cloud after uploading them using any of these alternatives. You may then delete photos from your iPhone without the need to change iCloud settings.

Method 4: Transfer iPhone Photos to Mac

When you transfer photos from your iPhone to Mac, your photos will be synched to your iCloud account.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB lightning cable.
  2. Transfer photos from your iPhone to Mac.

With your photos now in your Mac you can delete them from your iPhone but still keep in your iCloud Photo Library.

Method 5: Sync iPhone Photos from Computer to iCloud Drive

When you synch your iPhone photos from your computer to iCloud Drive instead of the Photo Library, you will be able to delete photos from iPhone but still keep them in your iCloud account.

  1. Export photos from your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Delete photos from your iPhone.
  3. Go to
  4. Upload photos from your computer to iCloud.

Before using this method make sure you have enough free space on iCloud for your photos.

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