How To Delete ALL Photos from your Android Device [May 2020]
If you’re ready to delete every photo on your phone, you may wonder how this is possible. Spending hours sifting through photos and deleting them one at a time is strenuous and unnecessary.
Maybe you’ve already printed the photos you needed or added them to a photography site. You may be getting rid of your phone and want to remove the contents before doing so. Or maybe you’ve got photographic evidence of some poor choices that you need to destroy from the universe before anyone finds out. (We don’t judge; we just provide information.)
Deleting all of your photos en masse is actually a pretty simple task to take on, and it’s only going to take a few steps to get it all done.
Step One: Consider Backing Up Your Photos
If you’re really set on removing all of your photos, we’ll first explain how to back your images up. If you have a change of heart, your photos will still be there for you to retrieve later. Assuming you’ve already backed everything up, or you don’t care about your pictures, skip to step two.
Backing Up Your Photos
Everyone likes free and easy-to-use, and Google Photos is exactly that. Google Photos is an application for Android that makes it quick and easy to back up your photos over Wi-Fi as soon as you take them, or later on, as the case may be.
You can back up your entire device, or choose specific folders for your selections, and your photos will immediately be available on any device through which you can sign in to your Google/Gmail account. The app will walk you through backing up your photos, and the time it takes will depend on both your internet speeds and the number of photos you’re backing up, so go ahead and plan on uploading them overnight while your phone is plugged in.
- Download the Google Photos app
- Sign in to your Google account
- Plug your phone in and connect to wifi
- Tap on the three horizontal lines located on the upper right-hand side of the app
- Select ‘Settings’
- Check the ‘Back up & Sync’ option
- Make sure that this is turned on
When the upload completes, you’ll see a small cloud icon at the top of your page with a small checkmark to let you know your photos are safely on the cloud. If you want, log into your desktop or laptop computer and check photos.google.com to see if your photos have finished uploading. There will be a chronological scroll bar on the right-hand side of the screen, which will help organize your photos for you.
A quick note: If all you’re looking to do is free up space on your device, Google Photos has an option that will delete all photos and videos once they’ve been uploaded to the cloud. As you can see in the screenshot above, the option appears right under the Backup notification and allows you to click to make additional choices.
You’ll see a message that tells you how much room you can free up and how many items will remove from your device. The message will confirm that the “items have been safely backed up to your Google account.” For some of you, this may be all you need. For everyone else, move on down to step two, in which I’ve included two options.
Step Two: Deleting Your Photos
Option One: Gallery apps
Alright, time to make those photos go away. If you followed the above step to upload your pictures to Google Photos, we suggest you do not use the Google Photos app to delete the pictures off of your phone. Doing so will also delete your cloud backups, and that’s no good if you wanted to save a copy just in case.
Instead, make sure you use either the standard gallery app on your phone or, if you use a phone that only came with the Google Photos app, use a third-party gallery app like QuickPic Gallery to delete these files off your phone. If you use the Google Photos app, you won’t just delete the photos saved to your phone, you’ll also be deleting the copies of your photos you uploaded to the cloud.
Select All & Delete
Android phones may differ depending on the operating system and manufacturer. The instructions for deleting your entire gallery should be relatively similar.
- Open the Gallery app
- Long-press one of the available albums – A checkmark should appear
- Tap the trash can icon
You’ll most likely see several sections in the album view in addition to your camera roll, including screenshots, downloads, and any other applications that save photos to the device. One of the easiest ways to remove files from the device is to delete each album individually.
Not every gallery app has this capability, which means you might have to do some super sleuthing research before you choose the gallery app, or experience a little trial-and-error.
In most gallery apps, you’ll simply press and hold on an album to select it, which should allow you to select each album you want to delete. On Samsung’s Gallery application, you’ll also have the ability to select all albums. Once you’ve done this, click delete album, and confirm. Your photos will be removed from your device.
Option Two: File manager apps
You may prefer not to download a gallery app for the exclusive purpose of wiping out certain memories from your life. Understandable. If you don’t want to use a gallery app, you can still use a file browser to do a very similar task to the gallery app method detailed above.
For this method, you can use either the stock file manager or, if your phone doesn’t provide one, a third-party manager from the app (I wholeheartedly recommend Solid Explorer—the name doesn’t lie, it is what it says it is!). Again, you’ll cruise through your file system until you find the folders that contain the photos you want to delete.
This takes a bit more time than using gallery apps that display all your photo-containing-folders at once. You’ll want to make sure you’ve sorted your photos into handy folders, so you can take them to the trash. Then you’ll have to go through your entire file system looking for the folders you need to delete.
Once you’ve gone through this admittedly long process you’ll have no doubt that your phone is once again photo-free, though I still recommend trying the gallery option first if only for ease-of-use.
While you may feel this is a good fail-proof way to make sure you have hand-deleted every unnecessary photo, this is a lengthy process.
Assuming you’re trying to sell or trade-in your phone you can do a factory reset of the device. This is also an option for those trying to free up space. Your contacts are likely saved to your Gmail account and signing in should bring those back. Any apps you’ve had can be easily located in the Google Play Store and re-downloaded.
Start by removing your Gmail account (for google activation purposes).
- Go to ‘Settings’
- Scroll down to ‘Accounts’
- Tap on each Google account and remove it
Once the accounts are removed go back to the main ‘Settings’ page and scroll down to ‘Reset’ (General Management in Galaxy phones). One helpful hint for finding things in your settings, tap the search bar and type in “Reset,” a list of options will appear.
- Tap on ‘Factory Data Reset’
- Enter your credentials if prompted (such as unlock code or fingerprint)
Whether you’re using an LG, Samsung, or even the Google Pixel, these instructions to factory reset your device should work.