Access the DCIM folder on your iPhone

When you plug an iPhone into a Windows VISTA/7 computer, it should recognize it as a camera device even if you don’t have iTunes installed. This can be useful if you just want to transfer some of your pictures quickly off of the iPhone without installing iTunes and syncing and all that. If your screen locks on the iPhone, however and if it was locked while you plugged it into your computer, then the DCIM folder that typically contains all the pictures on your camera roll will be empty (security). Here’s how to your pictures:

[step 1] Unplug your iPhone from the USB port.

[step 2] Unlock your iPhone screen.

[step 3] Plug your iPhone back into the USB port and open the Camera DCIM folder using explorer. NOTE: your images are now visible.

39 Responses So Far... Leave a Reply:

  1. Luigi says:

    Well done. Simple, to the point and solves the problem. Instead of all the bla bla bla on most websites, Bravo !!

  2. Ricardo says:

    Hey, thank you for your post. Direct to the point and it works. I would never have figured that out by myself. I agree with the previous commenter — you just delivered the goods, and that is commendable.

  3. Kenny says:

    THANK YOU!!!! I’ve been looking around and so far this was the only one that gave me the answer I needed.

  4. [...] only fix I’ve found is to get out Apple’s white USB sync cable, and copy all the DCIM folders off the iPhone to a computer, then delete the iPhone’s photos and movies within those [...]

  5. Kdogg says:

    Worked! So simple, Duh! Thanks for the post.

  6. Odin says:

    Any way to get access to the DCIM folder in a Windows 7 environment wirelessly? Through wifi or through bluetooth? Apps or no apps? I do NOT want to have to jailbreak to accomplish this and am looking for some other method.

    Thanks :)

    • Odin,

      You can sync your iPhone wirelessly if it has IOS5, but that will not allow you to access the DCIM folder (or camera roll album) on your iphone. There are a couple of ways to get pictures from your iPhone wirelessly onto your computer:

      1. Set up photo stream on you iPhone running iOS 5. More info here:

      2. In iTunes, turn on wifi sync with your iPhone running IOS5 and sync a picture album from you computer. Then store pictures on you iPhone in that synced album.

      Hope it helps,


  7. Jen says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. Sweet and Simple. I appreciate it.

  8. Lucas says:

    This does not work… Cannot even see my iPhone 4 in the windows explorer window!

    1 time out of about 20, I will see the phone but the DCIM folder shows empty even if I have over 15,000 photos in it!

    Need help, no solution found so far and I have been looking for almost a week and tried various things to fix this…

  9. Satya says:

    Thank you!! I did lots of google search and finally landed up in your website. It just works! I am able to transfer pictures and videos to my laptop now

  10. Ross says:

    Thanks so much! Simple and easy to follow. Worked like a charm!

  11. Nutshell says:

    Agree – works great – simple and easy breezy

    Funny before iOS 6.01 on my iphone 4s I dont recall having to do this – !

  12. Hapster says:

    Can not see the photos in my ipad dcim folder, tried the plug in usb while open fix and it did not work.

    I have done this with my I phone and it works fine..

  13. Carlos says:

    Nice, but I have some images that I cannot delete (in DCIM\860OKMZO) anyone knows why?

    I deleted them from the iphone but they are still occupying space :P.

    Happy holidays.

  14. Peter Andrén says:

    Once you understand the logic, that is that you shouldn’t be able to access a locked iPhone, it all makes perfect sense.
    Just helped a client with this.

    Thank you so much for a quick & easy solution!

  15. Peter Andrén says:

    Thank you for an easy & quick solution!

    Just helped a client with this. Your page helped a lot. Once you got the logic, that you shouldn’t be able to access a locked phone, it makes perfect sense.

  16. fran says:

    Help!! my daughter put in a WORD password onto her phone and 3 hours later went to access the phone and it said “wrong password” so she cannot access her phone. The last icloud backup was 2 weeks ago (not set to auto). she is prepared to lose all her data but want to keep the photos as she is overseas travelling.
    is there ANY way at all she can save her photos?
    also.. is the password case sensitive or anything or was it a bug in the IOS. my daughter never forgot her number passcode and this was the first time she used a word (and swears she didnt forget it)
    any clues on what she can do to keep her data and photos would be appreciated. thanks. oh its an iphone 4 16gb (not sure what ios as its locked lol!)

    • Fran,

      First off, Photos in the camera roll are stored in iPhone backup files. Photos in photo albums on the iphone are not (there’s a difference).
      If you’ve synced your iPhone with a computer recently, the photos from the camera roll should be in the latest backup file which is stored on the computer and would have been created the last time you synced with a cable. You could try to restore your iphone from a backup using this computer and the sync cable and those pictures should be copied back to the phone.

      Unfortunately, if you’ve taken a bunch of pictures since your last cable sync, then those pictures will be lost.

      If you use iCloud for backup and photo syncing on the phone, you can install iCloud sync tool on your computer and click the photo sync option. Any photos that would have synced with iCloud on the phone (only happens over wifi and if icloud photosync is enabled on the phone) will be downloaded to your pc automatically.

      Hope this helps,

  17. Mack Khurmi says:

    Awesome Bro, Thanks a lot. The best solution with in 10 mins. Great work Man.

  18. stingray from sg says:

    hey david, i tried ur method but still doesnt work. you have any idea whats the problem? could it be the problem of my phone’s usb? i can see the folder, tried the whole day but still dont see any photos in the folder on my desktop… :(

  19. john says:

    I was messing around earlier and had access to the file location, but then unplugged and changed computers systesm and the folders within DCIM were gone.

    I didn’t even have to read your full post to know how to fix it.

    Thanks buddy!

  20. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. shawn says:

    heyz David, i had problem accessing my phone to transfer out an important video, i connected it to my win vista and it does not detect the camera, i reinstall the driver and it detected it however, the device shows files in it but i can not access it still even with an unlocked sceen.

    Tried on my win7 which does not have itune and it still the same, no folders or files shown, mind advising?

    it is iphone 4 btw

  22. Bruce says:

    I cannot see many of my photos that are on my iphone 4 on my Windows 7 computer. DCIM folder with my pictures only show a small amount of photos. I would appreciate any input on how to be able to view all photos that are on my iphone.

    • Bruce,

      When you plug your phone into a computer, the DCIM folder will only show photos physically stored in the camera roll on your phone. When you go to the Photos App on your phone, however, you can create albums that have both photos from your camera roll AND photos from your icloud account. Those photos that are in the iCloud will not be available when you connect your phone to your computer…but they may be visible in the photos app on your phone, so that may be the reason you only see few photos when you connect the phone to your computer. If you have another i device, and it is connected to the same icloud account, pictures taken on that device will show up on all your other devices in the icloud account…but will only be in the camera roll of the device the picture was taken on.

      Also, there may be multiple subfolders in the DCIM folder. They may have random names, but they may contain more of your pictures stored on the camera roll of your phone.

      Hope this helps,

  23. Ara says:

    Excellent!! Easy solution. Well done

  24. Wichowich says:

    David, do you know of any method or app that puts all the pictures into folders with logic names? And not ASDHNA88 ASDKAY787 stuff like this.

    I am not talking in the IOS but when accessed as USB…

  25. Awais says:

    Thank you very much! Very simple, and works.

  26. Jabliboy says:

    thank you, u r a legend!

  27. Ananth says:

    Awesome!!! I tried your suggestion and it worked well.Thanks Dude.

  28. Manuela says:

    Thank you very much!!!

  29. Gerov says:

    Hay Guys,
    you are great, I have read thousands, helps, comments and so on ….
    It was fucken simple :-).
    Thanks a lot!!!