How to Delete Photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream

How to Delete Photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream

Photo Stream is a feature in iCloud that allows Apple users to wirelessly sync photos and video between multiple devices. The service lets you take a picture on your iPhone or iPad 2 running iOS 5 and have it uploaded automatically in the background to your Photo Stream folder. That folder is then made available on all of your devices that are logged into iCloud, including iPhoto on your Mac.

There currently isn’t a way to individually delete photos from Photo Stream, but there is a way to completely reset Photo Stream and start over.

Resetting your Photo Stream will result in all stored photos being deleted. Before you reset, make sure that you have any pictures you want to keep saved on at least one of your devices.

A photo/video that’s saved on your iOS device’s Camera Roll will not be deleted if you reset Photo Stream. Locally stored media will not go away if you delete content stored on iCloud.

How to Delete Photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream

Step 1: Login to your iCloud account on iCloud.com from a Mac or PC.

How to Delete Photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream

Step 2: Click on your name at the top right of the main iCloud page.

Step 3: Click on the Advanced option.

How to Delete Photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream

Step 4: Click “Reset Photo Stream.” You will then need to confirm.

How to Delete Photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream

Step 5: This Photo Stream reset will not go into effect until you toggle Photo Stream on and off on your devices. In iOS, Photo Stream can be turned off and on in the iCloud settings window of the Settings app.

Now your Photo Stream will be reset and all photos removed.

Apple hasn’t said if it has plans to let you delete individual photos from Photo Stream. It’s obvious that a delete option is desperately needed, and hopefully it will be added in a future update to iOS 5 and iCloud.

Related
  • kootenayredneck

    Only two problems that I don’t like about Apple’s Photostream. You can not view the photo’s in a browser and you can not set up individual folder to store them in.

  • prof_peabody

    Could you elaborate on being “unable to delete photos” on Photostream?  

    The way it’s advertised, it’s a synced stream of photos from your devices.  One would expect that deleting one of them would not only cause that photo to be deleted from the stream, but also that this deletion would be pushed to all devices.  At least this is how Apple is marketing it.  

    You are saying this doesn’t happen? Is impossible?

  • Peter Bishop

    This is very irritating with photo stream.  Especially since it’s holding onto screen-shots I took.  In iPhoto it states that it will hold 30 days worth of photos so I assume they will fall off at some point?

  • jeanlouisnguyen

    Photostream. “It just works”. Only, too well. This is my data. The fact that I cannot selectively delete unwanted photos from the cloud, then across devices, is ludicrous. As with any cloud services, be aware of how and where you data is stored.

  • Luiscervoni

    I agree with you guys.i have too many photos in my iPhone same photo four times and I can’t delete it

  • dale2000

    I agree with you but I think the premise of the service complicates things a bit.  Photostream isn’t supposed to be a gallery you show to people.  It’s supposed to be an easy way to sync up photos on your phone with home.  Let’s ignore, for a second, that AppleTV can use Photostream as its screensaver source…

    Now… frankly, I don’t think there SHOULD be a delete function for individual files.  That kind of gets in the way of the purpose. But I do think you should be given an opportunity to say whether a photo is sent to the stream.  And I think an easy solution exists:

    Delay syncing to Photostream for, say, 10 minutes.  That gives people PLENTY of time to delete photos after they’ve taken them before they get sent to all other devices.  Beyond that, let the service perform as ubiquitous and “behind the scenes” as it was designed.

  • Dbailey846

    Just discovered this problem.  I turned off Photostream, it’s just too annoying.  Don’t like that it keeps photos of stuff I deleted off the camera roll.  At least you can make albums in the camera roll and organize the photos that you WANT to keep.

  • Hondamaker

    Simply turning off Photostream will delete all the photos on it. Then just turn it back on. I’ve done this a few times. Seriously, check it out.

  • crateish

    Sadly, I haven’t switched it on and I don’t plan to. Not until I have more control over the ‘stream.’ This aspect of iCloud is my only disappointment.

  • premonition

    thats where people make mistakes, when you do that via your iDevice it doesnt delete it. This is why you have to do it from both the browser and then your iDevice.

  • Demonstr8r

    I

  • dannypolicarpo

    Despite Apple’s great efforts Photo Stream and a few other aspects of iCloud make no sense to me. dale2000 has quite rightly pointed out below that to allow individual deletion of images would defeat the purpose of the stream, however i agree you should have control over what gets synced and what does’t.

    The missing functionality to view images through a “Gallery” is also an annoyance, some might argue well you will always have your iPhone on you or be near a Mac to view the images, however for example you may not always have your personal Mac to hand when away on holiday.

