iPhone iOS 4 & 5 upgrade – restore lost pictures in camera roll

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

update 10/21/2011 – it appears that this bug has come up again with a number of people who have updated to iOS 5. luckily, the solution is the same as before. i have updated the instructions to help with any changes that iOS 5 added.

before you start – this will only work if your photos actually exist on your device but do not show up in in the camera roll. you can verify that photos exist on your device by looking graph at the bottom of iTunes and by checking your device for the actual picture files. if you post comments about having problems but don’t mention that you haven’t verified that your photos are still available on your device, i’m sorry but i won’t be able to help you.

so i decided to upgrade to the new iOS 4 on my iphone 3gs to see what it is all about. everything went smoothly. i installed itunes 9.2, downloaded the new firmware, asked my phone to do a restore using the new firmware and then had it restore my latest backup of info. everything seemed perfect after syncing with itunes but then i went into my camera roll and noticed i had no pictures! in itunes, it showed over 1 GB worth of pictures so why were they not showing up? i searched online for a little while i didn’t really come up with much at first. many different solutions: do a backup, sync, reboot, etc but nothing worked. then i came across this discussion on the apple forums. i have slightly modified the steps. if you use windows or osx, you can download iphone explorer and follow these steps:

these steps are out of date.  see below for updated steps.
1.) connect your iphone using the usb cable
2.) launch iphone explorer
3.) backup and then delete the following files (backup instructions):
4.) reboot your iphone

a recent update to iphone explorer may have changed the folder paths. if you don’t see the folders mentioned, try the following:

1.) connect your iphone using the usb cable
2.) launch iphone explorer
3.) backup and then delete the following files (backup instructions):
     /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite)
     /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)
4.) reboot your iphone

note: if you don’t have the file PhotosAux.sqlite, that’s not a problem. It is a database of the location of where photos were taken which is extracted from the EXIF data of the pictures. i would guess that it is uses by the Places feature in the camera roll.

if your phone is jailbroken and you are in ‘root’ view in iphone explorer, these instructions & file locations should work:

1.) connect your iphone using the usb cable
2.) launch iphone explorer
3.) backup and then delete the following files:
4.) reboot your iphone

if you have linux, you shouldn’t need anything as long as you can mount your iphone as a device and delete the files listed above. i used debian (squeeze) to access the files as it automatically mounts my iphone when i plug it in. i just enabled ‘view hidden files’ and i could access the files to delete.

once you have done that, just open your camera roll and it should re-index all of your photos!

*edit: as Phil has pointed out in the comments, if the file ‘/DCIM/.MISC/Info.plist’ does not exist or if you can’t find the folder ‘/DCIM/.MISC’, just skip past that file and follow the rest of the directions and it should still restore your photos in the camera roll.

*edit: has anyone had this happen with the latest update to iOS 5? i am curious whether or not it is happening again with the latest iOS. if it is, please let me know in the comments. thanks!

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Categories: apple, computers, iphone, technology

589 Comments on “iPhone iOS 4 & 5 upgrade – restore lost pictures in camera roll”

  1. My hero. I have just spent the past several hours trying to find a solution to that very problem. I completely forgot to backup my iPhone’s photo’s recently but luckily found a backup file with them.

    As you no doubt discovered the challenge to get them back on the phone was a pain and even worse was that the index file didnt get it.

    Your solution can even be further simplified if someone has a jailbroken iOS 4.0, if they install Netatalk in Cydia it will allow you to ARP on MAC OS and simply just mount the device with the credentials root/alpine.

  2. You *rock*

  3. i have a question: how to change the counting of the new pictures? so now i’ve got 641 pic (the last filename is IMG_0641.jpg) in my camera roll, but when i take a new pic it just create a new 101APPLE folder with a IMG_1001.jpg file (and the thumbs of course)!
    any solution for this?

    thx in advance!

  4. you might find this link of use:

    it seems to have exactly what you are looking for.

    *edit: yours probably looks something similar to this:

    change it to this:

  5. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I thought I’d lost a pictoral record of the last 2 years of my life, in the form of over 500 pictures. So glad to have them back. Believe me, they’re backed up to my PC now.

    Thanks again!!

  6. Genius! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us!

  7. Thank you so much…After restore restore restore and backup backup backup and 4 days of thinking I’d lost everything I finally called apple and discussed the issue for over an hour only for them to tell me they couldn’t help. Thanks for being honest and just helping us iphone users out here…I thought I had lost 2 years of pictures but thanks to you they’ve been recovered and now saved in multiple places. I just can’t thank you enough! God Bless!

  8. This really works! All my precious photos are restored. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You’re a genius!

  9. Thanks! This worked!

  10. Hi please help if you can. I updated my 3g phone to the new ios4 software updated and lost all my contacts, photos, text, notes and calender. If I could recover my photos that is some of the battle. I have read your instructions and am not sure I understand how to find the files you mention. Also, I downloaded iphone explorer and it has an error box that says iphone ecplorer has stopped working. I would appreciate any advice you can render as I have lost 5 years of photos.

  11. Just did the trick and it does currently update the media library as I am writing this. And wait. Yes, all 354 pics are back again. Thanks a lot!

    Just 1 remark. I could not find the /DCIM/.MISC/Info.plist in my device, but just deleted the other 2 and it worked just fine.


  12. @ Kimora: well, before I can tell you where to find the files you better get the iphone explorer running. I actually had the same error on one PC and just tried this on another one where it worked. No idea why but try another PC if possible.

    Once you have it running, the PhotoData folder is here, at least on my device: /Root Directory/User/Media/PhotoData. DCIM is also in /Root Directory/User/Media/ but as I wrote above I could not located the info.plist file but it worked anyay.

    Hope this helps

  13. @Kimora

    it sounds as if your phone has been restored to the factory defaults. in order to restore your phone with all of its contacts, photos, notes, etc, you will want to perform the restore from backup function. you might try what bigdogjonx did in his post here:

    to make things simple, here is the text that is important from their post:

    “The answer is definetely not on the computer. What happens when you restore the phone, I think the iPhone is in a virgin state in that it has never connected to iTunes, whenever it connects the first time it usually asks you to setup a new phone or restore from backup (if you have one). If you choose new phone, it writes something back to the phone. From that point you cant use that backup. I tried a bunch of things trying to find the plist on the iPhone that holds that info, even deleted a bunch and reconnected to itunes in hopes it would think its never been connected, but no go.

    So I restored the phone again and connected it to iTunes and BAAM, it asks me to the question with two options, setup new phone or restore from backup, chose the backup and was back in business.”

    this is assuming that you have synchronized your phone with itunes beforehand (which i believe it does before an upgrade)

  14. Hi,
    This advice was invaluable! Have recovered all my photos (and backed them up for good measure!). Thanks very much for taking the time to explain what to do :-)

  15. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  16. Hi

    Thank you so much for a brilliant little app and fantastic information. The fact that its all free means theres hope for humanity. I have endured 2 weeks of verbal abuse from me dad, he’ll be happy to see all his photos back on his iPhone.

    Thanks you again.

  17. Hi,

    I updated a 3gs to ios4… but didnt do a back-up!
    Is there any way to get the old settings, files and apps back? I thaught i saw a backup cycle in the update proces…

  18. @mike

    see my comment reply to Kimora above. those instructions should work for you as well.

  19. Hi,

    I downloaded iPhone Explorer, and when I connect my iPhone I can see two folders. One is called “Apps” and it lists my apps. The other is called “Data” but it’s entirely empty.

