Stop Messages on iPhone from Saving Photos

Stop Messages on iPhone from Saving Photos - featured

Are photos that people send you in iMessage saved to your iPhone? Here’s how to stop Messages from saving photos to your iPhone.

You’re scrolling through your photos, trying to show your Aunt Beryl some lovely family photos, when up pops a photo in your camera roll that you definitely did not want her to see. You didn’t take the photo, so how did it get there? Well, it’s probably a photo someone sent you in the Messages app on your iPhone. You probably need to learn how to stop Messages from automatically saving photos on your iPhone.

By default, your iPhone will save any photos that you receive in the Messages app to your camera roll. You can find them all in a special section called Shared with You as well as in your main camera roll library.

If you’d rather not have your iPhone save every photo you receive in iMessage to your camera roll, then here’s how to stop Messages from saving to your Photos app.

How to Stop All Photos You Receive in iPhone Messages From Saving

By default, the Shared with You feature in iOS automatically saves photos sent to you in iMessage. These photos will appear in the Shared with You section of the Photos app, as well as in your camera roll. You may not always want this to happen, however. If so, you can turn off the Shared with You feature for the Messages app. This will stop your device from saving the photos or videos you receive in the Messages app.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and select the Messages app.
    iphone messages setings
  3. Select Shared with You.
    iphone shared with you options
  4. To turn off sharing of all content received in iMessage, toggle Automatic Sharing off.
    iphone automatic sharing off
  5. To turn off sharing for photos only, scroll down and toggle Photos off.
    turn off messages saving to photos on iphone
  6. Any photos received in iMessage should no longer be saved.

How to Stop Photos Saving From Specific iMessage Conversations

What if you want your iPhone to automatically save photos from some conversations, but not from others? You might not want your iPhone to save images sent in your bawdy friends’ chat but might want it to automatically save photos sent on your family group chat. The good news is that you can turn Shared with You on and off on a conversation-by-conversation basis.

  1. Launch the Messages app and open the conversation that you want to stop saving photos from.
  2. Tap the name of the conversation at the top of the screen.
    iphone conversation name
  3. Toggle Show in Shared With You off.
    iphone show in shared with you
  4. Your iPhone will no longer save photos from this conversation but will still save photos from any conversations that have the setting turned on.
  5. You can turn the setting off for as many conversations as you wish.

How to Stop Photos You Take in iMessage From Saving to Your Camera Roll

The Messages app allows you to take a photo directly within the app if you want to quickly snap something and send it in the conversation. These photos automatically save to your camera roll, but how do you stop them from saving?

Well, unfortunately, you can’t. Just like on WhatsApp, you can stop photos you receive from saving, but there’s no way to stop your iPhone from saving the photos that you take within the app. Your only option is to manually delete the photos in the Photos app.

How to Delete Photos From iMessage Saved to Your iPhone

Any photos shared with you in iMessage save into your camera roll by default, but they also end up in a special folder called Shared with You. You can delete the photos from this folder to remove them from your camera roll. Deleting a shared photo will only delete it from the Photos app; the photo will remain in your Messages conversation.

Any photos you take yourself within the Messages app won’t appear in the Shared with You app, so you’ll need to locate these in your camera roll to delete them.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. To delete a photo that has been shared with you in Messages, select the For You tab and scroll down to the Shared With You section.
    iphone shared with you section
  3. Tap and hold a shared photo you want to remove.
  4. Select Delete Shared Photo.
    iphone delete shared photo
  5. The photo is deleted from the Photos app but will still be visible in the Messages conversation.
  6. To delete a photo you took yourself in the Messages app, tap the Library tab.
  7. Scroll through your photos until you find the photo you took in the Messages app.
  8. Tap the photo to open it and then tap the Trash icon.
    iphone trash icon
  9. Select Delete Photo.
    iphone delete photo
  10. Your photo is now removed from your camera roll.

How to Manually Save Photos You Receive in iMessage

If you decide that you want to turn off the Shared with You feature in Messages, whether that’s for all conversations or just specific ones, any photos received in those conversations won’t be saved to your iPhone. However, it’s possible to manually save photos if there are some you’ve received that you decide you want to keep.

  1. Open the conversation containing the photo you want to save.
  2. Locate the photo in the conversation and tap and hold it.
  3. Select Save.
    iphone save photo
  4. The photo is saved to your camera roll.
  5. You can also tap the Save icon at the side of the image.
    iphone save icon

What is Shared With You on iPhone?

In iOS 15, Apple introduced a feature called Shared with You that makes it easier to find content that other people share with you in the Messages app. For example, if someone sends you a link to a website,  an Apple Music song, or a photo or video, you might forget about them and never get a chance to check them out.

Shared with You keeps the shared content front and center by adding it to the relevant app on your iPhone. For photos and videos, that means that the images or videos are saved to the Share with You section of the Photos app. Songs will appear in the Shared with You section of the Apple Music app, links will appear in the Shared with You section in Safari, and so on. The feature works with many Apple apps, including the Podcasts App, Apple TV app, and News app.

Photos you receive in the Messages app will automatically save to your camera roll. If those messages are deleted from the conversation, they will be deleted from your camera roll, too. You can manually save the images to your camera roll if you wish. They will then remain in your photos even if they are deleted from the Messages conversation.

Stopping Messages from Saving to the Photos App

Learning how to stop photos from iMessage saving to your camera roll ensures that you don’t end up with random photos from your Messages conversations appearing in your photos. At best this is a nuisance. At worst, it’s extremely embarrassing, depending on what photos end up in your camera roll.

It’s good that Apple lets you determine whether to save photos you’ve received or not, even on a conversation-by-conversation basis. It’s frustrating that there’s currently no way to stop photos you take within the Messages app from saving to your iPhone.

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