Fix DCIM Folder Empty, Not Showing All Photos [2022]

|by Shelley, Updated on Jan 4, 2022

When a phone device is connected to a computer, one of the folders that you will see in File Explorer is the DCIM folder. This folder stores digital files, such as images and photos. Sometimes, you may experience issues where the DCIM folder doesn’t show all photos.

It may also be that the DCIM folder is missing or it is empty. When this happens, you would not be able to view any images from the folder. You do not have to worry though. There is always a solution and we will look at this in detail shortly bet before then, let us explore the definition of DCIM.

What is DCIM Folder?

DCIM is an acronym for Digital Camera Images. It refers to the directory name of the camera file system that houses images and photos that you save on your phone device. The DCIM folder is automatically created by the digital camera on the SD card (memory card).

It is also automatically created on iPhone or Android devices by the camera application. The core function of the DCIM folder is to safely store videos and photos that are captured by the camera on a device. You can view this folder in File Explorer when you connect your device to a PC.

Why Photos are kept in DCIM

To understand why photos are kept in DCIM, the first thing to do is to understand the Design rule for Camera File System (DCF). DCF refers to a JEITA specification that is used in defining the file system of a digital camera. It covers the file format, directory structure, file naming method, metadata format, and character set. All these ensure the interoperability of the components of the DCIM.

DCF is the standard in the digital camera domain. Based on the DCF specification, a digital camera should store its video files and photos in the DCIM folder in the device. It should be noted that there may be several subfolders in a DCIM folder.

When you take pictures with the phone’s camera, they will be stored in any of the subfolders. A standardized DCIM format automatically enables both picture-transfer applications and computers to identify images and video files saved in the camera, mobile device, or memory card.

This simplifies and speeds up the photo transfer process. However, when something goes wrong, you may get some error messages. For instance, you may be notified that the DCIM folder is empty. When this happens, you need to resolve the issue to be able to access it again.

How to View Photos in DCIM Folder for Android Devices

The DCIM is an important component of your mobile device, especially if you save photos and video files on the device. In this part, we will look at how you can find and view photos in the DCIM folder on your Android device through your computer system. Let us look at the full detail.

  1. Using a USB cable, connect your Android phone to your computer.
  2. Click on the ‘Turn on USB Storage’ button on your phone screen and click ‘Ok’ to continue.
  3. Click to open File Explorer on the computer.
  4. Locate the ‘Device with Removable Storage’ menu in the File Explorer.
  5. Locate the drive that represents your Android phone and double-click to open.
  6. Locate the DCIM folder and double-click on the Camera folder.

If you do not receive the ‘DCIM folder empty Android’ error message, you can view all photos, pictures, images, and videos stored on your Android phone on your PC screen from this point.

How to View Photos in DCIM Folder for iPhone

When you capture videos and photos with an iPhone device, they get saved on the internal storage and not on SD cards because Apple does not support an SD card. This means that when you connect your iPhone to your computer, it would locate the DCIM folder in the iPhone internal storage. Here are the steps to view photos in the DCIM folder on iPhone:

  1. Connect your phone to the computer through the original data line and unlock your iPhone.
  2. Click ‘Allow’ on your phone’s iPhone to enable the PC to access videos and photos.
  3. Click to open the Windows Explorer and select ‘This PC’ on the left sidebar.
  4. Locate the ‘Devices and Drives' section on the right panel and double-click on the ‘Apple iPhone’ icon to open the internal storage.
  5. Double-click on ‘Internal Storage’ to open it and you can view the DCIM folder on the PC.

Why DCIM Folder is Empty

One of the reasons why you may have the issue of ‘DCIM folder empty’ is when there is a trust issue between the PC and your device. You will be prompted to confirm if you trust the computer you are about to access your device through.

If you do not trust the PC, you will notice that the DCIM folder is empty. Of course, the File Explorer folder will be visible but you will not find anything in the storage space.

How to fix it When DCIM Folder no showing all Photos

If you notice that some photos are missing from the DCIM folder on your device, it may be that the missing images have been lost. There are different ways you can resolve issues with the DCIM folder not showing all photos. Let us look at a couple of them.