    Sharing photos over the iPhone screen isn’t ideal, so to have allowed the stream to be viewed through a web browser would have been cool. Why a Gallery app/option wasn’t enabled baffles me as the functionality is all ready in place in mobileme, just like the removal of signature syncing between mail accounts and other little niggles why iCould why!

  • Maged Aboraya

    ok,But when I made that ,it return back and nothing happen as i went to settings and turn-off photo-stream and i press on delete photos after that i turn-on photo-stream again and i found out that the photos in the place ,????????????

  • Ramboxman

    I took a picture of my wife in lingerie and my in laws saw. Turning off the stream.

  • Christopher Gardner

    I came up with a work-a-round. The instructions to remove selective photos from Photo Stream are here.
    It’s written for those using iCloud Control Panel to sync with PC.
    Those with Macs should be able to get the same result if they substitute
    for the Photo Stream folders that are used with iPhoto, or Aperture.

    I do have to warn you this is by no means convenient, but it works for
    now until we get an update. Let me know what you guys think.

    Also, I’m not sure you guys know this, or not, but if you turn off and
    on Photo Stream on your device, it erases the photo stream files just
    for that device. No iCloud.com reset needed. So basically after you take
    a bunch of photos, and don’t want the wasted space cycle photo stream
    on your phone and your pictures will still be backed up in the cloud and
    on your computer, but will NOT sync back to your phone again unless you
    upload them manually from your computer. I hope that helps out some people neither
    solutions are perfect.

    It would be real nice if apple would add support for deletion, but I’m
    starting to think it has something to do with the difficulty setting
    rules for how multiple devices handle editing the same files in the
    cloud. Redundancy is the safest bet to avoid data loss.

  • riddler

    Everything I try to delete from the iclould control panel via the browser, I get an error saying there’s a problem with the server, try later. I have tried several times over the past 10 hours or so.  Obviously, just toggling the photo share off and on doesn’t work without resetting from the icloud control panel.

  • Daniel Marusac

    not true, when you turn back on , then the pictures come back to your phone stream , only if you delete from icloud is deleting forever.

  • Christopher Gardner

    I said it before. There is a way to individually delete photos from photo stream. It’s a pain it the ass, but if you follow my directions I wrote here: http://bit.ly/mSVe9e you will be able to get rid of any photos you like.

  • mommy of 3

    My pictures have automatically synced to my computer, and I need to delete them, I have followed the steps, but they are still there in my “photo stream” I managed to turn the auto sync off so it wont happen again, but I really need to get these picturse off my computer

  • Bobbybraun82

    Extremely helpful. Thank you!

  • PhotoStreamer

    Agree with Riddler.  When I log into iCloud from a PC browser, I also receive error message, “Could Not Reset Your Photo Stream.  Your photo stream could not be reset at this time due to a server error.  Try again later.”

    So be aware that your pics will come back if you turn on Photo Stream again, on any of your devices.

  • I’m in Trouble

    This is all about Apple’s hatred for Porn.
    They WANT you to end up divorced.

    Please Let Me Delete Individual Photos from the Stream and across ALL my devices !!!

  • Heralda

    follow the instructions above worked for me  thanks heaps

  • Lucas0365

    since your Mac has more storage than your iOS device, it automatically imports every picture from your Photo Stream into your photo library so you can edit, delete, and share the ones you want.

  • shophive

    I think thos is right

  • Santiagodraco

    You can’t really be serious…?   Why would the only “right” way to delete photos is to stop what I am doing immediately after taking a photo and go and delete it or end up with it being in my stream forever?   That really makes no sense whatsoever.   My photos, my stream, I should have the control I want, period.

    It’s a bit absurd that this feature wasn’t included.   The only sensible reason it’s not there is that they couldn’t implement a safe syncing system across multiple devices in time and it is coming in a future update.

  • Test1

    The problem with deleting seems to be with using IE.  I tried it several times using IE with no luck, then I switched safari and had no problem.  I read on another forum that google chrome works aswell.

  • Garyha

    Go to iCloud.com and log in. On the top right hand side of the Window click
    on your name. In the resulting window, click on Advanced, and then Reset your
    Photostream

    tHISONLY WORKS WITH MAC NOT A PC,with PC u get server not working. go to BEST BUY and delete frrom mac display.

  • Jodielynn5

    Ok… I FIGURED IT OUT! 

