Are you struggling to organize photos on your iPhone? If you’re frustrated with scrolling through your entire photo collection to find a certain image, it’s time to organize your pictures into albums. In this tutorial you’ll learn how use iPhone photo albums to manage photos on your phone, so that you can quickly and easily find the images you need.
Please note, the instructions in this tutorial are for organizing photos on iPhones running iOS 10.
What Is An iPhone Photo Album?
Before you learn how to organize photos into albums, let’s take a brief look at how your images are stored on your iPhone.
When you take a photo with your iPhone camera, the image gets stored in the Photos app. Within the Photos app there are a number of default albums into which your photos get automatically organized. In addition to these, you can also create your own albums into which you can organize photos further.
So an album is just a storage place for a particular set of photos – similar to folders on a computer (but slightly different as you’ll find out later).
You can see your iPhone photo albums by tapping Albums at the bottom right of the Photos app.
If you don’t see a screen similar to the one above, it means you’re currently viewing the photos within one of your albums, in which case, just tap Albums at the top left to return to the main list of albums.
Now let’s explore some of the default albums that your iPhone automatically creates for you.
The All Photos Album
The main album in which all photos, videos, screenshots and Live Photos get stored is called the All Photos album.
Please note that if you’ve chosen not to use the iCloud Photos feature in the Settings app to sync your photos between your Apple devices, you’ll see an album called Camera Roll instead of All Photos. For the purpose of this tutorial, both the Camera Roll and All Photos albums will be referred to as the All Photos album.
To see all of your photos and videos, tap on the All Photos album. You’ll see the name of the album (All Photos) at the top of the screen, and beneath that you’ll see thumbnails (small versions) of your photos and videos. From here you can tap on individual thumbnails to open them.
To return to the list of albums, tap Albums at the top left of the screen.
Default iPhone Photo Albums
In addition to the All Photos album, you’ll also notice that the Photos app contains some other “default” albums.
A default album simply means that your iPhone has automatically created and named an album to store certain types of photos or videos. For example:
When you record video with your iPhone, a Videos album will be created so that you can easily see all of your videos together within this album.
If you take a self portrait photo with the front-facing camera, a Selfies album will be created to store all of these images together in one place.
Albums will also be automatically created for Slo-mo and Time-Lapse videos, Bursts of multiple photos that you capture when shooting in burst mode, and Screenshots that you create by pressing the power and home buttons simultaneously.
If you’ve favorited certain photos (you’ll learn how to do this later), you’ll see an album called Favorites.
If you’ve taken photos of people, you’ll see a People album which picks out the faces of people in your photos and allows you to name them so that your iPhone will recognize these people in future photos.
If you have Location Services switched on for photos within the Settings app, you’ll see an album called Places which displays your photos on a map of the world based on the location that they were taken in.
You’ll also have a Recently Deleted album which holds any photos that you’ve deleted. After 29 days these images will be permanently deleted from your phone.
While these albums allow you to organize photos into different collections, keep in mind that no matter which album a photo or video appears in, it will always also be stored in the main All Photos album too.
So every single photo and video is stored in the All Photos album, but you can also view certain types of photo and video via the default albums listed above.
How Do Albums Affect Storage On Your iPhone?
A common misconception is that all of these different photo albums will take up a lot of extra storage space on your iPhone.
You would think that if a photo or video can be viewed within the All Photos album as well as another separate album, that it would be taking up twice the amount of space on your phone. However this isn’t the case.
This is because there’s actually only one copy of each photo stored on your iPhone. The original image is stored within the All Photos album, while the other albums simply allow you to view certain images within a collection.
So when a photo is added into a new album, your phone doesn’t create another copy of the image… which means there aren’t multiple copies of each photo being stored on your iPhone.
How To Add Photos Into New Albums
In addition to the default photo albums created by your iPhone, you can also create your own albums with any name that you choose.
Creating new albums on your iPhone is a great way of organizing your photos into different collections. This makes it much easier to find and view just the photos you want to look at.
For example, you could add all of your favorite landscape photos into an album called Landscapes. Or you could put photos from a particular holiday into an album with the name of the destination.
Another good idea is to create an album called something like Photos To Edit into which you could add any images that you want to edit. This makes it easy to find the images you want to work on when you’re opening them from within a photo editing app.
Remember that creating albums and adding photos into it doesn’t use up any more storage space on your iPhone. This is because there’s only really one copy of each photo on your phone (stored in the All Photos album).
Even if you add a photo to another album, there’s still only one copy of that image file on your iPhone. This means that you can add a photo to multiple albums without worrying about it taking up more storage space on your phone.
There are two ways to create albums and add images into them in the Photos app:
Method 1 – Create A New Album
The first method involves creating a new album first, and then adding photos into it later.
On the main Albums screen, tap the plus sign (+) at the top left, then type a name for the album and tap Save.
You can now add photos to that album whenever you please. To add photos to your new album, go to the All Photos album (or indeed any other album) and make sure you’re viewing the list of image thumbnails.
Tap Select at the top right, then tap all of the photos that you want to add to the album.
Now tap Add To at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down to find the album that you want, then tap on the album name to add the photos into it.
Method 2 – Add Photos Into An Album
The second method involves selecting a set of photos first, and then adding them into a new or existing album.
