When you connect your mobile phone to a computer, you can see a DCIM folder in File Explorer that stores your digital camera files (photos and images). However, there are some issues related to this folder: the DCIM folder is missing, the DCIM folder is empty, the DCIM folder is not showing photos, etc. MiniTool Solution offers some useful ways to help you fix the problem.

What Is DCIM

What does DCIM stand for? The item DCIM is actually the acronym of Digital Camera Images. It’s a directory name in the Design rule for the Camera File system, being part of the digital camera file system.

What Is DCIM Folder

A DCIM folder is a folder created automatically by a digital camera on the memory card (SD card is used frequently). Also, a DCIM folder is created automatically on any Android photos or iPhone devices by the Camera app (the screenshots taken by your phone will also be saved in DCIM). You can see the folder in File Explorer if you connect your mobile photo to a computer. The main function of the DCIM folder is to store the photos and videos captured by a certain camera.

DCIM folder

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Why Photos Are Kept in DCIM

Now, the DCIM meaning is clear to you, but you don’t know there should be a folder named DCIM to store the photos and videos. To understand that, you must get to know DCF (Design rule for Camera File system) first.

What is DCF?

DCF is a JEITA specification (number CP-3461) used to define digital cameras’ file system – the file format, metadata format, directory structure, character set, and file naming method – to guarantee interoperability. DCF is always the standard for the digital camera industry.

Why is there a DCIM folder on the memory card?

According to the DCF specification, a digital camera must store its photos (and video files) in a “DCIM” folder.

  • There can be multiple subfolders within a DCIM folder and each of them is made up of a unique three-digit number (from 100 to 999) & five alphanumeric characters; for instance, 100APPLE and 100ANDRO.
  • Your photos taken by the camera will be stored in these subfolders with names consisting of a four-digit alphanumeric code & a four-digit number; for instance, DSC_0001.jpg.

Having a standardized DCIM format helps computers and picture-transfer apps automatically identify photos saved in the camera, on the memory card, or your mobile phone. This can simplify and speed up the process of photo transfer.

Tip: The memory card must be formatted to FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, or exFAT before used by the camera. Please read Convert NTFS to FAT if you plan to use the SD card formatted as NTFS in the camera.

Where Is the DCIM Folder

You must be wondering where you can find the DCIM folder since it is so important. Its location varies on different devices and the following content shows you how to find the DCIM folder on your computer.

How to View DCIM Folder Android

You can connect the Android phone to the PC directly and view photos.

  1. Use a micro-USB cable (or another matched USB cable) to connect your Android device to the computer.
  2. Tap the Turn on USB Storage button on your Android device screen. Then, press OK or Mount to continue.
  3. Open File Explorer on your PC (it’s also called Windows Explorer in older versions of Windows). The easiest way to open is pressing Windows + E.
  4. Look for the Devices with Removable Storage section in File Explorer.
  5. The drive that stands for your Android device will show up there. Please double click on it to open.
  6. Double click on the folder that is named DCIM.
  7. Double click on the Camera folder to view all the photos/images/pictures and videos that are stored on the Android device connected to the PC currently.

Also, you can take out the memory card (if it has any) and connect it to your PC via card reader to view the pictures and videos.

How can you deal with File Explorer not responding/stopped working?

Turn on USB Storage

How to Access DCIM Folder iPhone

The photos and videos captured by iPhone will be saved in the internal storage. Unlike Android devices, Apple products including iPhone don’t support a memory card. So you need to connect your iPhone and trust your computer to view the iPhone internal storage (with DCIM folder).

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer via the original data line provided by Apple.
  2. Unlock iPhone.
  3. Tap Allow on the screen when iPhone asks whether you'd like to allow this device to access photos and videos.
  4. Open the File Explorer (also known as Windows Explorer).
  5. Select This PC from the left sidebar.
  6. Look for the Devices and drives section in the right panel.
  7. Double click on the Apple iPhone icon to open it.
  8. Also, open Internal Storage by double clicking on it.
  9. Now, you can finally see the DCIM folder on your computer.
  10. The subfolders in DCIM are named 100APPLE, 101APPLE, 102APPLE, etc.

iPhone Internal Storage DCIM

The message you’ll see on your iPhone screen after connecting it to a PC:

Allow this device to access photos and videos?

