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How to Permanently Delete Photos in iOS 8



iOS 8 launched to the public last month with a handful of new features, but with that comes some changes that many users probably don’t like. One of those changes involves how photos are deleted from an iPhone or iPad.

The Photos app on iOS 8 now comes with a Recently Deleted folder, which 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.

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.

Many users have taken to the internet to express their displeasure and some are even wondering if it’s possible to delete the Recently Deleted folder altogether.

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.

Users have up to 30 days to recover deleted photos from the Recently Deleted folder until they officially get deleted permanently.

That’s perhaps the best we can tell you; deleted photos only stay on your iPhone or iPad for 30 days until they’re then automatically deleted from your device permanently.


While this feature may be useful for some iOS users, it can be seen as a nuisance for a majority of iPhone and iPad owners. Plus, there isn’t a way to disable the feature, leaving only one option for those who want to permanently delete photos off of their iOS 8 devices every time.

Here’s how to do just that.

Deleting iOS 8 Photos Permanently

Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick shortcut for deleting photos on iOS 8 devices without them going into the Recently Deleted folder. Because of this, here’s how you’ll have to delete photos if you want them deleted permanently.

When you open the Photos app and tap on Albums in the lower-right corner, you’ll see two folders appear. One is a Recently Added folder and the other is the Recently Deleted folder. Any photos you take will automatically appear in the Recently Added folder. If you want to delete a photo, open up the Recently Added folder and select the photos you want to delete by tapping on Select in the upper-right corner of the screen and then tapping on the photos that you want deleted.

From there, tap on Delete at the bottom and confirm the action when the pop-up appears.

2014-10-06 16.22.26

The photos will then be moved to the Recently Deleted folder, so you’ll need to go into that folder and essentially redo the deletion process that you did in the Recently Added folder. Select the photos you want to delete by tapping on Select in the upper-right corner of the screen and then tapping on the photos that you want deleted. Then tap on Delete in the lower-left corner and confirm the action when the pop-up appears.

Those photos will now be permanently deleted from your iOS 8 device with no possibility of getting them back.

2014-10-06 16.22.45

Granted, we do see the point of the Recently Deleted folder in the Photos app, but the fact that users can’t have this as an option and disable it if they want to seems like a rather large oversight on Apple’s part.

In any case, you can provide Apple feedback about this, and hopefully the company modifies this feature in its next major update to iOS 8. In the mean time, you’ll essentially have to delete your photos twice if you want them deleted permanently.



  1. Emily

    12/04/2014 at 12:50 pm

    The Recently Deleted Folder also has a “Delete All” feature so you don’t have to do it one by one. Click Select at the top, then Delete All.

  2. [email protected]

    12/14/2014 at 6:25 am

    Why dose my usage/manage storage say I have 1.8g of data in my photo library WHEN I HAVE NOTHING IN THERE?

    • Thomas

      03/03/2015 at 2:28 pm

      Because the iphone stores useless information like tiny png’s of the photos you’ve ever had in the apps that had ever had them and even stores the plists from the apps you don’t have anymore.
      Tongbu = without JAILBREAK
      iCleaner Pro = with JAILBREAK
      Either Way a fresh install will clear junk

  3. Sam

    12/15/2014 at 3:47 am

    Would photos taken before the iOS 8 update also be recovered in the recently deleted album upon doing the upgrade? Or will this album only take affect once ios8 is installed and photos are taken beyond that point?

  4. RMartin

    01/05/2015 at 9:42 pm

    I just spent 2 hours figuring out, quite by accident, that syncing with iTunes interferes with the operation of the “recently deleted” bin. In particular, if you empty the bin when the phone is disconnected, it will be filled again when you plug it in to iTunes.

    It seems to work correctly (on IOS 8.1.1) only if you are connected to iTunes when you select all/ delete from “recently deleted”.


  5. Stardream21

    08/28/2015 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you so much. I didn’t know how to get rid of hundreds of pictures of my snap-happy girl. The camera can be accessed without the password.

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