Several readers have written in asking how to delete photos from their iPhone or other iOS device when the trash can icon appears in gray and can’t be tapped in the Photos app when displaying some or all images and videos. There seem to be a few different causes for this problem, which typically arise if an iOS device has been synced to iTunes—either the iOS device with the trash-can issue or a different one that was backed up and restored to that problematic device.

In both cases, you may need to erase the current contents of the iOS Photos library in the steps that follow, so you should make sure you have a complete backup of all the multimedia you want to save. If you’re already syncing photos with iTunes on a Mac or PC and you’re sure you’re up to date, that’s likely what’s preventing you from deleting images in iOS—I’ll get to that in a moment.

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