Nina Waite writes in on behalf of her traveling daughter, who is running out of storage while on the road. Her daughter set up iCloud Photo Library before she left, and now wants to get rid of images—she didn’t realize that deleting media now would delete it everywhere.
Nina writes in with several related questions:
Her daughter is using a library on an external hard drive attached to her MacBook Air. Will media on that drive be deleted if she deletes it from her iPhone?
Can she turn off iCloud Photo Library on her iPhone? Nina notes, “Then she has no protection if her phone is stolen or lost.”
And, “Will the pictures she already has in iCloud stay there if she disables the service? I suspect not.”
I’d first recommend reviewing my two columns about deleting media from iOS and macOS with iCloud Photo Library enabled: “Don’t delete your photos after turning on iCloud Photo Library” and “Yes, if you delete your photos from iCloud Photo Library, they’re deleted everywhere.” And I recognize that there’s a problem with Apple’s ease of use if I have to write two columns about this issue and people continue to send in questions when they can’t predict the outcome.