How to Organize iPhone Photos on iOS 17

iPhones are well known for their cameras, and it can be a little difficult to stop your finger from clicking that capture button. When uncontrolled, it can lead to a disorganized photo library, making it hard to locate pictures and videos.

Fortunately, the Photos app offers a variety of tools and tricks that you can use to manage photos on iPhone easily. In this article, I’ll show you how the organization in the Photos app works and the best strategies to keep it tidy.

1. Discover the Abilities of the Photos App

Upon opening the Photos app, you see the Library tab by default. Here, your photos are displayed in a grid format. You can use the provided filters to organize your photos either in an all-photo view or according to their shooting date by years, months, and days.

Aside from the Library tab, you can also easily organize photos on iPhone in terms of Albums, Folders, and the For You tab.


You can store photos and videos with a similar date or content directly in albums. For example, you can have an album for your trip to a museum or a date night in Croatia.

Here’s how you can create an album in Photos:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the Albums tab at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap + (the plus icon) in the top left.
  4. Select New Album from the drop-down menu.
    new album
  5. Enter an album name and tap Save.
  6. Once your new album is created, you will be prompted to select photos to add to the new album.
  7. Browse through your photo library and tap on the photos you want to include in the album.
  8. Once you’re done, tap Add in the top right corner of the screen.
    add photos to album

That’s it! Your new album will now appear in the Albums section with the photos you selected. If you want to add more photos to this album later, simply open it and tap the “+” icon, or use the Add to Album option when selecting photos from your library.


When you have a lot of albums related to a similar theme, you can add and group them into folders. However, keep in mind that you cannot directly store standalone images and videos here.

With that said, you can create a folder in the Photos app by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to Albums and tap + (the plus icon) in the top left.
  2. Select New Folder from the pop-up menu.
    add new folder
  3. Enter your preferred folder name and tap Save.
    name new folder

To add an album to your new folder:

  1. Tap on your folder to open it.
  2. Then, tap Edit on the top right.
  3. Tap the + icon in the top left corner of the screen.
  4. Select New Album from the dropdown, then tap Done.
    new album in folder
Note that there’s no straightforward method to move an existing album to a folder. Instead, you need to create a new album in your desired folder and transfer the photos from one album to another.

For You

Aside from letting you create albums and folders, the Photos app uses intelligent algorithms to automatically categorize photos on iPhone according to date, location, and recognized faces or objects.

You can especially see such automatic sorting in play in the For You tab. In this section, you can access Memories, which are compilations of photos and videos from specific events, automatically recognized and curated by the app.

2. Locate & Organize Pictures on iPhone

It’s actually really easy to find specific images in the Photos app due to its powerful search function. You can search using keywords that are related to your photos. The app understands your photos’ content, just as a web search engine would.

Here’s how you can look for images in Photos:

  1. Go to the Search tab
  2. Tap the search bar at the top.
  3. Type relevant keywords.

Tip: To refine your searches, simply type more keywords into the search bar. You can also use quotation marks for exact searches.

Search Categories

As you type, Photos will offer suggestions based on your library content and what you commonly look for. The search results may appear in the following categories:

    • Moments: Based on the time and location data of your photos and videos, Photos can pinpoint certain events, like birthday celebration photos, in your library.
    • People & Pets: As long as you define the names in your People album, which is automatically curated, you can directly search for names of people and pets in the app.
    • Places: Search for a location and you’ll see the corresponding images that you took there. The Places section also lets you view your library content on a map.
    • Categories: For all other photos outside of the three categories, Photos may display them according to their similarities. This will depend on the keywords you use.

Setting Up the People Album

As mentioned above, you can search for names in the Photos app if they’re properly recognized in the People album (People & Pets, if animals are detected). This album is automatically generated, but you can further customize it to accurately tag each detected face.

Here’s how:

  1. In the People & Pets album, tap on the face of the person or pet that you want to name.
  2. At the top, choose Add Name.
  3. Enter the name and tap Next.
    add name
  4. Tap Done.

