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Will my photos be safe if I do a factory reset on my iPad?

iPad iMac iCloud

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The root of my problem is my lack of adequate understanding of two things:


1 the iCloud and when it does and when it doesn't synchronise data between devices

2 the way Apple devices organise photos


My lack of understanding in these two areas is mostly quite unconnected, but what I'm asking about now is something that relates to both.


Our of the blue, my iPad stopped sending and receiving emails last week when I was away from home. Having done everything I can think of to remedy things, I have decided to do a factory reset.


(I did this procedure several years ago – I can't remember exactly what the problem was then; it was Mail related but not identical to the current problem. I followed some online instructions and the Mail problem was resolved as a result.)


When I did the factory reset last time I can't remember what I did about the photos on the iPad but now I feel the need to have reassurance that there's no way that when the procedure wipes the photos on the iPad it won't simultaneously delete the photos on my iMac. (When I delete a photo on the iPad I am confronted with the message that deleting it will cause deletion of it from the Photo Stream on all my devices.)


So far, this does NOT seem to happen, but I am very nervous that I could accidentally wipe all my photos.


As I suggested above, I am confused about the various categories of collections of photos on both the iMac and the iPad. There doesn't actually seem to BE a Photo Stream on the iMac, which might explain some of the facts.


I would have deleted all the photos on the iPad ages ago if I were not nervous  about losing them from the iMac as well, because they are using up masses of storage and it seems silly to have all the photos twice over.

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Hello sue. words,

I'm not really an Apple specialist but I did some searching and got some information for you.

A hard reset on the iPad wipes the device of your personal data and restores it to the default factory condition. Unless you've previously backed up your data using iTunes or Icloud, you'll be unable to recover data such as your videos, pictures and music.

If you must do a hard reset back up the Ipad to Icloud. Your iPhone's or Ipad photos and data should always be backed up,

How do I know if my iPad is backed up to iCloud?

Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
Tap Settings > iCloud > Backup.
Turn on iCloud Backup if it isn't already turned on.
Make sure you are on a WiFi connection and tap Back Up Now.
Check your backup by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, and then select your device.

See here for Mail issues,


From Apple: You can turn off iCloud Photo Library on a single device when you follow these steps: On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and turn off iCloud Photo Library. This will delete your photos from your iPad but not your iPhone or iCloud account.

Hope this is useful.
zep :)
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Thank you for responding, zep.

It looks as if I don't need to do a factory reset after all (at least, not yet).


For ages I have been plagued by messages from the iPad saying the storage was full. I kept deleting (unimportant, mainly rubbish or duplicate) photos to free up space but still I kept getting the messages. Recently I googled this issue and discovered the extra procedure needed to properly get rid of photos. I painstakingly removed nearly a hundred photos and several little rubbish videos AND went through the extra procedure – STILL the iPad thought its storage was almost full!

I then deleted the Audible, Kindle and Kobo apps and at long last the iPad registered that there was 1.29GB spare storage room.


The Mail then began to function again.


However, I would stil like to remove most of the photos from the iPad while still keeping them on my iMac. So, I turned to your instruction above:


go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and turn off iCloud Photo Library. This will delete your photos from your iPad but not your iPhone or iCloud account.



I went to Settings > iCloud > Photo and found that iCloud Photo Library is already off, but that My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing are both on.


I would like to be able to take photos and upload them to the iMac when I want to. I don't want them to go to the iCloud (at least not directly from the iPad). I want to be able to erase any photos from the iPad when I want to without risking inadvertently erasing them from anywhere else.


If I were to switch all three of these settings iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing to OFF would I achieve what I am aiming for?


Once again, thank you for helping me.

Edited by sue.words, 26 November 2019 - 04:53 AM.

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I know this is a couple months old but I am pondering pretty much the same. I don't have a storage issue but can't see why I have Icloud. I know its a backup to cloud.

Anyways, what I found out is that if you delete pictures from Iphone or Ipad it deletes them from Icloud. I didn't want that.

I installed Google photos on my Iphone, Ipad, and windows computer. I back up to both Icloud and Google.

I can then delete from the phone BUT I still have the pictures in Google photos. As long as you have cloud access then you have your pictures.

Since I don't need space yet, I haven't turned of photo backup to Icloud but I have deleted from my phone, saw them go away in Icloud, and still have them in Google photos.


Google photos is also free!

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Thank you for getting involved, 123Runner

As so often happens, because other things have come along to occupy the front of my mind I have left this matter on the back burner.

When I return to the subject of my photos and the various bits of electronic equipment associated with them, I'll think properly about what you say here.

Thank you very much again – and, in the last two hours of 1st January 2020, Happy New Year (from Herefordshire, UK) 

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