How to delete photos on iPhone but keep on iCloud?


Active Member
I have been looking into this and am thoroughly confused. The situation is that I have a 200gb family plan and I have shared that with my wife. Her phone now is saying it is low on storage (128gb phone).

As far as I can see iCloud seems to be a synchronisation service that stores the photos and then synchronises them between all devices signed in from an account meaning deleting a photo in iCloud or on the device deletes it across all the others.

Is there a way to just use it as a storage service so that I can delete it from the phone but keep it in iCloud?


Standard Member
I’m not sure if you can do exactly as you suggest (other than turning off iCloud photos on individual phones), but there is another setting under settings/photos called “optimise iPhone storage” which will prevent the full size photos being synced and should free up space on the phone. You still see the full library and I think it downloads the full photo on demand if you go to view it.

I’m not sure how aggressive it would be about cleaning up space for your wife’s phone though.


Active Member
Seems to be something wrong with my wife’s phone. iCloud backup has been turned off as had photos even though I recently checked and it was on. Now it gives the below message when I toggle on photos but even if I select remove photos it just toggles off the photos so it won’t back up or sync.

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