The Culling: iPhone Live Photos

UPDATE: Despite only being in the Live Photos folder, iCloud managed to select and delete more than 100 non-Live Photos, so I had to recover them. Glad to see Apple's tens of billions in profit is going into making iCloud such a seamless experience!

The number of times I have used Live Photos as intended–to make a cute animated video or something–is zero. Well, not zero, because another use is to select a different frame as the key frame, and this is something I’ve used a few times.

I have over 12,000 Live Photos dating back to 2017. This is not a good percentage.

The real reason I leave the feature on is silly–to mute the irritating fake iPhone “shutter” sound when you take a photo. I’ve railed against this particular design choice before.

A more reasonable solution might be to just use the mute switch on my iPhone 12 to silence the shutter sound, and all others. After all, it’s the 21st century, I don’t need my phone squawking at me like I’m some caveman only capable of responding to audio cues.

While I ponder being sensible and changing my ways, I noticed my Apple One™ plan, which grants me and my partner a combined 200 GB of storage, was getting close to full. What to do?

All of my iPhone photos are automagically backed up on OneDrive, with its much more capacious capacity, so I could safely turf them from iCloud. I figured I could keep them on my phone, since it still has plenty of room, but Apple doesn’t give you this option. Delete from anywhere and the photos (live or otherwise) get deleted everywhere.


But like I said, they are already backed up, so I went to and deleted all 12,000+ photos. As it turned out, this took awhile, because you can only delete up to 1,000 at a time and there’s no way I could find to just automatically select 1,000, so I had to adjust a few times, but eventually got it down to zero.

It freed up an impressive 50 GB of storage.

I now must decide if I want to turn off Live Photos altogether. I probably should. Probably.