    Do I need to “Jailbreak” my iPhone first in order to use iPhone Explorer? I hope I don’t have to. While I don’t have any music on my iPhone, I do have about 123 photos (another 100 went missing when I upgraded to iOS4 on this 3G), so it’s weird that the data folder is completely empty on iPhone Explorer, yet I can see info for my apps.

    Any thoughts?


  20. @Kevin

    No, you do not need to be jailbroken for iPhone Explorer to work. I am looking at iPhone Explorer on my PC now and by default I am seeing two folders:
    Apps and Media. I don’t see a ‘Data’ folder.

    I have updated my blog post above to reflect some changes that may be been made by the author of iPhone Explorer. Here is a snippet of those changes:

    1.) connect your iphone using the usb cable
    2.) launch iphone explorer
    3.) backup and then delete the following files:
    4.) reboot your iphone
  21. I figured out why I couldn’t see the Media files. I had to go to Preferences in iPhone Explorer and uncheck “Allow access to real root.”

    Then they all showed up and I deleted those files!

    Thanks so much!

  22. It’s updating the library right now…

    Yes! I got them all back! Thanks a lot!! :D

  23. Thank you! Thank you!
    I updated my husband’s iphone and lost all of his pictures. I used your instructions and his pictures are back!! You may have saved our marriage :)

    So now I was wandering, how do I put these pictures onto the computer? I can only find instructions on how to put pictures onto the iphone, but not how to save them from the iphone to somewhere else. Could you please help?

    Thank you again!!!!

  24. this apple kb doc has instructions to retrieve the pictures:

  25. Thank U very very very very much! Working around from 2 hours to recover the lost photos… find out that are all in the iphone (fortunately) and now you saved my life with this method to recover the camera roll.
    Thank you very much for the info! GREAT!

  26. this has not worked for me but my issue is slightly different and wonder if you can help. I lost calender details for the last few months ( i think after doing the version 4 upgrade) and did a restore from backup yesterday to attempt to get the info back. It did not help with the calender issue and as a result I have now lost photos for the last 3 weeks which I am gutted about and also text messages (which I can live with)- I followed all your instructions but I am still left with the 3 week gap. Any suggestions on how I can retrieve the photos

    Many thanks in anticipation

  27. @Caroline
    it is quite likely that the only way that you will get your pictures back from the past 3 weeks is if you did a sync (which should create a backup) before you restored your phone. unfortunately i haven’t really looked into the calendar much as i just have mine sync over the air to exchange so my calendar events keep synchronization without any intervention on my part. i would imagine a great deal of that would depend on how you synchronize your information (whether it syncs to outlook, ms exchange, etc).

  28. I tried the photo restore that you describe above, but not all the pictures appear. I also lost all my sms msgs and when I restore from backup – my contacts are from 2 years ago?!? How do I get back my newq contacts and pics. help

  29. Thanks so much!!

  30. Hi there,
    your m.o. did not work as my issue seems a bit different.
    Before upgrading to OS4, I’ve replaced my 3G (dead now) with a 3GS &… synchronized.
    That’s when my original photos disappeared & couldn’t find them on my Mac.
    Any idea?

  31. This did not work for me at all and I followed all instructions.

  32. Thanks! This worked like a charm!

  33. … worked for me too, cheers :-)

  34. Thanks so much for posting this. I had updated my stepmom’s iPhone with 4.0 and all of the pictures she had taken of my dad’s stroke recovery were gone – 130+ pictures of first steps, first bites, therapies, etc. I felt horrible. I had just updated my iPhone 3GS to 4.0 with no issues, so couldn’t figure out what I did differently with her 3G. I followed these instructions and all photos were found. What a relief!! Thank you – Thank you – Thank you!

  35. Thank you very much for solving this problem.

  36. Excellent stuff!!…..As soon as i saw the headline i couldn’t wait to get to start reading the comments.Thank you all so much for your comments and support…its really helpful to all of us….


  37. Thank you so much. I hv spent several hours searching for the way to fix this problem. Glad I found ur article :) very useful!!! Cheers!

  38. Thanks man, you’re my hero of the day!


  39. It might sound a bit gay but I love you! I have all my photos & videos back!!

  40. I have upgraded 3GS from 3.1.3 to ios4, in my iPhoto I have only 2 options “Album”and “places” only, I couldn’t see the other options like “places”and”event”.i have seen that iphoto ion ios4 have tabs as well as folder managing optionsbut I can’t,what am I suppose to do sholud I restore once again.

  41. @Shazia

    i am not exactly sure what you are looking for but i think it is out of scope of this article.

  42. Thanks. Worked PERFECT as described. I have 3G 8gig and my 2nd pg of pics were blacked out. I could see pics if i pressed a spot on the blacked out area.

    I had to go to-
    /Media/PhotoData/MISC/Info.plist 1st to find this file

    then the other 2 were in


    You are a genius.

  43. This saved my iphone life! many thanks for sharing this info :)

  44. Hi, it didn’t work for me unfortunately, followed the guide to the book and it was repopulating the album but then finished without any photo’s in there.

    This is so unfortunate, i even tried SSH’ing into the phone and the photo’s aren’t here either: /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM

    Have i absolutely had it?

    I had backed up my iphone before restoring it, but the backup isn’t there for the time where i did it as itunes automatically backs up before restoring to factory settings, but confusingly the backup actually isn’t listed.

    I’d love to see if there’s anything i can do.

    Many thanks and i hope for a response, Chris

  45. it sounds like your pictures are not on the phone so it isn’t just an indexing problem. it sounds very odd that isn’t listing multiple backups in the drop down of available ones. did you install the update as a new device before instead of restoring from a backup?

  46. Wow thanks for the quick reply, well there are a few backups there but i would think there would be a backup for every time i sync’d my phone with the computer as it does say in the process “backing up iphone” ,the only backup there is, is for yesterday later on in the evening and one from late July. What i did was

    1. Factory restore at around 6pm to sort out an issue i had with my jailbroken phone
    2. Sync’d with itunes but “Photo’s folder wasn’t sync’d as the box was unchecked
    3. Then i jailbroke with jailbreakme at about 9pm, suddenly realising since 6pm i hadn’t looked at my photos and they were missing
    4. I then did a restore from backup which was timed at 9pm in the hope that before i jailbroke, my photo’s might be there….

    They weren’t, and that’s the case now. I’m reckoning the photo’s aren’t in the phone as it’s been restored and jailbroke at least once each time last night, and it looks like they aren’t in the computer either as they weren’t in the root of the phone and the DCIM folder which holds the camera roll on the computer is empty….

    Have i lost them for good do you think? Sorry i tried to shorten this but had to give you as much info as possible :)


  47. I have downloaded iPhone Explorer but it will not open up for me. What could I be doing wrong?

  48. I’ve deleted both photos.sqlite and photosaux.splite however they reappear in iphone explorer after reboot. Also only a portion of my pictures after missing after update. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  49. @Bobby
    could you provide a little more information about what exactly happens? were you successfully able to install iphone explorer? what os? does it just do nothing when you open up the application?

  50. @TIm
    if you have followed the steps listed and not all of your photos appear, then it sounds like they are not all on the device. i would suggest using this apple kb doc to look and see if the photos actually exist:

  51. @Chris
    i am pretty sure that it only keeps certain backups (keeps the latest one, probably between major release upgrades, etc). i would do a sync, then possibly try to restore one of the other backups listed to see if you can at least get some of your photos back.

  52. Thanks Mbentley, i think i’ve lost all hope. But thank you for your help as i know you’ve had a lot of success stories already.

