With device storage in short supply, many users have been perplexed to find that their iPhones are hiding many—sometimes thousands—more photos than are visible in the Photos app. Finally find out how to reveal those photos and manage them in order to free up precious gigabytes of storage.
Who Should Read This?
This article is intended for iPhone users who are concerned about running out of storage space and who don’t actively transfer photos and videos off their devices. It primarily applies to iPhones upgraded to iOS 8.1.3. For more information on your iPhone’s operating system, click here.
The sophisticated and innovative features of any modern smartphone are always doing battle with the device’s precious resources, including storage. With each simple click, the camera files away a multi-megapixel photograph fit for an 8×10 print. Small wonder that photos tend to be one of the more common culprits when storage becomes scarce. But as iPhone users seek to free up storage by deleting photos, many of them are being stumped by an obscure problem: the device indicates that there are many more pictures stored somewhere than are visible through the Photos app. Whether or not you’ve personally encountered this issue, you would do well to follow the steps below.
Determine The Number Of Photos On Your iPhone
Go to Settings > General > About.
Note down the number next to Photos. Also compare the (storage) Capacity and what’s Available directly under it. Depending on how much available storage you have, you may want to be more aggressive in managing the number of photos. The recommended minimum amount of available storage is 5 gigabytes (GB), which is approximately what 1,000 photos use up.
For comparison purposes, head on over to the Photos app, and select the Albums view in the bottom bar.
Don’t be surprised if the total number of items is nowhere near the number you saw under Settings. Here’s where the mystery starts. To save you time, we’re going to skip ahead to the big reveal.
Unhide The Hidden Photos
This issue has vexed many an iPhone user. If you’re one of them, it’s quite possible that there are many more deleted photos hidden on your device than shown in the Recently Deleted album.
To unhide those photos:
- Go to Settings > General > Date & Time
- Set Automatically (which sets the time on your iPhone to a signal from the network) should be on (green); if so, switch it off, otherwise leave it off
- Swipe down on the date to manually set the time on your phone back … several years, to a time before you remember storing photos with this or any previous iPhone; you’ll quickly be able to restore the right time later, by switching Set Automatically back on.
View and Manage The Extra Photos
Now if you open up Photos in Albums view, you should see the extra photos in the Recently Deleted album. In the Albums overview, the number next to Recently Deleted will not have changed, but when you click on that album, you should see a significant increase in the number of photos. You can manage them as needed, or simply delete them manually if you didn’t need them in the first place.
Before you’re finished, you should go back to Settings > General and:
- check the number of photos in About; it should agree with the number shown in the Photos app
- reset the Date & Time to Set Automatically.