Fix iPhone DCIM Folder Missing on Windows 11/10

The fastest way to transfer photos from your iPhone, iPod or iPad to a Windows PC requires direct access to the DCIM (Digital Camera Images) folder via USB. But what if you can’t find the DCIM folder or the iOS device itself in File Explorer?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Work your way through the solutions below to fix iPhone DCIM folder missing issue on Windows 10 and 11.

Allow access to DCIM folder

The first time you connect both devices via USB, you will need to grant Windows permissions to your iPhone’s internal storage and camera roll. Otherwise you will not see the DCIM folder.

So unlock your iPhone, wait for a “Allow this device to access photos and videos?” pop up and tap Allow† If you have iTunes installed, tap To trust on the “Trust this computer?” popup instead.

Don’t forget to unlock your iPhone

Your iPhone’s DCIM folder will not be displayed unless you unlock your iPhone on subsequent attempts. You don’t need to give permissions repeatedly – just going to the home screen should be enough. You can also try unlocking the device before connecting it to your PC.

Restart iPhone and PC

Another quick fix is ​​to restart your iPhone and PC. That usually fixes minor software-related issues that prevent both devices from communicating.

If you’ve never rebooted an iOS device, go to SettingsGeneralShut down and drag the Current icon to the right. Once the screen goes dark, wait at least 10 seconds and hold the Side until you see the Apple logo.

Use a different cable or change ports

If your iPhone doesn’t show up on your PC, try using a different Lightning to USB cable. That will help rule out a faulty cable. If you are using a USB cable from another manufacturer, make sure it is MFi certified† Also try switching USB ports and avoid connecting iPhone to external USB hubs.

Reset location and privacy

Corrupt location and privacy settings on your iPhone can also cause communication problems with your PC. You have to reset them to fix that.

1. Open the Settings app and go to General Transfer or reset iPhoneResetReset location and privacy

2. Enter the passcode of the iPhone device and tap Reset settings to complete the reset.

3. Reconnect your iPhone to your PC. Since you have reset your location and privacy settings, you will need to unlock your iPhone and press . to tap AllowTo trust to allow Windows to access the DCIM folder on your iOS device again.

Disable antivirus software

Having a third-party antivirus on the PC is another reason that prevents your iPhone or the DCIM folder from showing up in File Explorer. So pause or briefly disable such software and see if that helps. You can usually do that after selecting an antivirus program icon in the system tray or through the main configuration window.

iPhone DCIM folder empty

Your PC may also not be able to display the photos in the DCIM folder on your iPhone if the Optimize iPhone Storage iCloud Photos setting is turned on. To disable it, open the Settings app, go to Apple IDiCloud > meCloud photosand select Download and save originals† That prompts your iPhone to download again and keep the original versions of your photos instead of placeholders (which makes the DCIM folder appear empty).

If your iPhone doesn’t have enough space to store your entire photo library, it’s best to download photos Using iCloud for Windows or the iCloud Photos web app

install itunes

Have you installed iTunes on your Windows 11/10 PC? While it is not necessary to access your iPhone photos via USB, iTunes does include essential drivers that can solve communication problems between the two devices.

You have two ways to get iTunes on your PC. It’s easiest to download and install it from the Microsoft Store† The slightly less convenient method involves: using the default iTunes installer from Apple’s website

After installing iTunes, reconnect your iPhone to your PC and check if the DCIM folder shows up in File Explorer. You don’t need to sign in to iTunes with an Apple ID or even open it.

Check Apple Mobile Device USB Driver Status

If you have already set up iTunes on your PC, use the Services app in Windows 11/10 to verify that the Apple Mobile Device Service is running and running automatically.

1. Press WindowsR to open the Run box.

2. Type services.msc and press Enter

3. Double click Apple service for mobile devices

4. Make sure “Startup type” is set to automatically and “Service Status” is Run

5. Select ApplyOkay and restart your PC.

Update iTunes

If the problem persists, try updating iTunes. The process differs depending on the method you used to install it on your PC.

Microsoft Store

Open the Microsoft Store and select Library in the lower left corner of the window. Then select the Update button next to iTunes.

Apple website

Open iTunes and select Help outCheck for updates† Or open the Apple software update app via the Home menu and install any pending updates for iTunes.

Reinstall iPhone Driver

The next solution involves troubleshooting a potentially corrupted iPhone driver through the Device Manager on your PC. Again, the process differs depending on your method of installing iTunes.

Microsoft Store version

1. Unlock your iPhone and connect it to your computer.

2. Right click on the Get started button and select Device Manager

3. Fold the . from Portable devices section.

4. Right click Apple iPhone and select Update driver

5. Select Automatically search for updated driver software and wait for Windows to purchase the latest version of the driver.

6. Disconnect your iPhone and restart your computer.

Apple website version

1. Unlock your iPhone and connect it to your computer.

2. Press WindowsR to open the Run box.

3. Copy and paste the following path and press Enter

%ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers

4. Right click on the usbaapl64.inf or the usbaapl.inf file and select to install

5. Disconnect your iPhone and restart your computer.

Uninstall and reinstall iTunes

If none of the above solutions help, uninstall and reinstall iTunes.

1. Open the Settings app and select apps

2. Select iTunes

3. Select remove

4. Reinstall iTunes. You may consider switching methods. For example, install the Microsoft Store version instead if you just uninstalled the default iTunes version.

Update Windows and iOS

The last solution involves updating Windows 11/10 and iOS. That should help resolve known connectivity issues between the system software on both devices.

Update Windows

1. Open the Home menu and select Settings Windows Update

2. Select Check for updates

3. Select Download and install

update iPhone

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select Generalsoftware update

3. Select Download and install

Fix missing iPhone DCIM folder problem

Missing or corrupt permissions are usually the underlying reason behind iPhone DCIM missing folder issue and are quite easy to fix. However, Windows and iOS don’t mix well, so if the problem reoccurs despite all the solutions above, consider using alternative means to get to your photos. For example, you can import images through the Windows Photos app, sync them via iCloud for Windowsor use a third-party photo backup service like Google Photos.

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