If you want to add a new person or pet to your People & Pets album, do these:

  1. Tap the photo of the pet or person in your library.
  2. Press the “i” icon (Info button) at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap the face with a question mark.
  4. Choose Name This Person (or Name This Pet, if an animal is selected).
    name this pet
  5. Enter the name and tap Next > Done.
    name pet

3. Declutter iPhone Photo Library

Removing a single photo from your library is pretty easy. While the photo is open, just tap the Trash button and confirm by tapping Delete Photo. However, there are more ways to declutter iPhone photos, such as bulk deletion, duplicate removal, and emptying the Recently Deleted folder.

Delete Photos in Bulk

To delete multiple photos at a time, do the following:

  1. Open Photos and navigate to the Library tab.
  2. Tap All Photos.
  3. Tap Select, and start choosing your pictures and videos.
  4. You can also slide your finger across more than one picture to select it in bulk.
  5. Select the Trash icon and confirm the deletion.

If you’re using iCloud Photos, deleting images and videos on a certain device deletes them across all other devices where your iCloud account is signed in. In shared libraries, if a user deletes a photo, it will stop appearing on your end as well.

Merge Duplicates

Duplicate photos appear in your photo library for many reasons, including multiple imports (from apps like Messenger), syncing across multiple devices, and automatic downloads. They are automatically included in the Duplicates album.

Here’s how you can easily declutter them:

  1. In Photos, go to Albums.
  2. Scroll down to the Utilities section, and tap on the Duplicates album.
  3. Tap Merge and confirm the action.

iPhone will keep the best-quality photo and merge with it other relevant information found from the duplicates. Then, all other images go to the Recently Deleted folder.

Recently Deleted

If you accidentally deleted a photo, you can easily retrieve it from the Recently Deleted folder.

  1. In Photos, go to Albums.
  2. Under Utilities, tap Recently Deleted.
  3. For iPhone 13/14/15 models, unlock your Recently Deleted album using Face ID.
  4. Select your photos and tap Recover.
    recover recently deleted
  5. Confirm the recovery.

Deleted photos that stay here only last for 30 days. After that, they will be deleted permanently. If you want to remove them in advance, follow the steps above and tap Delete (instead of Recover).

4. Incorporate iCloud to Manage Photos on iPhone

If you want to access your multimedia across multiple devices, you can enable iCloud Photos on your iPhone. This way, your entire library gets uploaded to the cloud, allowing it to sync and backup. To do this,

  1. On your iPhone, open Settings.
  2. Tap your name and select iCloud.
  3. Tap Photos and turn on Sync this Phone.

iCloud Photos isn’t really much different from your photo library. You can also edit, organize, and save your photos here as you would in the default Photos app. This time, though, every change is instantly available on all your Apple devices.

Shared Photo Library

iCloud lets you create a shared photo library where you and all other members can view and manage content. All pictures and videos you share go from your personal library to the shared library.

To create one, iCloud Photos must be turned on. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings and tap your name.
  2. Tap iCloud > Photos.
  3. Tap Shared Library and follow the on-screen setup instructions.
    shared library
  4. Once done, share a join invite either using a web link or via Messages.

To join a shared library, simply tap the invite link, choose Get Started, and follow the setup instructions.

Photos from the shared library will be displayed alongside your personal photos. However, you can quickly switch modes to properly organize them according to ownership and access.

  1. In Photos, go to the Library tab.
  2. Tap the More button at the top right and choose one of the following modes:
    1. Both Libraries
    2. Personal Library
    3. Shared Library

Storage Optimization

After enabling iCloud Photos, the Optimize iPhone Storage feature is automatically turned on, too. It stores the original, full-resolution versions of your pictures and videos in your iCloud account. However, it keeps lower-resolution versions on your iPhone.