  53. FAO BOBBY!

    I had the same problem with the program the first time, i’m on Windows 7, all i did was shut itunes, disconnect the iphone, turn it off, turn off the computer, turn on and when fully running turn iphone on and connect up and then tried the program again and it worked for me.

    Hope it helps

  54. Hey Everyone,

    I downloaded the program. I had the phone hooked up and double clicked iPhone Explorer and nothing happens. You can see where it tries to come up and then nothing happens. I am using a iMac and it is not Leopard. I apologize I am not tech savy at all.

  55. I brought the iPhone 4, and a couple of hours later my camera broke. So I synced it all on the computer so all my apps from that iPhone were on iTunes. I then went and got a new iPhone to replace the other one, took lots of nice photos etc etc. I then went to connect that iPhone onto iTunes, pressed that I wanted old settings or something like that (so that I could get the contacts back on my iPod) but then all my photos have gone from my new iPhone back to my old iPhone photos :( how do I get them back?? Thanks

  56. Brilliant. Delighted to get rid of the black shroud covering the latest holiday photos taken on my iphone.

  57. Just returned from a wedding after taking 450 pictures and during the sync process the laptop froze. After many tries I restored iPhone4 and then I noticed all my photos gone. Spent 2 hours on the phone with Apple support but no luck. Seems to me that during sync the photos never got onto laptop. Would appreciate any help in recovering lost photos. Thanks.

  58. if your phone never did a successful sync with itunes with those pictures on your iphone before you restored your phone (which would have had data most likely from your last successful sync), then the pictures are going to be lost.

  59. I was hoping for a different answer but thanks for your convincing reply.

  60. Hi

    Hope someone can help me here – Ill try and make this easy to understand.

    Upgraded to 4.0 last night (yes its taken me a while to get round to it!), but it seems to have wiped some contacts and recent messages and photos. After the phone installed the last thing it went back to was 26/07/10 when I recorded a voice memo. Basically everything that I’ve done/used on it since then till 12/08/10 has gone! I cant understand why, but suspect I may have updated my itunes around 2-3 weeks ago and this has conflicted with the 4.0 upgrade from previous OS.

    I cant recall if I backed up or not, am thinking of doing a ‘restore’ but worried that I will lose ABSOLUTELY everything!

    Also how can you ‘cut and paste’ your contacts onto your hard drive?

    Cheers – any help would be much appreciated


  61. @Katy
    from that description, it sounds like all of the photos you had taken with your iphone 4 before were overwritten by the restoration of your settings from the old sync that you had. unfortunately i am not aware of any file recovery programs that might be able to retrieve the data off of an iphone after it has been overwritten. your only chance might be if you did a sync before you did a restore. if you did that, then there might be a way to get them back.

  62. I updated my iphone 3gs to 4.0.1 custom firmware and unlocked it. I did not back it up as I had completely forgotten. Is there any way I can get back my pictures now? This was the first time I plugged the iphone in the computer that I had used to restore my phone on.

    I opened iphone explorer but am not sure how to back up and delete the files you have mentioned.

    Please help…

  63. @Arth
    if you didn’t do a sync (ie – don’t have a backup in itunes), i am not aware of a way to restore the pictures.

  64. You are a star! My iphone was going to be killed and you saved it! I spent the best part of two evenings trying to save my piccies!
    Many thanks and lovin your work :)

  65. Yessss!!! it works fine, thank a lot :) I used the second paths and now I’m have all my pictures :)

  66. Hi Mbentley

    After I applied this fix , it did restore all the pics,however if I now take new pics it does show them in the camera roll …until I reboot the phone then any new pic I took do not appear.

    Only the original restored pics appear…?
    The new pics bth and thm files do appear in the photodata 100Apple folder…?

    Ps I have Iphone 4.

    Any help appreciated

  67. hi there

    i tried ur solution but it didnt work for me, the thing is that my ipone crashed before i could do any backup on itunes and i had to restore my iphone and update it to ios4 and i lost everything on my iphone, is there anyway to restore my pictures, is it this way or can ifind another way to restore them ? please help me


  68. BIG THX.
    Its working for me.
    I do it with ifile and not with Iphone Explorer!

  69. Thanks a lot! I was in the un-updated-jailbroken 2G world for the past year, and only connected to my ihpone via scp / ssh. Thanks for these simple directions, and for the link to iPhone Explorer: the coolest iPhone navigator ever!!!

  70. All of my pix are gone after I upgraded my iphone…I followed all the instructions they gave. It did a backup & restore. I did have like 1000 pictures on my camera roll now it says I have 500ish but they are covered by black. I am freakin.

    Where is iphone explorer? Is that a MAC download? Do you think those 500 other photos are just gone now?
    Why doesn’t MAC tell you this BEFORE you upgrade…ughh.
    Can you help?

  71. …if you use windows or osx, you can download iphone explorer and follow these steps:…

    it is for both mac and pc

  72. i have had the same problem an gutted that they are lost, am not with all dis tecq lark, i have read your instructions, an launched the i phone explorer but not sure how am meant to back it up ??? please help

  73. to back up the files, you just need to copy and paste them into a directory somewhere on your computer. you should be able to just right click on the file and choose ‘copy’ and then browse to the directory on your computer (not using iphone explorer) and paste the files. while there is very little chance of breaking anything, it is best to always do a backup especially when performing an operation you don’t completely understand.

  74. Thank you so much — Worked really well for me. I donated to iphone explorer as result.

  75. Hi
    I have an iphone 4 and I synched it to itunes to download my ipod music. Unfortunately it has downloaded all my daughters stuff from her ipod touch. I went back on and tried to do a “backup” and the same thing happened. I managed to get my contact details back from phone sim but can not trace any of my photos. Are these now lost??? Any help gratefully received……

  76. Thank you very much for this very clear, simple and helpful solution !

  77. Hello!

    I’ve tried deleting the files as you’ve mentioned above, but they, with the exception of the file from the MISC folder, reappear every time I check out the iPhone Explorer.

    And I’ve tried restarting my iPhone many times after following the steps but my photos taken recently are still missing.

    Could you kindly offer me some assistance? Thank you so much!

  78. I just want to send a big THANK YOU for the information. I got back all 728 of my pictures on my IPhone 3 after I lost them during an update. Apple was not able to offer any solution to get them back.

  79. Great post. Works like a charm.

    I just got my 32GB Iphone 4 replaced for a yellow blotch and after restoring my iphone with my backup also noticed that the camera roll index was all black but the individual pictures were still there.

  80. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Thought I just lost all my photos when I upgraded my 3G to OS 4.0.2 after the restore. Great post!

  81. Yippeee it worked for me, 850 photos (showing in itunes memory staus bar but not on phone) recovered.

    I don’t know what the files are you advise to delete but it works (would be interested to know / understand what causes problem?)

    Many thanks !

  82. Hi. I just backed up my iPhone 4 and now all my pictures are gone!! I have never done a backup of it before because I was afraid I’d somehow do something like this. I was right. I followed the steps you gave but without success. I don’t know what else to do. Is there a way to recover pictures & videos that I had taken with my phone that had NOT been backed up? Please help! I’m desperate! Thank you!

  83. Genius!

    Thank you for this, my wife was almost in tears when she found out her photos were gone after I upgraded her to OS4.2!!!

    You saved my life, and it took about three mins!

  84. @Dean – Same here!!! I was in the dog house until I found this website. This worked PERFECTLY!!! THANK YOU!!!

