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Free Up Space on iOS 8, Clear the Recently Deleted Folder



We’ve already discussed several ways on how you can free up storage space on your iPhone or iPad, but in iOS 8, there’s a new feature that can gobble up storage space without you really knowing.

Apple removed the Camera Roll in iOS 8, and users were rightfully upset by this, as it was replaced with a “Recently Added” folder, along with a “Recently Deleted” folder. Of course, Camera Roll came back in iOS 8.1, but the Recently Deleted folder still remains.

Any new photos that you take get put into the Camera Roll folder. The Recently Deleted folder is put into action when a user deletes a photo. The deleted photo automatically gets put into the Recently Deleted folder, meaning that it’s not truly deleted from your iPhone or iPad.

So in order to truly delete a photo off of your iOS 8 device, you have to essentially delete it twice, which is less than convenient.

It’s easy to see why a feature like this is worth having in iOS, as it prevents users from accidentally deleting photos, and if they do delete them, they’re easily recoverable. It’s essentially like having a Recycle Bin right on your iPhone, and users have up to 30 days to recover deleted photos from the Recently Deleted folder until they officially get deleted permanently.

2014-11-03 22.37.47

However, deleted photos that get put into the Recently Deleted folder are still taking up storage space on your iPhone or iPad, and if you have a lot of photos and videos in this folder, there’s the potential that they’re taking up a lot of a lot of precious storage space.

I discovered recently that while my Camera Roll only had 7 photos in it, my iPhone was telling me that the Photos app was taking up 3GB worth of space on my iPhone. By opening up the Settings app and navigating to General > Usage > Manage Storage, you can see what’s up taking up the most space on your iPhone or iPad.

In my case, the Photos app was taking up a whopping 3GB, but I only had 7 photos in the Camera Roll. Then I remembered the Recently Deleted folder, which consisted of over 200 photos and videos that I took over the past month. Even though I deleted them, they were still on my iPhone taking up space.

2014-11-03 22.37.28

This is something that I recommend all iOS 8 users to do. Open the Photos apps and tap on the Recently Deleted folder to open it. Then tap on Select in the upper-right corner and then tap on Delete All in the lower-left corner to delete everything in that folder with one swoop. If you had 3GB worth of photos and videos like me, you’ll instantly get all that storage space back with little effort.

For those with 16GB iPhones and iPads, this little tips will probably be a huge weight off your back as you try to make room for new apps by deleting older ones and just trying to keep some storage space free.

While we can see the use of a Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it can be a nuisance at times, with photos and videos still planted on your iOS 8 device even when you technically delete them.



  1. Tim

    11/05/2014 at 2:06 pm

    Everything about iOS 8 is inconvenient when compared to a direct update from iOS 6. Thanks, Apple. :(

  2. Larry

    11/05/2014 at 3:07 pm

    @ Tim ate all hype same shit every year just a bigger screen and that’s it!! Big f..king deal

    • Tim

      11/05/2014 at 3:11 pm

      Right?! I loved iOS 6! I’d go back in a heartbeat if I could. The ONLY reason I updated was I had to block a number. Now my iPhone is a user nightmare with ugly graphics.

  3. Larry

    11/05/2014 at 7:53 pm

    @ Tim ya I just got my RMA number to return iPhone 6plus and when I get my money back in going for the Samsung galaxy note 4 I’m done with apple since Steve jobs died around iOS 6 apple went down the toilet!! Great job there ceo Tim cook aka crook iOS 8 sucks and is so faulty and collects too much information to Apple as well don’t use location on iPhone or send diagnosed info automatically to Apple it sends more than you think it does I also deleted my Apple account too! Good luck there Tim:)) funny thing I heared on tv news Tim cook came out and admitted he’s is GAY!! Haaaaa lol sorry Apple fanboys maybe I’m just a mouthy 19 year old but it’s the usa my 5 amendment right to say as I please

  4. Larry

    11/05/2014 at 7:56 pm

    Maybe Tim should go ask Steve jobs at his grave and ask what the heck do I do with Apple and I hope Steve jobs knocks his ass out

  5. Scott

    11/08/2014 at 5:37 am

    Would be handy to be able to turn off the Recently Deleted feature altogether.

    • Tim

      11/08/2014 at 10:42 am

      Amen to that!

      It would be even better to return to ios 6 and forget the nightmares that have come after.

  6. DT

    03/21/2015 at 9:19 am

    This would be an okay feature if it in fact worked as promised. Unfortunately it does not. The problem is after 30 days the photos and videos are not removed from your phone. They are only removed from your “recently deleted” folder to make you think they are gone; when in fact, they are still taking up memory space on your phone. My assumption is it is Apple’s intention to force customers to upgrade to a “paid” I-cloud storage or “think” you need a phone with more memory. You will see what I mean if you look at Settings-General-About. There you will see that the number of photos and videos will not match what you have in your camera roll even after deleting the recently deleted folder. Now here is where it gets interesting. If you have had your phone for a while, you can manually change your date back a year or two, check your recently deleted folder again, and low and behold you will have a folder full of pictures and videos that never deleted them-self when their 30 days were up. Now you can delete them and re-set your date back to the current date. You will notice that you have recovered a lot of memory back!

    • HEloisa

      06/25/2015 at 6:40 pm

      That tip above from DT was absolutely awesome. I just got back 3 gigas of space from deleted pictures that were somehow on my Iphone! Then after resetting to the current date, it worked. THANK YOU SO MUCH, i was going nuts over this!!!

  7. InTheMix

    05/16/2015 at 1:18 am

    Hi, I deleted pics and video from my iPad, as you described, but still have 8 GB on videos…. I cannot find them… Any ideas please!

    • Tim

      05/16/2015 at 8:31 am

      Another person posted up a tip that does work. Deleting doesn’t free up space if that’s all you do, because he discovered they are still there.

      His solution is to delete (as you did), then go into Settings and roll back the date on your device. That puts the deleted items back in your deleted folder. Now delete them again.

      It worked for me.

      • Thess

        06/08/2015 at 4:07 pm

        Thank you so much, worked for me!

  8. Rabasotho

    08/19/2015 at 2:34 pm

    Just delete your shit twice going forward

  9. Rabasotho

    08/19/2015 at 2:35 pm

    Don’t wait for the 30days to lapse

  10. Lesley McDonald

    08/27/2015 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you! I couldn’t understand why deleting the images wasn’t freeing up space!

  11. DavidTRobison

    08/28/2015 at 11:16 pm

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  12. Cheryl Higgins

    10/29/2015 at 12:48 am

    I don’t have delete button in my recently deleted folder – it says add 1 photo to “null” – have no idea what this means – can I change the 30 day to a lesser date

  13. James

    12/10/2015 at 12:44 pm

    This is how o resolve this issue.
    Delete unwanted video and files with the current time. Be sure to slide the slider off to automatically adjust time. Change phone time to 40 days in the future then go into the recently deleted items and delete them again and restart the phone . Change back to current time after restart – and free space has been allocated.

  14. Cindy

    01/12/2016 at 3:10 pm

    This is the best advice I’ve gotten since I bought an iPhone 6 with 8.0. I spent 3 hours trying to figure out what was wrong with my storage and you solved my problem in 2 minutes. Thank you. btw, I liked my iPhone 5 so much better. Plus it could store hundreds of photos and videos and not shut me down. I ALSO HATE CLOUD.

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