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  1. #1
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    After a brief and unsuccessful fling with iCloud Photos I'm left with hundreds and hundreds of empty folders in the Photos app on both my iPad and iPhone.

    I want to get rid of them, but can't see any way to do this other than one at a time. This would take hours and would certainly destroy my sense of well-being.

    Is there any way to delete folders as a batch in the same way that you can delete lots of photos all at once?

    I have attached a screenshot showing just one screenful of empty photos.



    2019-03-17 06.25.59.png

  2. #2
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    chscag's Avatar
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    Yes there is.

    Click on the first folder, hold down your shift key and then click on the last folder. Now press delete, they should all be removed at the same time.

    I just tested this on my machine to make sure it worked with folders the same as it does with files.

  3. #3
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Click on the first folder, hold down your shift key and then click on the last folder. Now press delete, they should all be removed at the same time.
    That works on the Mac, but not on the iPad or iPhone. Furthermore, deleting an unwanted folder in Photos on the Mac doesn't delete that same folder in Photos on the iPad or iPhone.

  4. #4
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    How do you sync photos between your devices? Are the folders selected in iTunes > iDevice > Sync Settings?


    Bob -

    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  5. #5
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    How do you sync photos between your devices? Are the folders selected in iTunes > iDevice > Sync Settings?
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand. I don't see any place to select Photos folders in iTunes. But, I'm old and not very smart so I need more specific instructions.,

  6. #6
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Sorry. I think I understand what you mean. In iTunes I select the device, then select Photos and then select the folders I want to sync. (I have never used Photo syncing.)

    But, here's the problem. If I have already deleted the folders on my Mac, then they don't show up as folders I can sync in iTunes.

    The other problem is that folders that are empty on both the iPad and iPhone still have photos in them on my Mac. I have no idea how this happened because when I turned iCloud Photos off it deleted all of the photos on the iPad and iPhone but not the Mac. It deleted most of the photos on the Mac, but not all.

    Another problem is that the iPhone and iPad display the folder heirarchy differently. On the iPad all the folders (over 1100 of them) are displayed flat as individual folders with no nesting. On the iPhone the folders are displayed with the hierarchical file structure preserved. I have no idea how this happened. Somehow importing image files into Photos on the Mac with iCloud Photos enabled treated the existing directory structure differently on the iPad and iPhone.

    And, finally, even when I tried to sync it failed on both the iPhone and iPad. Both devices were connected via cable to the Mac. When I tried to sync I got a message like "Looking for iPhone". Eventually, it gave up looking and I got this message:

    Screenshot 2019-03-17 09.18.48.jpg

    This is one of the many reason why I abandoned iCloud Photos. It caused so much havoc that I wish I had never touched it.

  7. #7
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    IWT's Avatar
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    @Ratsima

    Welcome. A lot of us here are aged, or certainly feel that way some days; but don't let that spoil your fun.

    I've followed this thread and what I'm not clear about is: what is your final aim in all of this?

    Let me explain my lack of understanding: you had photos on your iPad, iPhone and iMac. Okay.

    And at that time, you had iCloud Photos turned on - on both the iPhone and iPad? Did you also have "My Photo Stream" turned On or Off on the iPhone and iPad?

    And was iCloud Photo Library also turned on on your iMac? And was "My Photo Stream" turned On or Off on your iMac? (both are found in Photos app > Preferences > iCloud).

    A lot of questions; but I'm sure I can help you if I know what settings you had On/Off on all your devices.

    Turning Off iCloud Photos on your iPhone and iPad did what they are supposed to do; so I can understand that part.

    Finally, back to first question again - what is your final aim? Is it to clear ALL devices off ALL photos - or keep certain photos just on the iMac, for instance?

    If I can just get a grasp on your setup from the beginning AND your final intention, I'm confident I can explain things for you.

    Ian
    Ian

  8. #8
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Here's what it looks like on the iPad:

    https://www.mgnewman.com/blogger/ipad_photos.mp4

  9. #9
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWT View Post
    @Ratsima

    Welcome. A lot of us here are aged, or certainly feel that way some days; but don't let that spoil your fun.

    I've followed this thread and what I'm not clear about is: what is your final aim in all of this?

    Let me explain my lack of understanding: you had photos on your iPad, iPhone and iMac. Okay.

    And at that time, you had iCloud Photos turned on - on both the iPhone and iPad? Did you also have "My Photo Stream" turned On or Off on the iPhone and iPad?

    And was iCloud Photo Library also turned on on your iMac? And was "My Photo Stream" turned On or Off on your iMac? (both are found in Photos app > Preferences > iCloud).

    A lot of questions; but I'm sure I can help you if I know what settings you had On/Off on all your devices.

    Turning Off iCloud Photos on your iPhone and iPad did what they are supposed to do; so I can understand that part.

    Finally, back to first question again - what is your final aim? Is it to clear ALL devices off ALL photos - or keep certain photos just on the iMac, for instance?

    If I can just get a grasp on your setup from the beginning AND your final intention, I'm confident I can explain things for you.

