iPhone Photos: Folders, Albums, and How to Edit Them

The Photos app on iOS on the Apple iPhone offers various options for organizing images, photos and videos so that you don't always have to search through the entire media library. But what is the difference between a folder and an album? What is the best way to create folders and albums and how can you edit them? You can find answers to these questions in this guide. If you still have a question or do you want to contribute your own tips and tricks, please leave a comment;)

Further instructions: Hide photos and hide "Hidden" folder

iPhone Photos App: You can find the difference between album and folder here. There are also instructions for creating and editing folders and albums on iOS.
iPhone Photos App: You can find the difference between album and folder here. There are also instructions for creating and editing folders and albums on iOS.

iPhone Photos App: Difference Between Album and Folder

The difference between a folder and an album in the Photos app is really easy to explain: albums contain photos, and folders contain albums. To make it a bit more complicated, however, folders can also contain other folders: D In general, however, you can remember the following structure for organizing your pictures and videos on the iPhone:

Folders -> Albums -> Files

For example, you can create a folder with the title “Family” and store various albums in it such as “Child 1 from birth to now”, “Family celebration ABC”, “Wedding XYZ” and so on. Or you can create a folder called "Memes" and sort your memes into albums such as "Animal Pictures", "Videos", "Movie Scenes", "GIFs" and so on. There are no limits to creativity here.

Instructions: Create an album in the iPhone Photos app

If you have different photo and video recordings on your iPhone that you want to organize, then albums are a good option. To create an album for certain files, simply follow the step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Opens the Photos app on the Apple iPhone
  2. Select the "Albums" tab below
  3. Then tap on the plus symbol "+" in the top left
  4. Now you tap on "New album"
  5. Assign a name for the album and tap on "Save"

After this process, you will see your media overview, from which you can choose photos, pictures and videos that you want to include in the new album. If you have selected it and confirmed the selection, then you are done. The album has been created, the content has been recorded and you can now quickly select it via the album overview.

Edit photo albums on iOS: rename, delete and more

In order to manage your albums in the Photos app on the Apple iPhone, the path leads you again via the "Albums" tab. Tap on this and then proceed as follows:

  1. At the top right, tap on "Show all"
  2. Then tap on "Edit" at the top right
  3. Go to the Rename you type on the album name and enter a new one
  4. Go to the Delete Tap the red circle with the minus sign (-)
  5. Go to the Arrange Hold one of the albums with your finger and move it in the overview

You cannot delete a few albums that are available by default in the Photos app. In addition, the “last” album (the overview of all content, so to speak) and the favorites cannot be moved. Renaming these albums is also not possible.

Instructions: Create a folder in the iPhone Photos app

If you now have several albums and these are slowly becoming confusing, you can manage them in folders. Tip: It is advisable to first create folders and then create the albums in them. A folder can contain several albums. Folders can also contain other folders (e.g. “Vacations” folder -> “Balcony 2021” folder -> “Living room bar” and “Barbecue on the balcony” albums). To create a folder, proceed as follows:

  1. Opens the Photos app on the Apple iPhone
  2. Select the "Albums" tab below
  3. Then tap on the plus symbol (+) in the top left
  4. Now you tap on "New folder"
  5. Assign a name for the folder and tap on "Save"

In the created folder you can now create albums and folders via “Edit” and the plus symbol “+” in order to store photos and videos. 

More information and instructions for older iOS versions

The instructions here are aimed primarily at those of you who use iOS 14. You can find more information on using the Photos app on iOS 14 and the option to view instructions for older systems in this Apple guide. There you can also access the album and folder instructions for iOS 13 and iOS 12 if you are using an older iPhone, that doesn't support iOS 14.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership would support.

30 thoughts on “iPhone photos: folders, albums and how to edit them”

    1. Jen Kleinholz

      Hello Oliver! I can't say it straight away. But you could just try that out. If there is no option for it, it will not work.

    2. Johannes Domke

      Hi Oliver,

      To the best of my knowledge, this is currently not directly possible. But there is a workaround that you can use:

      1. Create and open a new folder (or open an existing folder)
      2. Create a new album in it (Edit -> + -> New Album)
      3. Now tap “Albums” at the bottom when adding photos
      4. Select the desired, existing album
      5. Select the photos to transfer and tap Done

      Admittedly, this is quite complex, especially if the album to be transferred contains a lot of photos. But it seems to me to be the only solution at the moment.

      Best regards

    3. Hey,
      here is a possibility:
      * go to the album you want to move
      * [Choose]
      * [All]
      * [Hand off]
      * [add to album]
      * [Select target folder]
      * [Select target album] or previously target album via [Create new album]

      Now delete the original album
      * [All albums]
      * [To edit]
      * Delete source album [-]

  1. Hi,
    I have created a vacation folder with albums from various vacations in it. Is it normal for a folder not to show a preview image?