This device will be able to access photos and videos while it is connected to your iPhone.

Allow access to photos and videos

What Happens If You're Connecting iPhone to PC for the First Time

  • After connecting the iPhone to PC, you’ll see the Unlock your iPhone to use accessories message showing up on the screen of the locked iPhone. Please just unlock it.
  • The Trust This Computer window will pop up to ask you whether you'd like to trust it or not. If you tap Trust, your settings and data will be accessible from this computer when connected.
  • Besides, the Apple iPhone window will pop up in the notification center of your PC and you’ll see the message – Select to choose what happens with this device. You can ignore it, of course.
Tip: If you press Don’t Trust by mistake, you should follow this to reset the trusted devices: Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Location & Privacy -> Enter your passcode.

Can you always access USB accessories from your iOS device? Generally, yes. However, when you don’t connect to USB accessories regularly, you need to allow access to USB accessories on iPhone manually:

  1. Locate the Settings app on iPhone and tap it.
  2. Scroll down to look for Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode).
  3. Please enter your passcode.
  4. Scroll down to find the ALLOW ACCESS WHEN LOCKED section.
  5. Turn on USB Accessories. Otherwise, you’ll need to unlock the iOS device to connect USB accessories.

USB Accessories

Extended reading: how to make sure that you get full access to a Windows folder on your PC?

How to View the Camera's DCIM Folder

There are two options available for viewing DCIM folder of your camera.

One: Connect Your Camera to PC Directly

  1. Find the cable that came with your camera.
  2. Insert one end of the cable to the camera and then insert the other to the computer.
  3. Wait for a few seconds and Windows will mount it as a new drive.
  4. Open File Explorer and look for the camera drive.
  5. Double click on it and you’ll see the DCIM folder.

Two: Connect the Camera's Memory Card to the PC

  1. Prepare an SD card reader.
  2. Power off your camera and take the memory card out from it.
  3. Insert the card into the card reader properly.
  4. Connect the card reader to your computer via a USB port.
  5. Repeat step 4 and step 5 mentioned in option one.

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Can I Delete DCIM Folder

Some users are asking whether they can delete the DCIM folder/Photo Library folder as a whole since it occupies too much space. In this part, I’ll discuss the deletion and recovery of your DCIM folder. Users are not allowed to delete the DCIM folder directly unless they use special tools. But there’s an alternative solution to it: deleting subfolders inside DCIM (for example, 100APPLE).

How to Recover Lost Folder & Files

You should think twice before deleting your photos and videos inside the folder. However, a lot of users said their DCIM photos are deleted mistakenly or all photos are lost suddenly & the iPhone DCIM folder empty. Can they recover the deleted DCIM folder or photos? Certainly, yes. You should get a reliable program like MiniTool Power Data Recovery to restore missing files from DCIM.

The Fabulous Folders Recovery Software Is Ready For You To Use.

Step 1. Download the data recovery software to a safe place and double click on the setup program to install it properly.

Free Download

Step 2. Connect your memory card that was used in the camera or phone to the PC.

Step 3. Run the software after installation and select Removable Disk Drive in the left pane.

Select Removable Disk Drive

Step 4. Look for your memory card in the right pane. Then, select it and press Scan. You can also double click on the card to start scanning it directly.

Step 5. Wait for the scan and browse the photos found on your card.

Step 6. Please check the DCIM folder or check the photos & pictures you want to recover one by one. You can select a photo and click Preview to determine whether it’s needed or not.

Preview photos

Step 7. Click on the Save button and choose a storage path for the recovered DCIM folder or photos.

Also, this software can help you recover files from a dead/corrupted/formatted memory card.

