Fix DCIM Folder Empty, Not Showing All Photos

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by William on May 11, 2024 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

What is DCIM Folder?

DCIM folder in full, Digital Camera Images folder is that folder that carries digital photos on all devices capable of taking digital photos such as phones, cameras among other devices.

Why Photos Are Kept in DCIM?

On every device such as a digital camera, an android phone, an iPhone, or a tablet, every photo that is taken with the camera is directly stored in the DCIM folder. It shows whatever the brand and type of device with the camera option, it stores taken photos in the DCIM folder. After editing a photo, it is saved to the DCIM folder by default.

DCIM, the name of the folder to store photos in digital cameras is part of the DCF specifications. It is an industry standard and has been put in place by all digital camera makers, making it easy to find photos automatically on these devices and transfer photos from a device to another device, like from an SD card to a phone.

Part 1. How to View Photos in DCIM Folder for Android devices
Part 2. How to view photos in the DCIM folder for iPhones
Part 3. Why DCIM Folder is empty
Part 4. How to fix it When DCIM Folder not showing all Photos

How to View Photos in DCIM Folder for Android devices

Given that the DCIM folder is the standard folder for the storage of photos on your android device, you can be able to easily access it to edit your photos on your computer by connecting your android device with a USB cable to the computer.

To proceed with this,

  1. Plug your android device into the computer with a micro-USB cable. As soon as it is detected by your android device, tap on "Turn on USB Storage" then on your device touch "OK" or "Mount".
  2. Launch Windows Explorer. A new drive will be under "Devices with Removable Storage". Open it by double-clicking on it.
  3. Then in the android device’s storage, double-click on "DCIM" then double-click on "Camera" to access photos stored on your device or you can equally click ".thumbnails" to look at the thumbnails used in the gallery app.

How to view photos in the DCIM folder for iPhones

This requires no special software. With a lightning-to-cable only (the same cable used to charge your phone), you can access the DCIM folder on any iPhone from any computer.

To do this, plug your lightning-to-cable into your iPhone to connect it to your computer. If it is the first time you are connecting it, a pop-up message will ask you to "Trust your computer" in case you have iTunes installed or will ask you to "Allow access to your photos and videos". To proceed, tap "Trust" or "Allow" to permit your computer to access your photos.

If you don’t receive the pop-up messages, try unlocking your phone with its password and it will show up. Your iPhone will then appear as a new device in File Explorer under "This PC" or "My computer" in earlier Windows versions such as Windows 7. Double-click on it to open the iPhone’s storage.

Finally double-click the "DCIM" folder in the iPhone’s storage. This will grant access to your photos. From there you can copy or edit them.

Why DCIM Folder is empty

Some users experience a common error of having files in their DCIM folder but when they connect it to the computer, this folder appears empty or doesn’t show all the photos that are normally present and as a result, they feel frustrated thinking they have lost all their important photos. The DCIM folder may be showing empty or not showing all the photos because of the following reasons;

How to fix it When DCIM Folder not showing all Photos

1. Change the USB connector Cable or USB port

Just changing the USB connector and or the USB port may solve the issue in a case where either or both of them were damaged. Try using a different USB connector or port.

2. Grant access to your device

When you connect your phone to the computer, on iPhone select the Trust or Allow option on your phone to grant your computer full access to your phone so that you may access all its parts from the computer.

4. Update your phone drivers

The phone drivers are responsible for connecting the phone to the computer. If they misbehave, this may cause a communication problem between the phone and the computer. Updating or reinstalling the drivers can be the solution to the problem.

To update the phone drivers,

  1. Tap on search and type in "Device Manager" then open the first result that shows.
  2. Expand the "Portable Devices". A list containing your device will show up.
  3. Right-click on your device and choose update driver.

Follow the onscreen steps and choose Search automatically for updated driver software. This ensures that the best driver for your device will be installed.

If this doesn’t solve the problem of the DCIM folder is empty,

Go again through steps 1, 2, and in step 3 choose uninstall the device and click Ok. This will successfully uninstall your drivers. As this is done, disconnect your device and restart your computer.

Upon restart, connect your device again and allow the drivers to be reinstalled. Once this is done try to find out if the problem is solved.

Restart your Phone or Computer

In case the problem arises as a result of a bug, restart your phone then restart your computer equally and verify if the problem has been solved.

5. Updating your Phone system

Upgrading your phone system can prevent bugs and other system failures related to outdated systems hence updating your phone’s system can be the vital step that will help solve the problem.

6. Reset your Phone’s Location and Privacy

Previous privacy you might have set may be the issue causing the problem presently. It will be a wise move to reset these settings to default to ensure you are not causing the problem without knowing.

7. Download your photos from Cloud Storage

If your photos where instead stored on cloud storage, to access them on your computer you will have to download them from Cloud storage and save them on your phone. Once this is done, you will be able to see these particular photos in the DCIM folder.

8. Reinstall iTunes on Your Computer

With iPhones, the proper functioning of iTunes is vital in the proper connection of the device with the computer. If the problem here is iTunes, you will have to uninstall iTunes and reinstall it.

After reinstalling iTunes, you should be able to solve the problem of the DCIM folder empty.

If after trying all this you still did not find all your photos, the only way to retrieve them is by using data recovery software. In this case, iBeesoft Data Recovery is the best. It is 100% safe and very reliable in terms of data recovery. It is compatible with many different types of documents as well as hard drives hence your data recovery process is assured no matter the type of pictures you lost.

To retrieve your photos with the best photo recovery software. If you want to recover photos from iPhone, please use our iPhone Data Recovery Software.

  1. Download iBeesoft Data Recovery for your operating system (Mac OS or Windows) and install it in your computer then launch the software.
  2. Select the location which you want to scan for the lost photos which should be your phone’s storage. Once it is selected, click on scan.
  3. By default, a quick scan will be performed instantely, then the deep scan. As soon as it is done, a list of photos that where lost will be found and displayed on the screen. Select the needed ones to preview or click "Recover" to save them on your computer.