    I had the same problem that a lot of you are facing. I followed these instructions perfectly. I went to iCloud.com and turned off photo stream and did the same on my iPhone, but the photos were STILL in my photo stream on my mac. So, here’s what I finally figured out after unfortunately searching for an hour… 

    Once you turn off your photo stream on iCloud.com, then go back to your photo stream on iPhoto on your mac. Go to iPhoto at the top left of your screen by the apple icon. Click it then go to Preferences. Click on Photo Stream then UNCHECK “Enable Photo Stream.” NOW, this will finally get rid of all the photos. Once you do that, the photos are gone. Then you can check the box to enable it again so that any more photos you take in the future will sync to iCloud again. Then, once you want them gone, you just follow these steps again. It’s annoying and I wish there were a simpler way, but at least there IS a way. 

    Hope this helps everyone!

  • Nj415

    thank you so much, you saved my life friend…………coz there were so much extremely private photos which could damage my life……….

  • Aim4theneck

    Thank you for this.

  • Wingatesantiques

    I did as you said with turning on and off the photo stream and no luck deleteing my photos

  • My

    works great….thanks:)

  • Brian Pla

    Perfect… thanks!

  • Carol Morwenna Haynes-Jones

    can u help i tried this and it removed photo stream from my ipad but not my iphone, im left with 548 jpeg signs !!!

  • R. Alexander Miller

    Confirm it works on FireFox as well…

  • us2010us

    very helpful !! thanks a lot ……
    but how come videos dont get on the foto stream ??

  • ?????

    I got lazy and didn’t feel like typing all this. So I went in the Apple Discussions and got this. Basically, turn every end of Photo Stream off, then back on when ALL connections have been turned off. If one stays on, they photos will reappear!

    This is what I did a few times. Believe me, I had photos sent to me that I wanted gone. Not without losing the other. If you have a Mac, use iPhoto to download the pictures you want and save them. Then delete all traces. It’s a new year, start off with new pics!I don’t think we have the option of chosing what photos we will keep in the Photostream folder. Deleting them with iExplorer (a program that you install in your Mac) doesn’t work because the photos are stored in iCloud.com. So to delete “all” photos you have to do the following: 1) on your iPhone go to Settings >> Photos and turn “off” Photo Stream. It will tell you that all photos will be deleted from you iPhone device. Don’t turn it back on again. 2) Acces your account at iCloud.com 3) When logged in you will see your name at the top of the page on the right, click on your name. Click on the Advanced option and then click on the Reset Photo Stream button. That’s it. 4) Now you can go back on you iPhone Settings >> Photos and turn “on” Photo Stream. Now all your unwanted and wanted photos are gone. Sorry there is no option to delete only the unwanted photos at least for now. Hope this helps! It did for me.https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3…

  • jaesontanner

    Another neat option is to keep the photo off photostream in the first place.  I use a neat little app called Snapemail which instantly sends the photo to my email as an attachment.  The advantage is you can set yourself (and/or others) up as a recipient so you don’t have to punch in your email address again and again.  Your mail account becomes a portable hard drive for your iphone. 
    http://snapapptools.com/how-to

  • alittler

    Possibly because they are videos, and not photos

  • dlm24

    How do I cancel photo stream from my computer without deleting my pictures? I already deleted it on my iPad, but I keep getting a message that says “photos that have not been imported will be removed from this computer”. 

  • stevenhugo

    I recover my iphone photo,video,audio and camera photo and video by this software:

    http://www.recovery-iphone.com

  • FTJr.

    genius !!  Thank you Hondamaker

  • AppleTomAppleTom

    I’ve followed your instructions and reset my photo stream, tuned photo stream off and on again, but my almost full icloud doesn’t appear to have reduced in size, still almost full, so can’t do a back up of other files, but the photos have dissapperared in my photo’s on my iphone, and some space has been created on the iphone memory, but icloud is still almost full??? any suggestions please?

  • AppleTomAppleTom

    I’ve followed your instructions and reset my photo stream, tuned photo
    stream off and on again, but my almost full icloud doesn’t appear to
    have reduced in size, still almost full, so can’t do a back up of other
    files, but the photos have dissapperared in my photo’s on my iphone, and
    some space has been created on the iphone memory, but icloud is still
    almost full??? any suggestions please?

  • AppleTomAppleTom

    I posted my previous post before confirming my email, so I don’t know if the community see my post before I did this (I can see it, if everyone else can, then forgive my repeat posting) thanks

    I’ve followed your instructions and reset my photo stream, tuned photo
    stream off and on again, but my almost full icloud doesn’t appear to
    have reduced in size, still almost full, so can’t do a back up of other
    files, but the photos have dissapperared in my photo’s on my iphone, and
    some space has been created on the iphone memory, but icloud is still
    almost full??? any suggestions please?

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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