The Fastest Way to Remove All the Photos from the iPad Camera Roll

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Remove images from iPad Camera Roll

Deleting a single photo from the iPad Camera Roll is easy. Deleting a handful of photos – say 20 or so – is also pretty simple to get done. But if you have got hundreds or even thousands of images in your Camera Roll, there’s not an easy or quick way to remove them all right on the iPad itself.

Fortunately there is an easy and fast way to do this by connecting your iPad to a Mac or Windows PC and using the default photo import apps.

Here’s how …

On a Mac:

*** A good safety measure when doing this is to do one import without choosing the ‘delete after import’ options and check that all your images have been successfully imported before running it a second time and letting the images be removed from the iPad.

– Connect your iPad to your Mac via USB using its sync cable.

– Close iTunes if you’ve got it set to open automatically when your iPad is connected.

– Open the Image Capture app from the /Applications folder. This is a built-in app on the Mac – so you don’t need to worry about installing it.

Image Capture App 

The Image Capture app will recognize that the iPad is connected and list it as a Device in its left sidebar. It will also show thumbnails of the contents of the iPad’s Camera Roll in its main window.

Image Capture Devices

– Select the import folder that you want your Camera Roll images to go to:

At the bottom center of that main window you’ll see the ‘Import To’ selection field. By default this is set to import to the /Pictures folder under your username. If you click the dropdown arrow it will show a few more standard locations (Desktop, Documents etc) – but you can also choose a custom location. I like to create a folder with an obvious name, so it’s easier to recognize a year later when I get round to sorting through photos – something like iPad 3 Photos March_2013, for example.

Image Capture Change folder

– Once you’ve got your import folder selected, click on the tiny button at the bottom left of the Image Capture sidebar. You’ll see a checkbox for ‘Delete after Import’. If you select that it will do as it says and remove all the images from the iPad Camera Roll. It does this as the import progresses.

Image_Capture_Delete_After_Import

You can even watch the images being removed if you open the Photos app on the iPad while the import is being done. You can see a bit of this in my screenshot at the top of this post.

On a Windows PC

*** A good safety measure when doing this is to do one import without choosing the ‘delete after import’ options and check that all your images have been successfully imported before running it a second time and letting the images be removed from the iPad.

– Connect your iPad to your Mac via USB using its sync cable.

– Close iTunes if you’ve got it set to open automatically when your iPad is connected.

– You will see the Windows Import Pictures and Videos control popup. You can tag the images being imported if you want.

Windows Pictures and Videos Import

– Click on the ‘Import settings’ link in that dialog. On the Import Settings screen you’ll be able to set which folder to import to and you’ll see a checkbox for ‘Always erase from device after importing’.

That’s all there is to it. Happy Camera Roll house cleaning.

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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8 thoughts on “The Fastest Way to Remove All the Photos from the iPad Camera Roll

  1. I have a question. If I have, say, 100 pictures in my camera roll, and say, another 100 in my photostream, are there in fact 200 pictures taking up memory in my iPad? Can I delete the pictures from my camera roll, and still have them in the photo stream and free up a bunch of memory?

    • Import all photos using iPhoto, then select delete photos when the pop up appears after it’s finished.
      Or manually, selecting one by one… Takes ages

  2. Fantastic!! Thanks to you I could release 5GB of memory of my iPhone!

    Salut from sunny Barcelona!

  3. Just saved 11GB pictures and videos to my computer, and deleted ‘em from my iPad :) Thanks!

  4. Didnt work, do you have any idea’s on why? I changed the setting to delete after import, when i imported and it said that it “Deleted” all of them, i checked in my camera role, in fact, it hadnt deleted, but it had also replenished all of the past photos that i had deleted before! Why?!