Retrieving Deleted Photos Off iPhone {and Related Memory Issues}

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I spent almost two hours with customer service for Apple the other day because I’ve been having memory issues with my iPhone 5S. I bought this phone only a couple months ago, but of course I fill up the 16 gb pretty quickly. Understandable. But I solve this problem by uploading the photos and video consistently and deleting from my phone, which makes room for more photos.

The problem I was having? I’d delete the photos and not clear up much- if any- room. I was losing my mind! So I contacted customer service and they had me delete all of the photos on my phone- prior to deletion, it was telling me I was using almost 4 gb in space. After deletion? Same amount. WHERE ARE THESE PHOTOS!?

He finally had me reset my phone which wiped all the stuff I wanted on there and I had to go through aggravation of setting everything back up. In the meantime, this is a looonnnnng process (45+ minutes) so he got offline and told me to contact him if I still had issues.

Finished this all. SAME problems. Still have 4 gb of photos in mystery land.

I decided to play around for a second. And QUICKLY discovered the issue. With iOS 8, Apple added an additional “album” that saves your deleted photos. Remember how you used to accidentally delete photos or videos and couldn’t retrieve them? Now you CAN! Yay! Very cool stuff. Unless you don’t realize this is occurring and it ends up taking up all your space.

So here’s how to get to your deleted photos to delete them for good.

Go to PHOTOS and click it.

Your screen will look something like this. See the albums section on the bottom right? Click it:

Here’s a list of your albums! As you can see, I currently have 34 pictures in the album. Click on the album:

Here’s what you’ll see. You can click “select” on the top right of this screen, select the photos that you want to permanently delete, or just click “”delete all” on the bottom. If you want to get the photos back, you can click “recover.”

Once you click it, you’ll see this pop up and you’ll verify that you want to delete the photos:

And after you’re done the album will look empty again. And now you can take more photos and videos! Yay!

Still a little bitter that the Apple rep didn’t figure the problem out himself… I imagine a lot of people are going to be running into this issue, but hey- maybe not. It’s just such a new feature and I don’t generally read updates to see what’s new. This is one mystery I’m glad I solved though because I nearly missed an opportunity to video some of my son’s first steps. 

Note: I’m not sure this album was showing up previously. I’d done some investigating to see what was the issue prior to contacting Apple. I have a feeling the feature was active, but it wasn’t until I did a final update while resetting that the album itself showed up. So if you can’t see this album but you’re having a similar issue, make sure you’ve got all your updates on your phone.

Also, these do delete on their own after a period of time (30 days)… in the “recently deleted” album, you’ll see the photo and it’ll have the number of days left until deletion listed over the photo. Again- super cool feature. And if you don’t use your phone for photos and videos all the time, you may not even notice a problem because your phone will be deleting photos once they are 30 days old. But I use my phone heavily for photos and videos between my kids and this blog so I can run through my memory space on my own within a few days.

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