  85. thanks for the tip
    works :)

  86. Hi, I need some urgent help. I bought a new iphone 4 and have not done any back up. I sync into my boyfriend’s itunes and lost all my photos. any way to get them back? I am now trying to restore the settings to factory settings since I have no back up and I am seeing my boyfriend’s iphone details now

  87. @Faith
    if you never made a backup of your iphone, you will not be able to get anything back as far as i am aware. it sounds like you restored one of your boyfriend’s old backups onto your iphone and that totally overwrites everything on your phone with the data from his phone.

  88. @Momo
    when you have your iphone plugged in, there should be a graph at the bottom, center of the screen that shows how much space is used by each type of item. if you don’t see any amount of space used for photos, then there are not any pictures on your phone. the method described in this post can’t be used as it is only resolves a cache problem, not that the picture files have actually been lost. if you have never done a successful backup, then your photos, unfortunately, will not have been stored anywhere.

  89. thanks. I am so screwed. I have many impt photos inside…

  90. Extremely useful tip. It avoided me the pain digging into previous backups and buying the excellent tool to do it conveniently “ipohone backup extractor”. I recovered my 570 pictures with a glimpse. Just a tip : I had to use “iphone browser” since “iphone explorer” showed only empty folders up, don’t know why (maybe itunes level 10 ?).

    Hurrah and a lot of thanks again.

  91. Thanks a lot.

    It resolved my problem.

  92. hello
    can any body help me .i use iphone 4 with firmware 4.0.2 after update firmware to 4.1 all my apps can’t walking anymore and my picture on camera roll stil have a 500 picture …i download the firmware 4.1 manual again and i use restore to firmware 4.1,,,after restat the iphone i lg new one ,,all of my picture and apps is lost,,i have try use iphone explorer to find my picture..but still can’t do that,please help me my problem

  93. @hendra
    it sounds like you need to do a restore from a previous backup to restore your applications and pictures. check out this apple kb doc:

  94. Thank you so much! Resolved my issue of “lost” photos after upgrade to iOS4.

  95. I have a jail broken iPhone 4 and was attempting to download Hide-N-Seek, a photo hiding program when my camera roll was completely deleted. Is there any way I can get my photos my by restoring to a back up point without losing my most recent SMS and mms messages?

  96. Any idea if I can restore the correct position of an image in the camera roll?

    I have a photo which got deleted, I restored it from one of the backups with iPhone Backup Extractor and put it into the DCIM folder but it’s still showing at the end of my camera roll instead of where it used to be. It has the correct image name in the sequence (IMG_0484.JPG) and I restored the .BTH and .THM files from the PhotoData backup as well, but I just cant get its thumbnail to be where it used to be, it’s always at the end.

  97. RE my above post, I have solved this issue.

    I changed my iPhone clock to the date I took my original photo, copied the photo back to the DCIM folder using Phone Disk: http://www.macroplant.com/phonedisk/, completed your above steps of deleting the sqlite files and the .plists then changed my date back and rebooted the phone.

    The photo is now where it used to be. Thank you!

  98. I do not know who you are but bless your tender heart! Just got an iphone recently so am a newbie… first update was the latest 4.1. But after, my photos i had taken recently in camera roll disappeared. Only had 35 photos all of a sudden, but when connected to itunes it said i had over 100. Searched internet and no help anywhere till i found your site. Downloaded the explorer folder, followed the steps, rebooted the phone and voila! Photos back! Dont know why it happened… but THANK YOU! :)

  99. hi, can you please help me? i upgraded the software of my 3GS to iOS4 and everything worked out fine except that i couldn’t find the icons or my other donwloaded files on my phone..but when i searched it it’s still there..how would i make it reappear it on my phone again without searching on it? please help me…

  100. I have a 3GS with the new 4.1 software.
    I back it up, and then I had to restore it.
    I restored it and chose my back up, and waited for it.
    But when I looked at my phone, everything was different and I lost all my contacts, photos, notes etc.
    I had over 6,000 pictures that I lost!
    Please help me!
    I tried this, but It didn’t work!
    I lost 2 years of my life in pictures!

  101. I updated my 3GS two days ago and suddenly today about 100 pictures showed up black in the camera roll. I followed mbentley’s instructions and they are fixed! Thank you!

  102. I’ve just lost a whole set of important pictures too. Someone please help… :(

  103. FYI, I tried the above directions and nothing happened. I don’t see any backfile file saved no my comp…

  104. Found this info crucial to retrive my pics back to my filmroll, so thanks a lot to Mr. mbentley! :)

    But… (there’s always a but) now I’ve a strange behavior, when I shoot a new picture the related thumbnail appears as a black square in the filmroll and also the smaller thumb beside “Filmroll” appear as default icon instead of the small thumb of the last image. Anyone experienced/solve this issue?
    (iOS 4.1 jailbreaked)

  105. ..further investigating on the issue… it seems that under Media/PhotoData two new thumb files are created every new shoot is taken (xyz.BHT, xyz.THM) which is not my case. In other words it seems the OS doens’t create those 2 files anymore… :~|

  106. SOLUTION FOUND!!!! That was a folder ownership problem, something has changed the owner of dir /PhotoData the user:group to “root:mobile” instead the correct one is “mobile:mobile”. HTH

  107. hi there,
    i did the same thing but it didnt work with me. the thing s i didnt back up my phone data including photos before i proceed with the up grade from 3gs to IOS 4 bcoz i didnt know that i’m gonna loose data and didnt get a warning message … s that why it didnt work? if any one has an idea plz let me know.


  108. @dona

    yes, it is quite likely that if you didn’t take a backup that your pictures would have been lost, especially if you set up your phone as a new phone. the proper procedure would have been to do a complete sync of your old phone, then connect your new phone, activate it through itunes and restore it from the backup you just took from your old phone.

  109. mbentley

    thank u for ur reply.. but wud u plz explain to me what exactly u mean by doing a complete sync to my old phone? do u mean i have to restore it to the original settings after back up? and then what? i didnt really get it :s

  110. i am just saying this is how you should have done things when you bought your new phone.
    complete sync = plug in your phone, make sure it syncs with itunes (by default, it should do this when you plug it in or you can force it by pressing the sync button)

    use your old phone, do a sync which creates a backup of your old phone. take new phone, connect it to your computer, it will run you through the new phone wizard and when you can choose either ‘new phone’ or pick a backup to restore, you pick the backup. then all of the contents of your old phone are copied to the new one.

  111. i see… well thanx ne ways

  112. @Lucio

    On my iphone Owner:Group is set as mobile:mobile but new photo taken are showing up in camera roll but are not saved correctly… Any fix on this?

  113. what are the permissions & ownership set to of the parent folder that the pictures are in and when you take new pictures, what ownership are they set to?

    *edit: for example, on my phone, the permissions are:
    drwxr-x— (750) on /var/mobile/Media/DCIM and it is owned by mobile:mobile

    all of my pictures (in the 100APPLE and 101APPLE sub-directories) are created as -rw-r–r– (644), owned by mobile:mobile

  114. ok thanks for the reply… so DCIM folder is rwxr-x— (750)
    Owner – 501 and group – 501
    Permissions: 750
    Owner All boxes checked
    Group – Read and Exucute boxes are checked
    Others – no box checked

  115. ok one more thing i notice is i just tried to take a screenshot and it didnt save in camera roll but regular picture taken with the camera are saved to camera roll but not saved properly because i canot zoom in them and when i delete them it says “saving” also i just restared the phone and the pics that i took with the camera are gone… weird things here after i deleted
    /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite)
    /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)

  116. ok its all corrupted now… im gonna do a restore and try something else i’ll let you kno if i get tru it in a few mins

  117. ok i just did the restore and tried to manually add (via SSH) a picture to the DCIM folder (for example add IMG_1040.JPG to DCIM) and add the .bth and .thm file to that same pic (IMG_1040.BTH n IMG_1040.THM) into PhotoData, repspring, no photo in camera roll… im just gonna sync them in :(

  118. Best you should change the webpage title blog.mbentley.net » iPhone iOS 4 upgrade – restore lost pictures in camera roll to more better for your blog post you create. I loved the the writing withal.