    Ian
    My final aim in all this is to delete all of the empty folders in the Photos app on my iPad. There were originally about 1100, but, over the past year I have spent a few minutes now and then to delete some of them. I haven't counted lately.

    Here's how it all rolled out:

    At the urging of a friend I decided to enable iCloud Photos and import all of the photos on my Mac (about 45,000) into the Photos app on the Mac and thereby into iCloud Photos. I turned iCloud Photos ON on all my devices. My Photo Stream was turned off on all devices.

    When doing the import I told Photos to preserve the directory structure when importing. My photos are filed in directories by year and in subdirectories by place or event.

    The import was fraught with errors. Photos kept crashing. But, eventually all 45K were imported and, indeed, were in iCloud Photos. The directory structure was preserved.

    But, I really hated iCloud Photos; mainly because it insisted on "optimizing" every photo I took with my iPhone:

    - Take a photo while waiting in line to order coffee.
    - After ordering try to edit the photo only to find it optimized and have to wait for a full resolution photo to download.
    - Pick up the coffee and then try to upload the photo to Swarm
    - The photo is already optimized so wait for it to download so I can upload to Swarm.

    To me, this was crazy not to be able to keep full resolution versions of my most recent photos on my iPhone.

    So, I turned iCloud Photos OFF on all devices.

    This removed all the photos from my iPad and iPhone, but left behind hundreds and hundreds of empty folders.

    I no longer use the Photos app on my Mac for anything. I don't look at it at all, so I don't care that it has a few photos remaining from the old import.

    However, I do use the Photos app on my iPhone and iPad. I now have My Photo Stream turned on and it does exactly what I want. I keep only a few photos in the Camera roll. Other than My Photo Stream, I don't use either the iPad or iPhone to store photos.

    Bottom line: I want to get rid of the empty folders on my iPad without having to delete them one-by-one.

  10. #10
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    IWT's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for taking the time to record and then post the video; and thank too for your subsequent text post.

    At one time you did have My Photos Stream turned on - at least on your iPad because the video you posted shows 1,000 pictures - allegedly still there because I can see a photograph.

    Your Camera Roll reflects photographs taken on that device and numbers 524 - again, I have presume, still there.

    Now that I know your aim, try this:

    Attach your iPhone and iPad via USB lead to your iMac (separately of course, not at the same time)

    Do not open iTunes or, if it does open automatically, Quit it (Not just close, Quit by using the keyboard shortcut Command + Comma; or by clicking on the iTunes icon on the top menu bar and then selecting "Quit iTunes").

    Now Open an app called "Image Capture". Do this by going into Finder > Applications > Image Capture app.

    On your left you will see the name of your iDevice with your name - click on this if not already highlighted. As in this screenshot:

    Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 1.15.41 pm?.png

    On you Right, you will see all your Albums, photos (if any) etc.

    Left Click on one of them. Now, use the Keyboard and use Command + A. This will select ALL of the contents.

    RIGHT Click on one of them. From the options, choose Delete x items (where x is the number of ALL your content).

    This will Delete all of them.

    I've just tried this with an experimental bunch of items and it worked as stated.

    Please post back - success or otherwise.

    Ian
    Ian

  11. #11
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWT View Post
    On you Right, you will see all your Albums, photos (if any) etc.
    Image Capture (8.0) doesn't display folders for me; just photos.

    How do I get it to display folders?

    The iCloud Photos experience that I described happened over a year ago. Since then I have been happy with just the Camera Roll and My Photo Stream. Together, they do exactly what I want.

    All I want to do now is delete the hundreds of folders that were left on my iPad after I turned iCloud Photos OFF.

  12. #12
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    chscag's Avatar
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    All I want to do now is delete the hundreds of folders that were left on my iPad after I turned iCloud Photos OFF.
    One way, (not the best) would be to reset your iPad. That will definitely work but it would leave you with having to reload all your apps. That in itself is usually not difficult but if the app is no longer available from the app store, it would mean a loss of it.

  13. #13
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    One way, (not the best) would be to reset your iPad.
    Yeah, that would work, but it seems like more of a surrender than a solution. Plus, you give up what should be a learning opportunity.

    I've owned nothing but Macs for home use since I bought my first one in July of 1984. In all those years I've never succumbed to the "reformat and reinstall" mania that once ruled the Windows world. I've always been able to solve seemingly intractable problems without ever having to reinstall the OS.

    (Perhaps this is a reaction to my All-Windoze work environment where the technical support geeks would give you fifteen minutes and then force you to overwrite the hard drive with a clone.)

  14. #14
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    ferrarr's Avatar
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    In iOS > Settings > iCloud > Photos, what options are selected? Maybe turn Photos off. Give it an hour, then try it again?


    Bob -

    Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  15. #15
    Bulk Deletion of Folders in Photos App
    Ratsima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrarr View Post
    In iOS > Settings > iCloud > Photos, what options are selected? Maybe turn Photos off. Give it an hour, then try it again?
    The only thing that's ON is My Photo Stream. If I turn it OFF then it will delete the Photo Stream from the iPad. I don't really want to do that.

    It's hard for me to see how turning Photo Stream OFF would somehow also delete a thousand empty folders on the iPad.

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