When it comes to the iPhone (and most other devices too), deleted doesn’t necessarily mean deleted. As it turns out, when you “delete” a photo or other media file, you’re really just telling your phone to get it out of your way for a while. It doesn’t really cease to exist until it gets overwritten by some other piece of data.
Whether you’re selling your phone, donating it, or just have a snooping little brother that you don’t want to dig secrets off of your device, you need to learn how to unsync photos from your iPhone for good.
In general, you can use iTunes to unsync photos from iPhone, but it comes with limits, like you can’t preview the photos, unsync selectively, and permanently delete photos. The good news is that you can unsync photos without ever opening iTunes (and access a host of other useful features) using a free program called iMyFone Umate Pro.
How to Unsync Photos from iPhone without Using iTunes
iMyFone Umate Pro is an all-in-one solution to your photo managing needs. More than just a tool for unsyncing photos, Umate Pro allows you to back up, compress, permanently delete photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod—all without ever opening iTunes!
- Unsync Photos without iTunes: Preview and select the synced photos to fully delete.
- Delete with Ease: Whether you are trying to remove a single photo, just a few, or your entire library, Umate Pro makes it quick and easy.
- 100% Unrecoverable: Leave no recoverable trace of deleted photos—perfect for when you’re selling or donating your phone!
- Backup Made Simple: Transfer your photos to your computer from one simple, easy-to-navigate user interface.
- Compression with a Click: Save space on your phone by compressing photos without losing quality.
Download Umate Pro Here to Unsync Photos from iPhone
Once you’ve downloaded Umate Pro, unsyncing your photos from your device is much more straightforward than using iTunes, and you can ensure that any private photos are deleted for good. Just follow these easy steps:
Step 1. Connect your iOS device to your computer. From the menu on the left, select “Erase Private Data”.
Note: If you want to back up the photos before unsyncing, just choose “Photos” tab from the home interface.
Step 2. Click the “Scan” button. Once the scan is complete, all of your private data will be categorized according to the type of data. Click “Photo & Videos” to see only that category.
Step 3. When you have selected all of the photos you wish to delete, click “Erase Now”. A warning box will open to confirm your decision.
Step 4. Confirm your desire to delete the selected photos by typing “delete” in the text box and then clicking “Erase Now”.
The process may take time. Do not disconnect or use your device during the deletion process, or you may risk losing data or damaging your device.
How to Unsync Photos from iPhone Using iTunes
Rather than navigate your iPhone to uncover every photo that you want to unsync, you can do this fairly quickly through iTunes:
Way 1: Unsync Photos by Syncing No Pictures:
- Plug your device into your computer using a USB cable.The computer must be the one that you synced photos with before.
- Open iTunes and select the appropriate device icon.
- From the left-hand menu, choose “Photos”.
- Check the box labeled “Sync Photos”.
- From the drop-down box labeled “Copy photos from”, select “Photos”.
- Choose the “Selected Folders” option.
- Do not select any folders. You can confirm that you have nothing selected because next to the drop down box will read “0 photos”.
- Click on “Apply” to complete the process.
Way 2: Unsync Photos by Syncing with a New Folder
Sometimes, you are unable to gain access to the folder that iTunes is currently syncing photos from, and so the above steps may not work. If this is the case, you can implement the following workaround to tell iTunes to sync to an empty folder, effectively unsyncing all of your photos:
- Create an empty folder on your computer called something easy to remember, such as “Empty Folder”.
- Launch iTunes from your computer, select your device, and navigate to “Photos”.
- Select your “Empty Folder”, or whatever else you named it.
- Click “Apply”.
- Deselect the “Sync Photos” box, and click “Apply” one more time to complete the process.
As you can see, using iTunes to unsync photos can be a bit of a pain. It’s quite unintuitive to have to create a blank folder in order to simply remove photos from your phone.
Additionally, iTunes is significantly lacking in functions that many users require. For example, it doesn’t make it easy to permanently delete photos that you may have “deleted” on your phone but are still lingering in hiding somewhere.