  119. thanks for sharing!!
    i know this sounds very stupid but i can see all of e folders mention above but i cant seem to delete them !!

  120. hahaha my bad..jus switch frm mac to windows.forgot e right click =,=#

  121. Hey!! thank you very much is incredible how apple doesnt support people…but hey…there is always a hero with us…thank you dude keep it like that!!

  122. I tried steps 1 – 2 but once i launch it i cant find the option to back it up on iphone explorer…PLEASE HELP ME!

  123. it isn’t an option in the program. i am saying that you should copy those files to somewhere on your local computer. i just created a temporary folder on my desktop and copied them to there.

  124. Thanks a lot!!!

  125. Hi there. I read all through the posts. My problem is I only have the thm and bth files of my pics. My computer and iPhone read them as corrupt. I tried the steps and it deletes the black photos. But iPhone explorer says the other files of the pics are on there. How do I convert them to jpeg. Thanks!

  126. I have just restored my iphone 3GS ios 3.1 to 4.1, in my camera roll, I’ve only managed to recover 372 out of 1200 photos. After I follow your instructions, I can see all my pictures in .THM format but not .jpg/in camera roll. Kindly advice. Thanks.

  127. Hi mbentley,

    I’ve got as far as downloading iPhone Explorer, but when I right-click on the said files, it does not give me the option to copy?! It on says ‘add new folder’ or ‘delete’.

    Do you have any advice on this?

    Many thanks.

  128. Sadie I had the same problem with no copy option, so I just deleted anyway and it worked. Use this advice at your own risk :)

  129. Thank you so much!! Seems like Apple should have a solution for this.

  130. Hi. Does anyone know how to do this with a Mac? I have a new phone and had never synched it, so connected to iTunes fir the first time and just clicked restore from backup – all the photos from my old phone are there but the ones from my new phone are gone! Very annoying!

  131. Hey!
    I recently updated my iphone 3g to the iOS 4. It took forever backing up and restoring the iphone, but when it finished restoring everything was gone!! When I am on the Itunes and go to Edit and click the preferences, and go to the Devices tab it shows the Backup that I spent forever on. But when I right click on the iphone in the left side panel and click the restore from backup the backup does not appear, what do I do??!!

  132. So, on my iPhone 4 ….under my cameral roll it showed a lot of black squares for some of the pictures….they were there but you couldn’t see the image unless you clicked on the black box. I sync them to my Mac and then deleted them from my camera roll. Then transferred them back to my iPhone but it went under an Album….rather than the camera roll. Is there a way for them to be put back to camera roll?

  133. @Jane
    that is because when you received your new phone, you should have immediately done a restore from backup and then started using it. there is no way to restore the ‘new’ photos you lost unfortunately.

  134. @Veronica
    if you didn’t do a sync through itunes, there isn’t a way to put the files back on your phone that i am aware of. it sounds like you copied the photos without the use of itunes.

  135. @Natalie
    that sounds very strange. the only thing that i can think of would be to make sure that you have the latest version of itunes and try it again.

  136. I only seem to have the last two files available to delete


    Rather than the first file : Media/PhotoData/MISC/Info.plist

    I have Media/PhotoData/MISC/preveiwwellimage.jpg

    Nolt sure now what I should be deleteing

    please help ,thanks

  137. sorry just read the to ignore th3 first file if not there and carry on, which I’ve done. didn’t work for me and the files are still showing in iphoneexplore,

    any suggestions

  138. Have tried it three times now, when the phone reboots it says updating library but the old images are still lost.. then when I go back to iphonexplore the files have reappeared and show the date and time as fews minutes ago….

    I’m distraught its not worked for me …. please help !!!

  139. @nads
    if it rebuilds the library and they still don’t show, then the pictures are not on your phone. had you sync’d your phone with itunes recently at all where it would have backed up the photos?

  140. Hya I’d sync’d it since taking the photos… but not since delteting them by mistake….. coudl there be some other way that I can get to them then.

    It was only a sync I did I didnt save the photos on to my computer.. does a sync save photos ?

  141. yes, doing a sync will back up your photos. a sync will back up everything on the phone.

  142. ok, well thats could be good news… How then do I retrieve ??
    Just wantt to make sure that I dont do something wrong that deletes them forever !!

  143. i would suggest first creating a backup and then performing a restore of a previous backup. instructions can be found here:

  144. and there lies the problem only had the phone two months never done a backup before so no previous backup to use.

    Lesson learnt, thanks anyway !!

  145. Good Afternoon,
    I am new to all this and went to download some songs for my son (for an ipod touch) unfortunately whilst logged in to itunes, I synced my wifes phone. It became a mimic of mine loseing all her vcontacts and 300 photos, the safest place for me now is the Firehouse!! Can they be retrieved, not sure if she had done an orginal back up, help me please

  146. follow the steps listed at the link below for ‘Restoring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch’:

    if there was a backup, it should be listed.

  147. mbentley – great advice! Unfortunately, I am still having issues:

    * I have a 3G
    * Installed itunes on my PC
    * Plugged in iPhone and upgraded to latest software (am I correct in assuming that itunes automatically did a sync before upgrading?)
    * after upgrading, itunes prompted me to confirm info on the phone. I changed the name of the owner and now cannot seem to find the backup/sync or whatever file I need to recover her lost photos from.
    * I’ve tried the steps above but nothing seems to work. I cannot find a backup/sync file with the date/time from when I upgraded the software, only ones created while following steps in this thread. Any comments would be appreciated.


  148. Took me a while but I figured it out. Details here if you are interested: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2698089&tstart=0

  149. hi mbentley…great jobs & you are a real guru with a miraculous knowledge

    But my problem with Ip4 is slight different, just to get your opinion..either I still can retrieve my lost photos or it’s gone forever . I have lost all my photos in my IP4 when I unintentionally deleted all photos inside the IP4 folder in PC and did sync after that. For my surprise, after disconnected & then I realised that all my photos inside IP4 camera roll has gone….

    the biggest mistake was that I did a few syncs again after that & definitely if I do a back-up, it will restore with the recent empty camera roll folder again. I also noticed at the bottom graph of iTune that there is already no photos occupying the storage capacity…..is there any miracle means to recover my lost photos again?

  150. FYI, I’ve tried experimenting a few times with your suggested above methods & did reboots, but no joy…

  151. Is there any options to restore back-up from a chosen date & time or it just allowed restore from the most recent back-up only?

  152. @Asari when you go to restore your phone, there should be a drop down menu where you can choose between a few different backups. i am not sure how many or which backups itunes decides to keep but i have a few options to choose from. if you need restoration instructions, there should be a link in one of my previous comments above.

  153. thank you mbentley, I’ll try to explore with that.
    wish you a happy & prosperous new year

  154. Thank you so much – I have spent 4 and a half days trying to retrieve my photos after an update/sync wiped all of them off !!

    So grateful to you for taking the time to post your knowledge on here for idiots like me !!!

  155. Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for sharing this!! I have been in tears as I thought I had lost all the photos of my 5 month old and photos from the last 2 years!!! Thanks again!!!!!!!!!

