How to Delete All Photos from your iPhone and Dropbox Camera Uploads

Eventually, you will probably run out of storage space not only on your iPhone, but in your Dropbox account, too. If you’re like me:

  • You don’t pay for extra storage from  Apple’s iCloud or Dropbox.
  • You periodically migrate your images and videos to a hard drive or backup hard drive.

When you’re ready to bulk delete all of your images on Dropbox and your iPhone, here’s a quick guide.

The Overall Process: iCloud to Dropbox to a Hard Drive

I follow this process because:

  1. Apple and iCloud make it far too difficult to access the actual image files that you store on your phone. This is true whether you have a Mac or not.
  2. Dropbox solves the above problem pretty easily. You can access your Dropbox photo files efficiently, especially if you have Dropbox installed on your desktop.
  3. Neither Apple nor Dropbox is a long-term solution because of storage limits. So you need a permanent place to save your images.

Where Should I Permanently Store My iPhone Photos?

Before we get started with the deleting, I cannot stress enough that you need to have a dedicated space where your digital photos can live long-term. Once you delete these photos from Dropbox and your iPhone, it could be very difficult or even impossible to retrieve them.

I recommend picking a device (laptop, desktop, or external hard drive) that has at least 100GB worth of storage.

  • A basic Dropbox account offers a measly 2 GB storage space.
  • Most iPhones offer between 32 and 256 GB of space.
  • This excellent external hard drive from Toshiba — and many others — offers 3 TB (terabytes) of space, and it’s barely bigger than my iPhone. Great product.

1. How to delete photos from Dropbox’s Camera Uploads

To start this process, let’s upload any and all remaining iPhone photos and videos to your Dropbox:

  1. Open the Dropbox app on your phone.
  2. Turn WiFi on.
  3. Allow all of your iPhone’s photos and videos to upload to your Dropbox “Camera Uploads” folder.
  4. Now, on your laptop or desktop computer, drag all the files from your Dropbox “Camera Uploads” into your desired long-term storage space (your hard drive, external hard drive, or other).

2. How to bulk delete photos from your iPhone’s Camera Roll

Again, Apple makes this far too difficult for iPhone users. Here’s the trick if you have a Mac:

  1. Open the application called “Image Capture” (why this feature isn’t in the “Photos” app is beyond me).
  2. Plug your iPhone into your computer, manually with a lightning cable. All your photos should now display within Image Capture.
  3. If you are absolutely sure you have imported your photos to your safe space (your hard drive), then select all photos within Image Capture. Do this by clicking Edit > Select All, clicking Command-A, or simply use the shift trick to select multiple items.
  4. Click the ‘Delete’ icon at the bottom. It’s very hidden (ugh). It’s the circle symbol with a slash in middle, right next to the dropdown menu.

Congrats, you did it! Now you have storage space on both your iPhone and Dropbox again — at least for a couple months.

My iPhone photos are not uploading to Dropbox’s “Camera Uploads” folder

One last troubleshooting note. As the months go by, if you ever notice that your photos are no longer syncing automatically between your iPhone and Dropbox, try this:

  1. Open the iPhone Dropbox app
  2. Tap “Photos.” If this still doesn’t jumpstart the sync process to Dropbox, then keep going….
  3. Tap “Account” (or “Personal”) in the bottom navigation bar > tap on the gear wheel (upper left) > then “Sign out from Dropbox.”
  4. Sign back in.
  5. Tap “Account” (or “Personal”) in the bottom navigation bar > tap on the gear wheel (upper left) > tap “Camera Uploads” > make sure that and “Upload Videos” are toggled on.


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