Solutions One: Confirm ‘Trust this Computer’

  1. Unlock your phone device
  2. Click the ‘Allow’ button in the ‘Trust This Computer’ window
  3. Attempt to open the internal storage of your device through the computer again after a few seconds

Solution Two: Show the Hidden Files in the DCIM Folder

If the first solution does not work, then try this:

  1. Connect your SD card to the computer
  2. Click to Open File Explorer and select your USB drive
  3. Double-click on the drive and select the ‘View’ tab and then ‘Options’ and then ‘Change Folder and Search Options.
  4. Mote to the ‘View’ tab in the Folder Option and locate the ‘Hidden files and folders' option in Advanced settings and then check ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Solution Three: Restart the Phone Device

  1. Restart your phone device using the regular buttons
  2. Restart your PC
  3. Connect your USB Cable and repeat the process of accessing the DCIM on your PC.

Solution Four: Turn Off iCloud Photos

If you experience the DCIM folder not showing all photos issues on your iPhone, the issue may be with the iCloud photos. To resolve this issue, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on ‘Setting’ on your mobile device and then on your username at the upper part of your device.
  2. Select ‘iCloud’ and then ‘Photos’ under ‘Apps Using iCloud’.
  3. Choose ‘Download and Keep Original’ instead of ‘Optimize iPhone Storage’ and wait for the photos to be downloaded.
  4. Connect your device to the PC and look for the DCIM folder.

Solution Five: Uninstall the iPhone Device

This solution is also for iPhone users. If you have the DCIM folder not showing issues with your iPhone device, the following steps should help:

  1. Right-click on the ‘Start button and select ‘Device Manager
  2. Open ‘Portable Devices’ and right-click on ‘Apple iPhone’ and then ‘Uninstall Device’.
  3. Click on the ‘Uninstall’ button to confirm your selection and wait till the end of the process before removing your device from the computer.
  4. Restart your computer and reconnect the device to check for the DCIM folder.

Solution Six: Clear the Cache Data

If the DCIM folder doesn’t show all photos, you should consider clearing the cache of Media Storage and External Storage on your Android device. Follow the steps below to do this:

  1. Click to open ‘Settings’ and click on ‘Apps’.
  2. Click the three dots button on the top right-hand side of your device and select ‘Show system apps’.
  3. Select ‘External Storage’ and then click ‘Clear Data’ and then ‘Clear Cache’.
  4. Select ‘Media Storage’ and click ‘Clear Data’ and then ‘Clear Cache’.

Solution Seven: Reset Location and Privacy

You can resolve the issue of the DCIM folder not showing all photos on your iPhone by resetting location and privacy.

  1. Click to open ‘Settings’ on your iPhone device and select ‘General’ and then ‘Reset’.
  2. Click on ‘Reset Location & Privacy’ and input your code.
  3. Click the ‘Reset Settings’

How to Recover Photos Lost or Deleted in DCIM Folder

If you have tried the solutions above and still cannot view some photos, we recommend that you use iBatsoft Data Recovery to scan for deleted and lost photos in the DCIM folder. It is secure and 100% safe and is compatible with various file formats.

Step-by-step Guide on How to get back Photos with iBatsoft Data Recovery Software

To scan and find photos on your device with the iBatsoft Data Recovery tool, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Download the iBatsoft Data Recovery tool for your PC and install it. Next, launch it to get it started.
  2. Download for Windows Download for macOS
  3. Select the location that you want to scan for the deleted or lost photos and click ‘Scan’
  4. Preview the list of photos found during the quick scan. If you cannot find all the photos you are looking for, use the ‘Ultra Scan’ feature to search further. This may take a longer time. When it is done, preview to be sure you have all lost photos scanned. Next, click the ‘Save’ button to recover photos on Mac or Windows PC.

This post has shared different solutions that you can use to resolve the issue of the DCIM folder doesn’t show all photos or the DCIM folder not showing. It also looked at how to recover lost or deleted photos with the iBatsoft Data Recovery tool.

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