To select the images you want to add into an album, tap Select at the top of the image thumbnail screen, then tap on the images you want.
Tap Add To at the bottom of the screen. To add the images to an existing album, tap the album you want to use. Or to create a new album, tap the New Album option, type a name for the album, then tap Save. The selected images will be added to the album.
To view the photos in the album that you added them to, tap Albums at the top left of the screen, then scroll down and tap on the album you want to view.
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How To Organize Photos Within An Album
Once you’ve added images to an iPhone photo album, you can further organize them by changing the order of the photos or removing any images that you no longer want in there.
Note that you can only reorder photos in albums that you’ve created yourself. You can’t change the order of photos in the default albums such as All Photos, Videos, Bursts, etc.
Start by opening the album you want to organize, then tap Select at the top right. To move a photo to a different position, tap on the image and hold it down while you drag it to a different position.
To remove a photo from an album, open the album and tap Select, then tap all of the photos you want to remove. Tap the Delete (trash) icon at the bottom right.
A message will appear asking if you want to delete this photo or remove it from this album. Tap Remove from Album to ensure that the images aren’t deleted from the All Photos album.
How To Manage Your iPhone Photo Albums
Once you’ve created your own albums, you can manage them by renaming, reordering or deleting albums. Note that you can’t rename, reorder or delete the default iPhone photo albums.
Go to the main Albums screen in the Photos app, then tap Edit at the top right. Your albums appear with a red circle at the top left corner.
To move an album up or down in the list, tap on the album and hold it down while you drag it to a different position.
To rename an album, tap on the album name, then type a new name and tap Done.
To delete an album, tap the red circle on the album. A message will appear asking if you want to delete the album – but notice that it says the photos won’t be deleted.
This is because the photos aren’t really stored in this album – they’re actually only stored in the All Photos album. Therefore, you can delete a photo album that you created, but the photos still remain in their original location within the All Photos album.
To confirm that you want to delete the album (but not the photos within it), tap Delete Album on the message.
How To “Favorite” Your Best Photos
If you want to keep all of your favorite iPhone photos in a single album called Favorites, the easiest way is to use the Favorites feature in the Photos app.
To add a photo to the Favorites album, tap on the photo to open it full screen, then tap the Favorites button (heart icon) at the bottom of the screen so that it turns blue.
To view all of the photos that you’ve favorited, go to the main Albums screen, then open the Favorites album.
If you no longer want a photo to appear in the Favorites album, tap on the photo to open it full screen, then tap the Favorites button (heart icon) so that it appears white.
Please note, if you use the Delete button to remove a photo from the Favorites album, it will also be deleted from the All Photos album.
Unless you want to delete an image completely, be sure to unfavorite the photo using the heart icon rather than deleting it from the Favorites album.
How To Delete Photos From Your iPhone
To maximize storage space on your iPhone, you should delete any unwanted images from the Photos app. This also means that you don’t have to scroll through hundreds of unwanted images when you’re looking at your pictures.
Before experimenting with deleting your photos, it would be a good idea to transfer any new photos from your iPhone to your computer, or back them up to external or cloud storage using your preferred method. That way, you can be sure you won’t lose any of your favorite images by accidentally deleting them.
To delete a single image from the Photos app, open up the image and tap the Delete button (trash icon) at the bottom of the screen, then tap Delete Photo.
To delete multiple photos all at once, ensure you’re viewing the images in thumbnail view, then tap Select at the top right. Select all of the images you want to delete, then tap the Delete button, and tap Delete Photos.
When you delete images from your iPhone’s photo library, they’re not permanently deleted to start with. Deleted images go into the Recently Deleted album, and remain there for 29 days – after which they’ll be permanently removed from your iPhone.
This means that if you delete a photo by accident, you can easily recover it from the Recently Deleted album – as long as you do so within 29 days.
To view your deleted photos, go the main albums screen, then open the Recently Deleted album. Here you’ll see all of the photos that you’ve deleted, together with the number of days remaining before they’ll be permanently removed from your iPhone.
To recover any of your deleted images and move them back into the All Photos album, tap Select at the top right, select the photos you want to recover, tap Recover at the bottom right, then tap Recover Photos.
If you want to permanently delete the photos from the Recently Deleted album before the automatic 29-day time-frame, select the photos, tap Delete at the bottom left, then tap Delete Photos.
Learning how to manage photos on your iPhone will make it far quicker and easier to locate a particular photo when you need it.
It’s also very satisfying to be able to view collections of images within individual albums, rather than scrolling through hundreds or thousands of images in the All Photos album.
When organizing photos into albums on your iPhone, keep in mind that when you add a photo into an album, that image will still always still be stored in the All Photos album as well. So adding a photo into a new album won’t delete the image from the All Photos album.
Also, remember that even though a photo may appear in several different albums, there’s actually only one copy of it on your iPhone. So you can add a photo into as many different albums as you like without worrying that it will take up more storage space on your phone.
If you want more ideas about how to back up and store your iPhone photos, take a moment to read our tutorial on iPhone Photo Backup: How To Store, Share & Print Your Images.
Lastly, don’t forget the traditional photo album! It’s no replacement for securely storing your photos so you can continue working on them at a later date, but there’s something really special about holding a physical photo in your hand, or hanging it on a wall. It’s easy to print iPhone photos and display them where you and your guests can enjoy them.