The Fastest Way to Delete Large Numbers of Photos from Your iPad Camera Roll

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If you want to get rid of a few photos in the iPad’s Camera Roll it’s easy enough to just tap and delete within the Photos app on the iPad. If, however, you’ve imported and built up a collection of dozens or even hundreds of images in the Camera Roll that’s not a barrel of laughs anymore.

Here’s my quick suggestion for the best / fastest way to delete a large number of photos from your iPad (if you’re using a Mac):

** As an extra cautious step, you may want to run one full ‘Import All’ process without the ‘Delete after import’ checkbox enabled, and check that all the images imported successfully before running a second one per the steps below.  

— It’s a good idea to save your Camera Roll photos to somewhere just in case you want some or all of them back at a later date – this process using the Image Capture app accomplishes this.

— Launch the Image Capture app on your Mac – it’s probably not in the dock, so you’ll need to launch it from the /Applications folder.

— Connect your iPad to your Mac.

— Image Capture should recognize the iPad right away, and start displaying thumbnails of the images you have in the iPad Camera Roll.

— At the bottom right of the Image Capture screen you’ll see an ‘Import All’ button. To the left of it there’s a dropdown field where you can set which folder to import these images to.The default is /Pictures; I like to create a new sub-folder there called ‘iPad Import Today’s Date’ type thing. Choose whatever folder works for you.

— Once you’ve selected the folder to import your images to, you also need to select the checkbox that reads ‘Delete after import’. This is located at the bottom left of the Image Capture screen, and you may need to toggle it to show with its little button with a downward arrow icon on it.

— Next just click the ‘Import All’ button and wait while the import runs through. The next time you open the Photos app on your iPad you may see a popup letting you know that it is updating the library, and then you should find the Camera Roll is cleared out.

That’s it. Hope this is helpful for some of you.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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9 thoughts on “The Fastest Way to Delete Large Numbers of Photos from Your iPad Camera Roll”

  1. Nice article. I’ve been enjoying your site here. I’ve got a very basic question: Is it correct that the the term “camera roll” is relevant only to devices that have a camera that gets used? So if I have an iPad 1 (I do) or an iPad 2 with an unused camera (I don’t), then I don’t have a camera roll. I think this would make a lot more sense to me if I had an iPhone.

    1. Thanks – and very glad to hear you’re enjoying the site.

      You’re right on the question, the original iPad has a ‘Saved Photos’ album, where images you save from Safari, email and elsewhere are saved, as are all screenshots you take on the device. So it’s essentially an album with the same purpose as the Camera Roll, just with a different name.

  2. You can also quickly delete/move a range of photos from your iPad as follows (another hidden iPad gesture):
    – tap on the square and arrow button on the top right in the photos app (options)
    – tap and hold a photo with two fingers for about 1 second
    – then slide your two fingers across all the photos you want to select
    – then delete or move

    1. Sorry, I just noticed it is already on your site. I might have even learned it from you! Anyway, this may help reach even more people :-)

      1. Lol. No worries – I was just going to say I had posted about that method. Also the tap and hold method is very nice for getting a smaller range of photos deleted, but if you have hundreds or even thousands of images you want to get rid of, the method in this post is a much better option.

  3. Help! How do I delete photos from the camera roll (photos made with iPad camera app) and have them remain in the album?

  4. How do I move pictures inside of an existing album? My pics are not in the sequential order that I would like. I tried to sort them by date but that did not work.

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