How to delete all photos from an iPhone or iPad

The Photos section of iExplorer is read-only and is only for transferring photos and recorded videos to your computer, but you can still use iExplorer to entirely delete your Camera Roll, Photo Library, and/or Photo Stream by going into the Media folder and deleting the photo/video files and the photo database file which will empty the Photos app on your device. 

Before taking these steps, just make VERY sure that you have backup copies of any of these photos or videos on your computer because once you delete them with iExplorer, you may not be able to get them back. 

If you have iCloud Photo Library enabled on your device, then you may not be able to delete your Camera Roll files in your Media/DCIM folder. When that setting is enabled, Apple blocks access to those files since deleting those files on your device will also remove them from iCloud. To see if you have this setting enabled, you can tap on Settings > Photo & Camera and see if the switch for iCloud Photo Library is turned ON. If you need to delete them, you can tap that switch to OFF before taking the steps below. 

Here's a step-by-step way to delete all of your photos and recorded videos once you have them all backed up on your computer:

  1. Make sure both the Photos and Camera apps are closed on your device. To make sure they're not running in the background, you can double tap the Home button and find the apps in the recents list. In iOS 7-10, swipe up on each app to fully close it. 
  2. Connect your device and go to the Media folder in the upper left panel of iExplorer.
  3. Open the DCIM folder and find the 10#APPLE subfolder that contains your Camera Roll files.
  4. Right-click on that subfolder with the photo files and choose Delete. (If you also need to delete your Photo Library albums synced from iTunes, you can navigate to Media/PhotoData and delete the Sync folder which has those files. Photo Stream (iCloud) files can be deleted in Media/PhotoStreamsData folder.) 
  5. Now, you just need to delete the photos database file and turn off iCloud Photo Library if you have it enabled. To see if it's ON, go to Settings > Photos & Camera and check for the switch for it. Once it's definitely switched to OFF, the photo database file is located in Media/PhotoData and is called "Photos.sqlite". Just select it and right-click > Delete.
  6. Power off your device and power it back on, and your Photos app should now be empty. 

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