iOS 9.3 Allows You To Delete Photos Within Albums

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iOS 9.3 delete photos in albums

iOS 9.3 has a great feature that seems to have flown under the radar: the ability to delete (not just remove) photos inside of albums. Previous to this, the only thing you could do to a photo within an album was remove it by tapping on the trash can button. However, removing photos from an album does only that: remove a metatag that associated those photos with a particular album. Those photos will still exist on your camera roll and take up space.

This is an issue if you’re re-reviewing old albums and you happen upon some pictures you don’t really like or need any more. It was easy to pick out the images I wanted to delete, but instead of deleting them from right within the album, I had to find them in the Photos tab (under a specific Moment) and delete them there. It was a silly extra step.

This limitation is what prompted me to use Favorites (the hearts on iOS) to tag photos for deletion. I would previously add a heart to any photo I didn’t want to keep, and then I’d head to my Favorites album, select all items, and delete everything. Specifying an item as a Favorite is really just another way of adding a metatag, but Apple gave this folder the extra special privilege of being able to delete photos within it. If you press on the trash can while viewing Favorites you won’t see an option to remove photos, you’ll just be prompted to delete them.

However, as of iOS 9.3, were now given a choice of whether you want to remove a photo from an album, or simply delete it altogether. This is a simple, lovely change that makes a lot of sense.

My new workflow in iOS 9.3 for culling large numbers of photos is to add them to an album called Rejected. This is working better than Favorites because I could only ever tag one photo as a Favorite at a time. This meant moving from picture to picture and tapping on the Favorite button to tag each one for deletion. Today I can select multiple thumbnails from the Photos tab and add them all at once to a Rejected album.
Once that’s done, I head to the Rejected album in the Albums tab, select everything, and tap on the trash can. This is a wonderfully easy way to cull shots after a day of shooting.

This has also freed up the Favorites button for its intended use: for tagging the pictures I like the most. I’ll be using this Favorites list for tagging shots for Instagram or 500px because the Favorites album tends to have a favoured spot in iOS 9. It’s usually near the top, just under the All Photos view in any photo picker, and it also displays its pictures in chronological order (unlike user-created albums).

It’s really feeling like Apple is listening to user feedback and is paying attention to the little trouble spots in iOS, and I’m really impressed by how much has made it into iOS 9.3 thus far. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few hundred pictures to delete.

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2 thoughts on “iOS 9.3 Allows You To Delete Photos Within Albums”

    1. That’s also a valid reaction. It is a basic feature.
      I’m fine with this happening now because Apple’s doing a good job of balancing new features (night mode) with catch-up features (keyboard shortcuts and photo deletion). It doesn’t feel like the catching up is taking away from the innovation.

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