7 Fixes to iPhone DCIM Folder Missing Photos on Windows 11/10

When you use Windows Explorer to copy your iPhone photos or videos to PC, but find that the iPhone DCIM folder is missing photos. Read this article for some solutions to this problem.


By Dylan / Updated on May 31, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

When your iPhone is full of pictures, you want to connect iPhone to computer and find the iPhone DCIM (Digital Camera Image) folder to import iPhone photos to computer to backup, edit, view, or free up your iPhone. The main function of the DCIM folder is to store photos, videos, screenshots taken by your device camera. If you connect your device to computer, you can see the folder in Windows File Explorer.

However, you may find that the iPhone DCIM folder is missing photos, or even the DCIM folder is not showing up. What happened? How to fix such problems? In the next post, we will elaborate on this.

Why iPhone DCIM folder is missing photos?

This could be due to several reasons:

> A faulty or damaged USB cable or port can cause an unstable connection between your devices.
> If the iPhone is locked, you will not be able to access the DCIM folder.
> Unauthorized access to your device, if you don't trust the computer you used before, there is no way to access the data from the computer. You will find that the iPhone internal storage isn't showing up and DCIM folder is empty.
> The missing photos are saved in iCloud instead of your device, you cannot import those photos directly from the iOS device since they are not in the Camera Roll.
> Some files are hidden in the DCIM folder and you cannot view them.
> Previous location and privacy settings on your device may prevent you from accessing your device properly on computer.
> If iTunes is not installed properly on your computer, this will prevent the computer from connecting with your iPhone and may cause the DCIM folder is empty on your computer.
> Outdated device software system or outdated iPhone Drivers, system glitches or bugs can also cause DCIM folder to show empty on PC.

How to fix iPhone DCIM folder missing photos

When you encounter photo missing from DCIM folder or internal storage, you can try the solutions mentioned below.

Note: You can try restarting your iPhone and computer first, connect different ports with different USB cables to check if there is any problem with the USB cable and port.

1# Allow access to DCIM folder

If this issue persists, you should check Windows permissions. Sometimes you can see the Apple iPhone icon in File Explorer and find the Internal Storage icon, but you can't find anything in the iPhone Internal Storage or the DCIM folder.

So, unlock your iPhone, make sure your iPhone is on the Home screen, click Allow in the "Trust this computer" window. Wait a few seconds, then try opening the DCIM folder to view your photos.

2# Show hidden files in DCIM folder

When you connect to your PC to upload photos, the DCIM folder not showing all photos, so you can't see any iPhone pictures. That's probably because you're hiding them.

Here's how to display hidden files and folders.

For Windows 11: Open File Explorer> click See more(three-dotted) > Options > View > Advanced settings > Hidden files and folders > Show hidden files, folders, and drives > OK.
For Windows 10: In the search box on the taskbar, type folder > Show hidden files and folders > select Show hidden files, folders, and drives under Advanced settings > tap OK.
For Windows 8.1: Type folder in the search box > Folder Options > View > Show hidden files, folders, and drives > OK.
For Windows 7: Click Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Folder > View > Show hidden files, folders, and drives > OK.

3# Reset Location & Privacy

The privacy you set previously may be the reason why you can't see new photos in DCIM folder. It would be wise to reset these settings to default.

Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy > enter your passcode, and click Reset Settings. Reconnect your iPhone to your PC to see your photos.

reset location privacy

Note: Since you have reset your location and privacy settings, you must unlock your iPhone and click Allow/Trust to give Windows permission to re-enter the DCIM folder

4# Download photos from iCloud storage

You can't see photos in DCIM folder iPhone, probably because your photos are uploaded to iCloud instead of being stored in your iPhone internal storage. To access them on your computer, you must download them from cloud storage and save them on your iPhone. After doing this, you will be able to see these specific photos in the DCIM folder.

Make sure your device is connected a stable Wi-Fi or internet network. Go to Settings > tap [your name] > click iCloud > tap Photos > select the Download and Keep Originals.

turn on icloud photos

5# Update iOS and Windows system

Upgrading your device system can prevent some bugs and other system failures associated with outdated systems. Therefore, updating your iOS and Windows system can be an important step to help resolve the issue.

Update iOS: Go to Settings > General > Software Update > tap Download and Install if an update is available.

ios software update

Update Windows: Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates to see if any updates are available.

check for updates

⚠️Notes: You may also want to know: How to resolve the iPhone not showing up in File Explorer issue.    

6# Uninstall or update the Apple Device

Sometimes, the computer does not recognize the outdated Apple Mobile Device USB driver, resulting in an empty iPhone internal storage in Windows Explorer. You can manually uninstall or update the driver to fix this issue. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Connect iPhone to computer with USB cable, right-click the Windows start icon on the desktop.

Step 2. Select Device Manager > Potable Devices > right-click your iPhone > Uninstall device.

update apple driver

You can also click Update driver to update and then reconnect the iPhone to the computer to verify that the problem is resolved.

7# Reinstall iTunes on computer

For the iPhone, the proper functioning of iTunes is essential for the proper connection between iPhone and computer. If you still have the "iPhone DCIM folder missing photos" issue, you can uninstall and reinstall iTunes to fix this issue.

Suggested: Copy your photos to computer easily with FoneTool

In fact, the quickest method to switch images from your iPhone/ iPad to a Windows PC is to use USB to transfer. Using Windows File Explorer can directly find your photos, but it won't let you solve all kinds of problems like missing iPhone photos when transferring to PC. So, why not use a third-party professional transfer tool to copy iPhone photos to computer, you can view and edit all transferred photos without unexpected issues and any data loss.

FoneTool is such a software. It will automatically avoid any connection issues to help you successfully establish a connection between your iPhone and computer.

Preview and selective transfer- You can preview all iPhone photos and choose to export the specific photos with FoneTool.
Transfer multiple data- It can be used to transfer photos, videos, contacts, music, and other data from iPhone to PC or vice versa.
Fast speed- It can transfer thousands of files at super high speed.
Wide compatibility- It is perfectly compatible with Windows 11/10 8/7, the latest iOS 17/16 and all iPhone devices from iPhone 4/5/6 to iPhone 15/14/13.

Free download FoneTool and follow the steps to transfer photos from iPhone to computer.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to computer with a USB cable, run FoneTool, click the Phone Transfer option on the left pane. Go to iPhone to PC, and click Get Started to continue.

transfer to computer

Step 2. Click the "+" icon, select the pictures you want to transfer and click OK.

choose photos

Step 3. Next, you can choose a storage path on Transfer Settings, and click Start Transfer to start the operation. Then, your photos on iPhone will be effortlessly transferred to your computer.



iPhone DCIM folder missing photos can be caused by connection errors, system glitches, driver issues or other bugs. You can fix it with the 7 solutions above. To transfer iPhone photos to computer, you can use the powerful iPhone backup/transfer tool to help you. Using this tool, you will not face various connection issues with your PC.

Dylan · Editor
Dylan is an editor of mobile backup software. He likes to share the latest news about iPhone and iOS, write useful tips, and give solutions to help people solve all kinds of issues.