  156. My issue is different. I have photos in my library that are just grey questions marks that say “Misc” on them. I’ve done these steps over and over, but they always come back as question marks. Have I just lost these? Thank you so much for answering everyone’s questions. :D

  157. Hello!
    I’m new to this and I found your guide very useful!!!! Thanks a lot!!!!! I finally saved all my pictures I have on my camera roll.
    Since I’m switching to a new iPhone 4, I would like to restore from a new backup.. I mean… i just want to restore only my camera roll pictures and videos on my new iphone. How can I do it?
    I may have only a problem: the picture naming…. I have about 1500 pictures, so it should not start again with “IMG_0001.JPG” (pls keep in mind that I don’t want to jailbreak my iphone)!
    Thanks a lot for your kind support!

  158. i do not know of a way to only keep the camera roll and videos. i am not sure if it can be done without jailbreaking. i searched a while ago when i first got my 3gs on launch day and didn’t really come up with anything then. not sure if that is still the same now…

  159. I have a similar problem and perhaps you can help. I was in the process of transferring my i-phone 4 photos to my computer (I had checked “remove photos from devise”)when there was a software problem and the photos were not transferred to the computer but were removed from the devise. I have tried several “photo recovery” programs but they do not recognize the i-phone 4. Any idea how to get the photos (which I know are really still on the i-phone) onto the computer?
    Thanks for your help

  160. @eshrode
    if the pictures are not visible when you are viewing them in windows explorer on the phone when attached via usb, they aren’t there. i would imagine that the only way to recover them would be to restore from a previous backup that you made in itunes (assuming that you did). and in the future, i would suggest copying the pictures off and once you are 100% certain that they have been copied, you can then go back and delete them.

  161. hi mbentley

    have a slightly different case here.
    just went back fm my lil brother’s wedding couple days back and my son was playing with my iphone 4 (OS 4.2.1).

    he unintentionally deleted all the pictures in the camera roll.
    i’ve downloaded iphone explorer and found that the pics still there in folder DCIM/100APPLE.
    i’m in the middle of copying them to my PC now.

    only, i wonder if it’s still possible for me to recover them to my iPhone (or should i re-copy them again fm my PC?)

    in any case, a big THANK for you! :)


  162. @beq

    i am not aware of a way to put pictures back into the actual camera roll itself. i looked once but didn’t come up with anything related to re-adding a large number of files.

  163. it’s ok, mbentley.
    to have all those pictures/videos recovered (and free!) is more than what i could imagine.

    i was only wondering what would happen if i follow the same step as you wrote above:

    3.) backup and then delete the following files:
    /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite)
    /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)
    4.) reboot your iphone

    was hoping this would help them show up back in the camera roll. :D

    but hey, you’ve been very very helpful.
    BIG THANKS again!

  164. beq

    Did your pics copy back to your pc at least? Even if you can’t get them back on your phone can you view and save them on the computer? If we could do only that it would be fantastic.

    Also, mbentley, does this only work if you previously backed up your iphone? or do they show up in iphone explorer anyway?


  165. mbentley,

    ok, next question. I don’t know how or where to backup before deleting those files. Is it in iphone explorer, on the phone or in itunes?

    I can see the “plist” and the 2 “sqlite” files now but am afraid to delete them before backing up first like mentioned in the directions.


  166. sorry for taking a while to respond. i believe you should be able to right click on the files and choose ‘copy’. just create a folder on your desktop and paste the files in there. once you have copied them to the temporary folder on your desktop, you can delete them off of your phone. if you aren’t able to back them up, it isn’t really a huge deal if you don’t since the iphone will automatically regenerate the files anyway (this is the whole point of the process, actually)

  167. ihave iphone 3gs…recently installed windows 7 from vista …recently iphone went to zoom mode and can’t fix it by squeezing..called apple , was told to plug into itunes to fix zoom…downloaded itunes….said new version 10..hit yes…don’t think i back up…but once plug in to computer ask to import pics…hit yes…have over 3000 pics and around 1150 pic , message came error and couldn’t find file…ask to skip and continue or skip all…first option was not working so i skip all…my phone is now in the restore mode( i think) plug into itune screen and won’t move…seems it not charging either…i’ve done everything with the homebutton and such…i am afraid to plug into itunes again to restore because all pic was on there temporarily since i had to change from vista…all baby pics and everything…very important pics that i can;t replace …please help me….

  168. hello…anyone here? can anyone help me please

  169. it sounds like windows not itunes wanted to import your photos. by default, windows sees your iphone as a camera and will prompt you to import the photos. the only reason why your photos would no longer be on your iphone is if you allowed it to import and then delete the pictures off of your phone. in the future, you should select ‘do nothing’ if you don’t want to import them with windows. if your iphone is in restore mode, it will have an image with a cord point to itunes and you won’t be able to operate your phone at all. if this is the case, then there really is not anything you can do. if your phone is still functional, then it is not in restore mode. i would then suggest plugging your phone into your computer, ignore the screen asking if you want to import your photos (should be a do nothing option) and then do a sync with itunes. when your phone is connected to your pc, you can also open up ‘computer’ (start > computer) and you should see your iphone listed as a device. see if you can navigate to it and look for your photos (should be pretty obvious as to where they are as there is really only one or maybe two folders on the device).

  170. yes i wanted to import the pics…swince i had just recently install windows 7 and itunes on the computer ..once i plug the iphone it ask to import, i press yes then pop up windows said that itunes had an update 10.0 or something like that….i never backed up since installing windows 7 …windows stop importing 1/3 of the way saying it couldn’t find the other pics or something so the only option was to skip…which i did….then it went straight to itunes i disconnected at that point because i was afraid ton loose all my pic….my iphone is not working for 1 week …i haven’t plug into itunes yet…as i was awaiting advice….it is in restore mode….i’ve tried the pressing home-button and such but nothing works….i will appreciate your advice …..thanks so much

  171. unfortunately with your phone in restore mode, you are at the mercy of what apple says as there isn’t a way to retrieve data off of a phone in restore mode.

  172. Okay thanks…..but after I restore it , is there anthing I can do to retreive the pics and contacts?

  173. if you do not have any backups to restore from then no, none of the data will be available or able to recovered as far as i know.

  174. I had a complete meltdown yesterday when I upgraded my iphone software and when it came back on…no pics!!! I did exactly as above [using the updated version of the instructions as iphone exporer had indeed been updated] and it worked. AMAZING!!!!! Thank you sooo much!! I actually cried thinking I had lost them [I'm an emotional girl! hehe].

  175. Did all this crap and my iphone just stopped working… It’s on booting screen now with the apple logo (forever)… Any ideas?

  176. have you tried to do a hard reset? i would suggest performing the steps on the site below in the order they list them. the last step (if you get that far) will restore the firmware & the latest backup you made on itunes:

  177. yeap, now I’m on the best part, restoring and updating

  178. hey,,please help me……….i dint made a backup………my files from camera roll are deleted…..and i want it back…….is there any way?..please help!!!!!!

  179. without any backups, there really isn’t anything that can be done.

  180. Thank you Thank you Thank you!! It worked, retrieved all my “lost” photos, I thought they’d all gone, I had been looking for answers for hours :)Thank you again

  181. Hi after doing all the steps and going to the photos app, ifound out that my camera roll section has been deleted and i can’t access the photos on the photo library. Help pls! Panic mode!!

  182. if you can’t see any photos on the phone when you connect it to your computer then the files are not there. this article only explains how to recover them when the indexing database is corrupt/showing as empty.

  183. I can’t thank you enough.This is my first post anywhere but I just had to write to say THANK YOU. I have been reading the comments on this site for the past 3 days but have been too scared to press any delete buttons ! Even went to Apple store but they were unable to help. In desperation, decided my only option was to follow your instructions to the letter. Thanks to others for posting their comments and giving me courage…all photos returned ! What a lovely genius you are !!!!