Note: If you want to recover DCIM photos from an Android phone, you should use MiniTool Mobile Recovery for Android. If you want to recover the DCIM folder on iPhone, please use MiniTool Mobile Recovery for iOS instead.

DCIM Folder Not Showing on Computer

However, many users are complaining about this issue - iPhone photos not showing up on PC. Some said they find the iPhone Internal Storage empty while others said the iPhone not showing all photos on computer. What happened? How to fix such problems?

Fix DCIM Folder Shows Empty on PC

You should try the solutions mentioned below when you find the DCIM folder is empty on your computer. However, if you find not all iPhone photos showing up on PC, you should suspect some photos are lost so you might need to recover photos at once with professional recovery software.

One: Trust This Computer

If you don’t trust the computer you’re using before, you’ll find the Apple iPhone empty or the iPhone Internal Storage empty. You can see the Apple iPhone icon in the File Explorer and find the Internal Storage icon. However, you can’t find anything in the Apple iPhone or iPhone Internal Storage.

iPhone Internal Storage empty

How to fix it? How to view the internal storage and DCIM folder?

  1. Unlock your iPhone.
  2. Click Allow in the Trust This Computer window.
  3. Wait for a few seconds and try to open Apple iPhone -> Internal Storage again.

Two: Show Hidden Files in DCIM Folder

  1. Connect your memory card to your PC.
  2. Open File Explorer and select the target USB drive.
  3. Double click on the drive to see the DCIM folder.
  4. Select View tab at the top -> click Options -> choose Change folder and search options.
  5. Shift to the View tab in the Folder Options window.
  6. Look for the Hidden files and folders option under Advanced settings.
  7. Check Show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Show hidden files

Three: Restart Your Device

You need to restart your iPhone/iPad or Android phone by pressing the corresponding buttons. After that, you should restart your computer by pressing Windows -> clicking on the Power icon -> selecting Restart.

Four: Uninstall the Apple iPhone Device

  1. Right click on the Start button at the bottom left.
  2. Select Device Manager.
  3. Open Portable Devices.
  4. Right click on Apple iPhone and select Uninstall device.
  5. Click on the Uninstall button in the pop-up window to confirm your selection.
  6. Wait for the process to end and remove the iPhone from the computer.
  7. Restart the computer and reconnect your device to it.

You can also choose the Update driver in step 4 to have a try. Besides, the steps to uninstall the Android device in Device Manager are the same.

Uninstall Apple iPhone

Five: Turn Off iCloud Photos

  1. Tap Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your username at the top.
  3. Select iCloud.
  4. Choose Photos under APPS USING ICLOUD.
  5. Select Download and Keep Originals, instead of Optimize iPhone Storage.
  6. Wait until the photos are downloaded.
  7. Connect your phone to the computer and check the DCIM folder.

Download and Keep Originals

Six: Reset Location & Privacy

  1. Open Settings on iPhone.
  2. Select General.
  3. Select Reset.
  4. Tap Reset Location & Privacy.
  5. Enter your passcode.
  6. Click Reset Settings.

Seven: Clear Cache Data

You should clear the cache of External Storage and Media Storage on Android devices.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click Apps.
  3. Click on the three dots button at the top right.
  4. Select Show system apps.
  5. Choose External Storage -> click CLEAR DATA -> click CLEAR CACHE.
  6. Choose Media storage -> click CLEAR DATA -> click CLEAR CACHE.

Also, you can try a different USB cable, USB port, or card reader, while connecting your phone/memory card to the computer. Besides, you should remove the write protection from a memory card or scan the mobile phone/card for viruses and then kill them.

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If there are still problems with the DCIM folder, you should reset your mobile phone or format the memory card that holds it.

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If you didn’t hear the DCIM folder and don’t know what does DCIM stand for, this page must be very helpful. It introduces the DCIM meaning and tells you where the DCIM folder is & how to view it on different devices. Besides, it shows you how to recover photos from the DCIM folder and how to troubleshoot iPhone internal storage empty & DCIM folder empty.

5 Ways: How To Transfer Photos From iPhone To PC Windows 10.

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