Check out this app

I’m not one to get too stoked about apps — or at least not generally enough to hype them — but I gotta give credit where it’s due.

Swipewipe had recently been getting a strange amount of (unpaid) promotion from completely unrelated newsletters I get, and it sounded like it had some promise, so I checked it out.

It’s an app that you run on your phone that breaks down the photos and images on your device by year and month that they were taken, and when you tap on one of those months, it brings up the photos one at a time which — dating app-like — you can then swipe right to keep or swipe left to delete. When you’ve finished that month’s set of photos, it verifies if you want to delete them, and then it gives you a month and overall tally for how many images were deleted and how much space you’ve now freed up on your device as a result. It also strokes through each month you’ve processed from the list on its home page, like crossing off an item from a To Do list, so it’s easy to track what you’ve done and still need to do.

Swipewipe is a great example of using the K.I.S.S. approach to an app: Could I just go through my photos and delete the ones I don’t want and track/calculate how much space I’ve freed up in total? Yes, I could. But that’s tedious and would take up a crazy amount of time. Instead, this app does that part of the work for me, and all I need to do is swipe to keep or delete each image that comes up.

If you take a lot of photos and screenshots like I do, some of which you of course want to keep long term but many of which are just for brief use or a reminder of something you won’t need for long, this app is perfect.

It’s important to remember that on iPhones, what’s on your phone is automatically synced with the Photos folder on, say, your Mac as well, and vice-versa. So before you delete any photos or images, be really sure that you’re ok with not having it any more, because it’ll be removed from all your devices at once.

I will say one thing that the reviews I read didn’t mention: Swipewipe is free for the first two months of images you go through, and then it asks for payment to continue working. As I recall, it was $3.99 per month or $12.99 for a lifetime of use. I wasn’t sure which to go with — maybe the cheaper option and I just jam through all my images in the first month of use to not incur added fees? — but then I remembered something: I verified that in the app’s info on the App Store, it says that if you pay for the app, everyone in your family group is included in that allowance of use. Meaning, with my paying the lifetime fee, now my wife and daughter can also get this app for their own phones, and we can all use it indefinitely. We all take a lot of pics and screenshots (ok, some of us way more than others), so this app will be useful for all of us the foreseeable future. That was easily worth the one lifetime purchase price.

I’ve already freed up over 1.5 gigs of images from my phone, and I’m currently going through over 5400 images from March of 2022 alone.

Yes, over 5400.

March was when I dropped Android phones and switched to an iPhone, which took some uploading and copying of images (which I think actually just duplicated them entirely), and then in an effort to switch to Apple from Google as a whole, I also copied over everything from my Google Photos to Apple Photos, which I know doubled, and seemingly re-doubled, some of those images yet again. Hence a single month’s photo and image folder that’s got what probably totals what most people would accumulate in a year.

But to my point above: Could I go through that month’s folder manually and figure out what to keep and throw out of those 5400 images? Yes, I could. But I sure as hell wouldn’t. Swipewipe is saving me what would take at least days and maybe weeks of tedium and has turned it into a process I can peck away at while I wait in lines or have a couple of minutes of down time between daily tasks.

If you take a lot of pics and know you should really go through them but just can’t be bothered to manually plod through each image in each month one at a time, give Swipewipe a shot and see what you think.

Note: This app is explained above as it works on iPhones. I don’t know if it’s available or operates the same way on Android phones.