Why Are Photos Stored in a DCIM Folder?

Regardless of brand, all digital cameras store images in DCIM. Even photo apps for Android or iOS smartphones save photos in this folder. So, why are photos stored in a DCIM Folder? Do you have questions about this? Let's find out!

Why Are Photos Stored in a DCIM Folder?

If each camera or phone operating system has its photo storage, the software programs on each device will not connect to each other. That means you don't plug the camera's SD card into another. 

Besides, accessing photos will also be difficult if you do not rearrange the system. However, as all cameras store images in DCIM, it allows you to easily do all of the above. You can see the explanation in the video. 

Source Youtube Technical Jayendra

How Are DCIM Subdirectories Created?

When opening DCIM, you will see many different subfolders such as camera, thumbnails. As the name suggests, the camera is where the images you have taken are stored. The thumbnail will be the storage location of the thumbnail images in the videos.

When you install a camera-related application with a 3rd device, for example, you install the "Open Camera" application, DCIM will immediately create a subfolder with the same name.

In addition, some subdirectories of DCIM have names with the following 5 characters and 3 numbers from 100 to 999.

Some typical examples are 234 MG DKF, 101TH DEER, 902 UKSBD...

How Are DCIM Subdirectories Created

How to Access a DCIM Folder?

Accessing the DCIM folder is similar to searching for a regular folder on your computer. However, this is only easy after you connect your phone or camera to the computer.

After connecting, the screen will appear in many different connection modes. You choose PTP mode, a standard protocol for communicating with digital cameras in the displays on the camera or phone.

Next, open the file explorer on your computer to find the drive with the camera icon in the left column. When the drive opens, you will immediately see the DCIM folder.

Click on the folder, the photos saved on your devices will appear. You can now proceed to view and edit.

Risks In DCIM Folder And How To Fix It

Although DCIM is the choice of all digital photography equipment, it is not fully optimized. Because, you can have some trouble with this folder.

Here are a few errors you will encounter when working with DCIM and how to fix them:

Some pictures cannot be displayed

This could be because your folders are corrupted, and there is usually nothing you can do to restore them. Instead, you capture viewable photos and then save them to a new card.

If you have finished that and the error occurs, there's a good chance your camera or capture device has a problem. 

At this point, the most effective way to prevent this from happening again is to replace the device with a new one.

There are no photos in the tag

If this happens to you, it is mostly because your camera does not record the image you have taken. So your best bet is to get a new camera.

However, another possible danger is that the file is corrupted. In this case, you need the help of a repairman or a support tool like Magic Fat Recovery, for example.

DCIM folder becomes a DCIM file

When you see this sign, you can understand that the system is broken. The only way to fix it is thanks to the support of repair software. 

Again, we recommend you learn about Magic Fat Recovery as it is very helpful in helping you fix folder errors.

User error

Usually, this error occurs because you accidentally click the delete option while working with it.

This situation is not too dangerous because you can restore it.

How To Recover Files From DCIM

 Recover Files From DCIM

Recovering files from DCIM is quite simple, and you just need to follow the correct sequence of steps below. You should not need to worry about how many you have accidentally deleted.

  • Step 1: The file recovery will be thanks to the support of Folder Recovery software. So first, you need to install this software on your computer. Also, insert the memory card into the computer.

  • Step 2: Select “Recover File”.

  • Step 3: Specify the memory card or camera card storage drive. Next, click “Scan.”

  • Step 4: Then, the recovery tool will start the process of searching the DCIM folder. When the software works, you just sit there and wait. It can be fast or slow, depending on the number of deleted folders on your machine.

  • Step 5: Preview folders in File Type View or Data View.

  • Step 6: View files and select the files to recover.

  • Step 7: Choose the location to save the file after recovery and press save.

It only takes a few minutes for the process to complete, and your photos will be back to the way they were.

What To Do When You Can't Find The Dcim Folder?

After you have successfully connected the devices, you cannot find out where the DCIM is located. At this point, your folder may have been hidden or deleted due to some unintentional manipulation.

If the folder is hidden, just unhide the folder and access it as usual.

In case the DCIM folder is deleted, follow the instructions above to restore the folder.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have many questions regarding DCIM, and you can find out some more information about them through the questions below.

What does DCIM include?

DCIM is the standard directory specified by the DCF in digital cameras and smartphones. 

The folder on your Android device's MicroSD card is where the photos and videos you take with your device's built-in camera are stored. You open the image library when you browse the files in the DCIM folder. The same goes for iPhones.

Where can I find DCIM on my phone?

Photos taken on the camera will be to the memory card or the phone memory, depending on your settings. 

The location of the image will have a path shape like this storage/ EMMC/ DCIM. The position of the photos will always be the same and take the form of a DCIM/Camera.

What is the difference between SD cards and DCIM?

DCIM stands for Digital Camera Image, an animated folder created by the camera on the SD card. All photos and videos after taking them will be here.

DCIM is where the images and videos are stored, and SD is where the DCIM is stored.

How do I add a DCIM folder to my SD card?

To add DCIM to the SD card, you can do the following steps:

  • Open a file manager app on your phone or computer

  • Open internal memory

  • Select DCIM

  • Next, press and hold the camera icon

  • Select the scroll button located on the left side of the screen

  • Go back to the file manager menu and select the SD card

  • Finally, click DCIM to move the folder to the SD card.

Why is the iPhone DCIM folder empty?

When you don't see DCIM on your iPhone, the photo is most likely hidden. To show it again, do the following:

  • Go to Album on the toolbar

  • Choose to see

  • Show previously hidden photo albums

  • Choose the right one

  • Select image

  • Choose to show photos

At this point, the photo will reappear in the album, and your DCIM is no longer blank.


The DCIM directory is a standard that simplifies things. In particular, it will make the process of working with photos across your multiple devices easier. 

We hope the above sharing has helped you understand the reason for “why are photos stored in a DCIM folder?”.

Thank you for reading!

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