I grew in an Atari family that eventually switched to PC’s with DOS and then Windows for so I wasn’t wowed by the Macintosh when it arrived. I personally hated the Apple II because I was stuck with it in school long after it was out of date. I also hated the Oregon Trail game that I was forced to “play” when teachers wanted to sit around and grade papers or snooze instead of teaching. The iPhone was a different story. It was light years better than the smart phones and devices that came before it. The Apple store I could do without though. Apple stores strike me as too paternalistic. Then there was the time that the manager at an Apple store refused to help me upgrade my iPhone battery or get my iPhone screen replaced, but was more than happy to sell me a new $200 replacement phone. Then I got back into programming after a long break and it was clear that using a Mac with its Linux based OS instead of a PC was not much of a question…the Mac was just the right tool for the job. Fast forward a few OS X’s and a lot of iOS upgrades to the present and I am finding myself a bit frustrated by Apple’s OS X + iOS straight jacket on my data. I bought a new storage device to help me to keep up with a growing photo and video collection a few days ago. I decided to clear off all the photos and videos from my iPhone and my wife’s iPhone. This post is about how to delete all photos from an iPhone using iOS (Mac & PC). The reason it is worth of a post and a bit of a rant about Apple will follow.
Windows machines and OS X machines have an explorer program. It is not iTunes or Windows Media something or other. In Windows I can view my iPhone in the Windows Explorer app. On Mac OS X I can’t. Instead, I must open Image Capture. The problem is that Image Capture does not allow me to delete files AND that it requires that I open two different file explorer apps just to copy some files. I can’t cut and past files, nor can I delete files, in either app. With Microsoft’s Windows Explorer I can do all of that in one app.
To delete photo and video files I have to use my iPhone’s Photos app on iOS. It gets worse. You can’t select all…instead you are forced to select “moments” which are groups of anywhere from a few dozen to two or three photos grouped somewhat randomly by date. If you have a 35 gig iPhone like I do then this could take an hour or possibly more. If you have a larger phone it is much worse.
I spent a solid chunk of time seeking out a workaround or solution for how to do this via my Mac instead of my iPhone, but there simply isn’t an answer. So while I was backing things up on my Windows laptop I plugged in my iPhone to charge it and that is where I remembered that I could delete files on my iPhone in bulk using Windows Explorer. Problem solved.
I don’t get why Apple feels that it needs to be so paternalistic about people’s data. There is no good reason to make it so hard for people to clean out their iPhone to make room for new video and photos. I guess this helps make the case for upgrading to an iPhone with more gigs of memory, but that isn’t a good reason to me. If you use your iPhone to take a ton of photos or use it with your camera that has 10+ megapixels this space will dry up really fast.
iCloud essentially adds even more insult to injury. You can’t turn it off. There is a constant popup asking me to enter my password for iCloud even though I don’t use it and don’t plan to anytime soon.