Here’s how you can turn it on or off.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name and select iCloud.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Photos.
  4. You’ll see two options: Optimize iPhone Storage and Download and Keep Originals.
  5. Tap on Download and Keep Originals to disable the Optimize iPhone Storage feature.
    turn off optimise iphone storage

5. Consider Alternative Solutions for Photo Organization

If you find the Photos app troublesome to use or prefer something else for syncing and backup, you can always look for an alternative. However, note that using the original app, together with iCloud, is still the best option as they are both well-integrated with iOS.

Google Photos

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to iCloud Photos, Google Photos would be a compelling alternative. It offers 15GB of free storage for photos and videos in high quality. This is much better than iCloud’s free 5 GB, making it ideal if you have an extensive photo library.

But when it comes to security, iCloud might be better. While Google Photos offers options to control how your photos are used, it’s essential that you learn about their privacy policy. Another caveat would be the lack of automatic backups, which may stem from operating system incompatibilities.

Amazon Photos

Amazon Photos lets you store your pictures in their original quality. Free users get 5GB of storage for both photos and videos, while Amazon Prime subscribers can get unlimited photo storage. This can be ideal if you have a large photo library and want to keep the quality of your images.

Amazon Photos also lets you create slideshows and private Groups for sharing. It also integrates with Alexa, making searches much easier with voice commands. If you’re in the US, you can also access its photo printing feature.


CleanMy®Phone is an AI-powered cleaner app that uses artificial intelligence to sort and organize pictures on iPhone. This might suit you if you have lots of library content, as the power of AI can make photo management easier even in large collections.

When I used it, I really liked the fact that you can pause cleaning sessions midway. This allows me to have better control over what I want to remove and preserve. That aside, it also allows for easy duplicate removal.


If you want an easier time managing, deleting, and sorting your photos, Slidebox is one great tool that you can use. It allows you to perform quick actions, such as deleting and comparing photos, with swipe gestures. For example, you can delete a photo by swiping it up on your screen.

Slidebox also offers album creation, bulk deletion, one-tap sorting, and syncing. It directly communicates with the default Photos app. In other words, all changes reflect on both apps, as well as on iCloud.


In the Photos app, do the following:

  1. Go to the Albums tab.
  2. Locate the album containing the photos you want to move.
  3. Tap Select in the top right corner and choose your pictures.
  4. Tap Share > Add to Album > your desired album.

You can sort and filter your photos by date in three ways:

  • In the Library tab, tap either the Years, Months, or Days views.
  • In an album, tap More > Sort and choose whether to view your pictures from newest to oldest or vice versa.
  • Go to the For You tab and see your Memories, which are automatically curated based on dates.

If you’re looking for a quick method to mark photos as important, you can use the Favorites feature in iPhone Photos. Here’s how:

  1. Open the photo that you want to mark as a favorite.
  2. Tap the heart icon at the bottom.
  3. Alternatively, tap and hold a photo thumbnail in the grid view. Select Add to Favorites from the menu that appears.

Find the photos that you marked by navigating to Albums > Favorites. For more intricate grouping, I recommend you create albums and folders.

You store your photos and videos directly inside albums. Meanwhile, you can store the albums you create inside folders. Standalone images and clips can’t be added directly to folders.

The Photos app automatically scans your photos for people and pets, organizing them in the People & Pets album. All photos containing that person and pet get sorted together. To add another profile to the album,

  1. Go to People & Pets and tap the face that you want to add.
  2. Choose Add Name and enter the name.
  3. Tap Next > Done.

You cannot recover the album, but you can restore the photos inside it from the Recently Deleted folder in your Photos app. Once retrieved, you can simply create an album similar to the one you deleted.

Yurii Kulynych is a skilled professional who continues to work in Quality Assurance (QA) for InsanelyMac while also starting to write articles. He has a strong eye for detail and extensive experience in ensuring content quality, especially in areas like data recovery, understanding macOS/iOS, and storage solutions for Apple devices. Yurii excels in writing easy-to-follow guides and putting together helpful toolkits.
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