  184. Thank you very much for the info and step by step guide. You’re a life saver! :)

  185. I’ll try this and pray it will work in my case. I took vacation pictures on my new iphone 4 before I backed it up. I later backed up the old information not realizing the new photos and contacts would be overwritten. I lost all of my new information including lots of great pictures and videos. Please tell me all is not lost and this might work for me too!!

  186. if you took pictures on the phone and then later did a restore using an old backup, then the photos were wiped from the phone and this process will not work for you. sorry.

  187. Yes unfortunately that’s what I did. I’m really bummed. I lost some great photos and videos. Still wishing for a miracle. Can’t believe there isn’t a memory card or something that could have protected my new photos. Guess I learned the hard way. Thanks for your help and feedback!

  188. iPhone 4 (16GB & 32GB) currently unavailable until further notice.

    Real-time updates would appear over at iWorld.com.my when stock is in. pandora

  189. Hi, I am using iPhone 4 and have updated the latest iTunes and iPhone software yesterday then I tried to jb the phone. But unfortunately jb was unsuccessful and I need to restore the phone. After restore I found out I lost All data except songs and apps. I tried to restore it again but still same. Can I get back the old data or at least the photos? Pls help!!

  190. did you take a sync before you attempted to perform the jailbreak? if not, the latest sync listed in the restore menu will only be from the latest sync that you performed (if may list another backup or two, it seems to do it somewhat randomly from what i remember). if you didn’t perform a sync before the jailbreak, i can only suggest that in the future that you make sure to perform a sync of your phone before trying again.

  191. Hi, I think I sync before I jb coz in my song list I found the new song I just sync. After i sync and failed to jb I connected my phone to iTunes somehow it detected my phone as new device and my phone were totally empty. I manage to sync the backup from the drop down but it still empty. I downloaded the iPhone explorer, how do I perform the backup from the explorer and delete the file there? Pls forgive me I am dumb with these kind of things. Thanks a lot!!

  192. if you don’t see your applications on your phone, iphone explorer won’t restore your photos as they won’t be on the device. i would definitely try to perform a restore and choose a different backup from the list of available ones to see what you can get back.

  193. Hi again, I tried to restored another backup but when I click restore there’s no more drop down for me to choose. How do I restore other backup?

  194. you only have what is available in the drop down on itunes.

  195. In the edit button from iTunes, I found my devices in the preferences that shows I have few backup on different dates. Is that mean theres option for me to choose? I can’t see the most resent backup that I did right after I upgraded the software.

  196. I lost 250 + photos after update. followed your instructions and it worked like a charm. I could see my photos while exploring the dcim-100apple folder so I new they were still there. Thanks to your post I was able to get them re-indexed.


  197. i need help because i got the 4g ipod and i lost all my camera roll photos and i backed it up but i cant find the photos wanna help me out =D thanks

  198. Hi, thanks for the guidance. I manage to get back some of the data and pics from old backup from itunes since I don’t found the latest backup that I sync 2 days ago. Again thanks..

  199. Hi, something is strange, I took a badge of new pics. when I open the camera roll I see pics all are fine, but when I click particular pic few of it appeared the old pic that I lost that day. Is that mean that I can retrieve other pics too? Thanks.

  200. sorry, i am not exactly sure what you mean…

  201. I have an old sets of photos which I backed up before repair. After repair, I took some new photos and after I connect my Iphone to Itunes, all my new photos were gone. Instead, they were replaced by my old photos. The same things happened to my notes as well. It showed the old notes instead of the new one. It seems to have restored my Iphone back to when it was being repaired. Is there any way that I could get my new photos?

    I tried the method you mention. But I was only able to delete /Media/PhotoData/MISC/Info.plist.

    I could not find /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite and /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite.

    Could you help? Are my new photos lost forever?

  202. if you didn’t do a sync when you have the new photos on the phone before restoring your backup, then they are unfortunately lost.

  203. Can’t copy using iphone explorer to do the backup. I read your post of August 21, 2010 1:35pm about “just right click on the file and choose copy”. Sounds easy. But when I right click on the chosen iphone file (such as Info.plist), it just gives two options: “Add New Folder”, and “Delete Selected”. How do I get the copy function to appear? (I’ve used right click copy many times on other software, but can’t get it to show up here.)

  204. hmm they may have changed the software. try to drag and drop the files to your desktop.

  205. Great idea. When I click-hold-drag-move to new folder it works to make a copy in a pc backup folder. Now how do I delete the file? Assume that I right click and use “Delete Selected” ??

  206. yup, you’ve got it. that will delete the file.

  207. Thanks. It rebuilt the library and everything. But it didn’t restore the missing photos. My problem is a little different. Every few months the iphone just seems to delete a random number of photos, just at random times, not necessarily when I’ve done a software update or sync. Found one msg board that says this happens when you shut the camera app quick after taking a photo before it is done storing the photo. I did that quick turn-off this week and that corresponds to the time I lost the photos. I have most of my 1300 pics back up, just lost the last month or so. Any clue on the random deletes that seem to be occurring?

  208. Oooh wow! It worked! Thank you:)

  209. When I open the new photo that I just took recently, there’s particulary few photos appeared as the old one that I lost.

  210. My wifes iPhone SIM card failed and I thought I backed the phone up including the photos but it appears it didn’t back up correctly. The phone reset itself to factory settings after upgrading the software to 4.2.1, is there anyway I can recover the photos that appear to have been lost from this phone???

  211. unfortunately without a valid backup, i am not aware of a way to recover the photos and this method will certainly not work. there may be other potential ways to do it but apple doesn’t even offer a service like that so i am guessing it is either too complicated with poor results or doesn’t exist.

  212. i have 1,000 pictures from my iphone4. after backing them up in my pc and deleting them from my iphone, i tried to open up the pictures but apparently, only 93 photos are viewed. the rest (#94 to 1123) are just unreadable thumbnails. Under the properties tab, it says a picture is in JPEG format with 0 bytes. i tried to restore them in the itunes but still, only 93 pictures are viewed. do you have any idea what happen during the synching? is there any way for me to retrieve the photos. your help will be deeply appreciated. Mabuhay from the Philippines.

  213. Hi
    Thanks a lot and your advise has been very valuable. I just lost 4670 photos which I took of my mother during her first ever visit to the UK and the phone crashed today just when i was about to transfer them on to the lap top to send to KODAK for printing and save on digital picture frame. I have really laboured from 4pm downloading various softwares which were claiming to provide the solutions but to no avail including the expensive ones. Then suddenly I stumbled upon your contribution by accident and you have provided the magic and now at 04 am I am syncing my iphone to the computer because I have used your instructions and retrieved the phots which i didnt sync earlier on. I should apologise because I thought it was a set up for a virus but i had to do it because I was desperate BUT NOW YOU HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE MY SAVIOUR AND MY MUM WILL GO WITH ALL HER PHOTS. ONCE AGAIN THANKS, YOU DESERVE A NOBEL PRIZE FOR GREAT SERVICE TO THE IPHONERS.

  214. Pls bear with my complete ignorance of the computer.
    How do I back up and then delete after I launch iphone explorer?.
    Pls work me through this step by step as I have deleted my pics and videos in error and I feel so unhappy about this.

    Thank you

  215. you should be able to just drag the files to your desktop with your mouse. i don’t believe there is an actual ‘copy’ function by right clicking or via the edit menu but drag & drop should do just fine.