    1. Hello Jeannette! Unfortunately I don't understand the question ... sorry. I guess you'll have to go back a bit if you want to explain it to me.

  2. Good afternoon,
    Recently, when I want to transfer photos to the Windows PC, folders with consecutive numbers in DCIM no longer appear as before, newly created when the previous folder was full. Monthly folders now appear (20 2107_, 20 2108_…). Can that be changed again? It is annoying to look for pictures on the PC, every folder has to be opened and looked through.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hello Alexander! Regarding PCs, unfortunately, I can't help you. I don't have one in use. As a rule, you cannot change the folder structure that the Photos app creates.

  3. I don't really manage to transfer my annual photo folder to the photo app. Actually, I just want to copy the neatly sorted pictures (folders from 1950-2021 and then in each case folder with the months and then the corresponding pictures) from OneDrive via drag and drop. Should I put this in folders or in albums? For a few years it worked out the way I imagined it, for others not, a folder (or album?) With the name “new folder” is created which then contains the images again….

  4. Thank you for your explanation. I couldn't explain it to my father-in-law right away... he's really overwhelmed with the Apple structure, because it's not intuitive and certainly not cross-system.
    Since different worlds are used across the board here (PCs, iPhone, iPad, aTV and Shield), a missing folder structure at Apple is a real obstacle.
    But now he knows how the rabbit hops... a real challenge with >10.000 photos.

  5. Is it possible to reduce the size of the photo album grid? Do you mean that several key photos can be seen? So simply reduce the images optically in the album grid

    1. Hi Alex,

      As far as I know, the preview graphics in the album overview cannot be reduced. But you can tap on “Show all” under “Albums”, then at least the division into “My albums”, “Shared albums” and other categories is omitted. Instead, all albums are then displayed in a list (for me there are two next to each other).

      In an album itself, the display of the thumbnails can be enlarged and reduced using the familiar two-finger gestures.

      Best regards

  6. Hello!
    Can I copy pictures stored in iCloud on a Windows pc to a USB stick?
    Thank you very much for an answer in advance!

    1. Hello Franz! You can either (as described here) load all photos from iCloud and drag them onto the stick or you mark the photos or albums in the Photos app that you want on the stick and then select "Export originals" from the menu.

  7. Hallo,
    I'm just getting desperate. I would like to move pictures from my photo stream on the iPad to a newly created folder. If I mark and move the 1000 images, however, only 542 arrive in the new folder. I've tried everything up and down now. Deleted new folder, started again, turned off iPad and restarted. The quantity is too large via AirDrop.
    Am I missing something? In the media library under "all photos", however, the same photos that I can't get moved can't be seen either.
    Would be very grateful for any help.
    Many greetings Uli

    1. Hello Uli! Are you using iCloud Photo Library? Maybe the photos aren't loaded yet and that's why he can't copy them all? I'm just poking around in the dark. I have no idea where it could be stuck. LG, Jens

  8. Hi, I put together an album from a lot of photos for a wedding and now I want to copy it onto a stick, which I then wanted to give away. The photos have all been exported, but completely mixed up. How can I get them on the stick in the order I put them in the album? LG Susanne

    1. Hello Susanne! Unfortunately I don't know the answer. As far as I know they are exported with their name and it's something like “IMG_0189”. The most you could try is to display the folder with the exported photos sorted by date/time. Then maybe it could be the order in which your photos were exported. Then you would have to rename everything in order so that the order is correct again in the "normal" sorting.

      1. First of all thank you! Yes, they are displayed with “IMG…”. I'll try your suggestion, the only problem is, it's a huge folder (970 photos!)

  9. Hallo,
    Thank you for introducing the topic.

    Open questions:
    I just tested it and apparently images saved in an album are still included in Recents as well.

    Does this mean that the photos in the album are only linked or is a copy of the original stored in the album?

    And when you drag the photos onto the laptop, are the folders and albums you created visible, or do you only see the monthly folders that iOS creates automatically?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hello Ann! Yes, they are basically references to the one picture. You can create multiple folders and the same image can be in multiple folders. If you make changes to them, you'll still see them in all folders. So it's a "link" to the picture.

      What do you mean when you drag photos to the laptop? When you drag photos from the library, a JPG version of the photo is placed where you dragged it. Important: The original is usually saved as HEIC. You only get this if you mark it and save it somewhere via File → “Export Original”. But then there is no longer a folder structure...

      Oh, I see you asked about the other way: photos from iOS to macOS. But that is just as problematic. This is actually only solved well if you use the iCloud media library. Then you have everything including the structure available on both devices.

      1. Oh perfect. Thanks for the quick and good answer.

        That's probably my hurdle. I move everything from the iPhone to the PC.
        But I can do it. Thank you!

        1. Ok, then I would definitely not work with drag and drop, but with “Export original” so that you get the highest quality on the PC. Good luck!

  10. Can I hide or hide multiple albums or folders?
    It would help me if I didn't have the option for just one folder.

Post a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked

In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.