Deleting iCloud photos

My father in law has an iPad he uses for his work. He’ll take a picture with the iPad then once it’s synced to his windows machine he’ll put it in the report he’s working on.

He only has the default 5GB iCloud storage account. He’s now getting warnings that he’s running out of space.

I’d like to figure out a way to automate the following: Once a week move any pictures that are older than a week to a USB drive and delete them from iCloud.

Is there any way to do this?

What method are you using for this sync, and where are the images being stored?

On a related point, is an iCloud backup of images a requirement of the workflow?

Is the USB drive connected to the PC all the time, or is this a once a week manual action?

If the image is in a report, would it actually be enough to have the embedded image there, or is a separate backup of the original image essential?

The sync is done via iCloud Photos sync. No iCloud backup is not a requirement. It’s only being used due to its ease of syncing to the desktop. The USB drive is always connected. I would prefer an automated process as he’s quite challenged when it comes to learning new workflows on the computer.


You can schedule a command line script to run against the folder that will look at the timestamp on the file and you can set it up to move to the USB drive.

This article is a good introduction to how to use task scheduler and a script. Please note the script used here deletes files. It does not remove them.

This one isn’t as easy to follow as the first, but does describe how to move files instead. I think it’ll make more sense after reading that first article.

I’ve never used the photo sync on Windows, but I assume that the sync must be two way, and so when you move those files, I would assume that results in a removal on the iCloud side.

Hope that helps.

A move in windows does not result in removal from iCloud. At least not based on the tests I’ve done.

Okay, it isn’t running a two-way sync by the sounds of it.

In that case, I can suggest a more manual workaround as it doesn’t look like you can force it from the Windows-side. You could set-up a timed automation on your father in-law’s device for a Shortcut. That shortcut could then be run to remove out of date photos. deletions on the iPad should be sync’d.