The Photos app that comes built-in to every iPhone and iPad not only lets you edit photos, it also lets you organize them into albums. However, some iPhone and iPad users seem to experience some confusion when it comes to managing albums. Mainly, they can't figure out why some albums can be deleted, while others can't. If you're one of these people, or you just want to better understand how the Photos app works, here's what you need to know!
Why you can't delete some photo albums on your iPhone or iPad
While most of us sync our data with iCloud these days, it's still safe to assume that some of us also sync with iTunes in order to bring down older photos, videos, and media types. If this is something you do, it explains why photo albums are causing you problems. So here is a breakdown of what you can and can't delete within the Photos app of your iPhone or iPad:
Photo albums created in iOS
If you created an album in iOS by tapping on the plus sign, naming it, and adding photos to it, you can easily tap edit and delete that entire album whenever you'd like. Deleting the album will not delete the photos from your iPhone or iPad. It only deletes that album. The photos themselves will remain in collections, other albums, and in Photo Stream.
Photo albums automatically generated in iOS
Newer versions of iOS automatically sort some types of photos into albums automatically for you. For example, panoramas can all be found in one album, as can slow motion videos or regular videos. These albums currently can't be deleted by the user.
Photo albums synced from a Mac or PC
If you've plugged your iPhone or iPad into your computer in order to transfer existing photos via iTunes, these are the albums that you can not delete. If you want to delete them, or specific photos within them, you'll need to go through iTunes again. For example, if you want to delete select photos from an album, you'll need to delete them from the album on your computer and then apply sync changes in iTunes. If you want to remove an entire album, just uncheck it in iTunes and sync again.
Photo albums created by App Store apps
Some albums created by third party apps seem to give users trouble when it comes to managing them. Some of them have a way to disable this functionality, while others don't. For example, Snapseed by default will create its own album in the Photos app and store any photos you've edited and saved. While convenient for some, it may be annoying for others. You can go into Settings > Snapseed in order to disable this behavior. Other apps offer a disable toggle as well so be sure to check the Settings app for it.
iOS 8, Yosemite, and the future of the Photos app
While we have to deal with some of these kinds of frustrations now, Apple is bringing a lot of changes to the way we manage photos in iOS 8. Not only that, a brand new Photos app for the Mac will replace products such as iPhoto and Aperture starting in early 2015. The future looks bright for photo management but until these changes are actually made, hopefully some of the above tips will help you better manage your photos in the mean time.
As always, if you have any tips for better managing photos on your iPhone or iPad, feel free to share them in the comments!