  216. Hi, So i had to restore my iphone and this mac laptop is my sister’s. So when i restored it, it was her pictures that was restored on my phone and i want to know how to restore my old pictures.
    I downloaded the iphone explorer and clicked on the back up and i don’t know how to delete the thing.
    My iphone explorer has only the iOS files.. Do i click on that to extract?!

  217. Okay… I just don’t get how to backup and delete. Can you help me find where and what to do?
    I already backed up and i don’t see anything to delete

  218. select the file, hit delete on your keyboard.

  219. Thank you so much. I had lost photo’s of my pet dog who died just a few months ago. It means more then I can say.

  220. My iPhone 4 had to be taken for repairs & replaced. I backed up the phone prior repairs, but could not get it back to normal after repairs, so used the phone for day or two on its factory settings.
    After spot of luck I managed to syncronise my phone back to its normal state, but then realised I have lost the photos I took over the weekend + all my applications.
    I am sure I can go & download the applications myself, but how do I retrieve the pictures? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

  221. @Satu
    under circumstances like yours, there is not a way that i know of to retrieve the pictures that you took when your phone was at ‘stock’ and then overwritten by your backup.

  222. Oh well, not to worry, worth a try.

  223. I have a few question.

    FIrst of all I have an iphone 4 and my problem is that i deleted some photos I want to get again. I never did an sync on itunes cause I wanted to deleted some but not all and by micclick i deleted the ones I didnt want neither a backup.
    Does the iphone needs to be jailbreak?
    When u delete those files does the iphone continues to be the same without that files?
    When u say reboot the iphone what do u mean?

    Thanks btw.

  224. if you never performed a backup via iTunes then there is not a way to recover the photos that I am aware of.

  225. i had over 1,700 pictures and 52 videos. i followed the steps but only received 1,177 and 38 videos. Is there any way to get back all my videos?? i already have all of the important pictures saved to my computer. i just really need my videos from a concert i went to recently!! Any solutions please!??

  226. @Kelsey
    what were the circumstances in which your photos and videos did not appear on your phone? did you perform a software update of your device and then they disappeared? have you tried connecting your device to your computer and then browsing through the windows explorer (start > my computer (or it will just say ‘computer’) and then you should see your device listed. see if the photos and videos are found there or not.

  227. Yippeee….read almost of the above comments and ur advice before trying to restore my photoes…and I am finally able to view precious pics from the last 3 years on my iPhone…Never been more thankful to an online blogger.Thanks so much!

  228. hello there! I got an iphone4 and dropped it in the potty. I was able to get a new one and have had it for a while now but never re connected it to itunes i had taken many pictres on my honeymoon and such on my new iphone and i just reconnected it to itunes and it backed it up from the first iphone i had and all of my pictures i took on the new iphone are gone now!!! I tried to do the instructions above but they didnt work when i turn my phone back on still no pictures! can you please help me? Thanks so much!! :)

  229. @amber
    unfortunately if you took pictures with your new iphone 4 before doing the initial restore from your itunes backup, the photos and all settings were overwritten with the information from the itunes backup. while it might be possible to restore the photos through alternative methods, i am personally not aware of a way to do so. the people at the apple store won’t be able to help you there either as they don’t offer any data recovery service for iphones.

  230. can you help me i was trying to put some photos from my iphone on a flash card and they disappeared, also lost contact list which i found on desktop but no photos, , when the iphone sync it restored all my apps but not photos

  231. so you were copying the photos from your iphone to a flash card but they ended up disappearing from your iphone all together? had you recently done a sync with itunes where the photos ought to have been backed up to your computer? if so, were you able to use the method described in the post at all? also, the photos are now no longer visible in the camera roll on the phone itself as well as when you browse to your iphone through your computer while it is connected, is that right?

  232. on step 3. I should back up file and delete. When I open iPhone explorer doesn’t give me an option to back up file.
    Can you tell me how to do it? Thanks.

  233. hi is there a way to retrieve lost photos from camera roll, contacts and notes on apps on iphone without backup ? sadly, when i was trying to sync my iphone 4 with my hp laptop this morning, itunes asked me to upgrade and download latest version and i hit yes button to do so , not realizing that i should’ve synced first ..somehow my itunes files has gone to recycling bin and i had to restore them all again so all the time my iphone is still connected to my hp laptop , its blacked out and the prompt command was to connect it to itunes and dumbo me i hit restore in confusion and not syncing it first and it restored only from the last back up last yr dec and the rest of it til present are all gone ..can u possibly help me ? thanks

  234. Hey i backed up and updated to 4.3.3 and then put it in recovery mode. Now all my pics from POrtugal are gone. Please HELP!!!!

  235. Hey i backed up and updated to 4.3.3 and then put it in recovery mode. Now all my pics from POrtugal are gone. Please HELP!!!!
    WOw I tunes is horrible!

  236. Chris and Chris micheals are the same person. Sorry i didnt think it posted

  237. How do i back it up. It didnt restore anyhting

  238. I returned from vacation to find my computer unable to open so had to reformat and reinstall windows. I was in iPhone explorer trying to move pictures from my camera roll to designated folders i created. I moved the first group of pictures to the new folder i would sync to my phone with iTunes later and then while they were still selected i right-clicked and hit delete and it asked if i wanted to delete the first image in the list and i said yes then asked if i wanted to delete “/” and i said yes then the screen refreshed in iPhone Explorer and there was nothing there nor were there any pictures on my phone, camera roll or other photo albums. How do i get “/” back or whatever so i can retrieve my camera roll photos from my vacation?

  239. Hi, I accidently unplugged my Iphone 4 during a sync and it deleted all of the photos and the apps off the phone. I can find the apps on itunes but I can’t find the photos how do I get these back.

  240. i tried and tried after heartfelt excitement on the possibility of retrieving my pictures…unfortunately, this is not working for me….so sad, lost all of my kids pics at disney world…i’m ditching the iphone as a result…all of the periodic automatic updates are too problematic!!!

  241. Hi… help please!

    I went to download the latest iphone updates but it said there was a problem with my iphone (even though, to me, there wasn’t any) and the only option was to restore factory settings. It said all my files would be retrieved after so, like an idiot, i clicked ok. However, during the backup to restore my iphone back to my settings, the laptop ran out of space. Sorted that but the iphone has now only sycned my apps and contacts. Tried syincing again and again but Ive lost my messages and camera roll :( Is there any way to get the camera roll back?
    Really appreciate any help :) x

  242. Hello
    Got an interesting variation on this theme.
    My son deleted a picture from my iphone which i was using as the wallpaper.
    The photo remained the wallpaper, although it disappeared from the camera roll.
    He later changed the wallpaper [he really didnt like it].
    Do you have any idea how I can retrieve the photo? Assume it had to be stored somewhere…

  243. I have a similar problem to the initial issue. when I updated my iphone 4 to OS 4.3.5, it backed everything up normally n as it was being restored onto the phone, my laptop crashed. Now when i sync, all my data is lost and I cant access an earlier back up as it synced the phone which had nothing on it. All I’m really interested in are my photos & videos, and when I sync, itunes shows about 1.65GB pics but when it finishes syncing goes back down to 0.45GB pics, which are the ones I manually uploaded.

    Any suggestions!?!? I also tried iphone explorer solution but did not work!


  244. Help please.
    The photos on my iPhone4 got duplicated and I haphazardly deleted the duplicates without backing them up. After doing so, I still can see the images on the camera roll (thumbnail) but when I click them they are just black.
    I tried to sync it onto my iPhoto and it said the exact number of images that were on the iphone but could not download them. I also used image capture to try to download them and I could see the files and their sizes but they wouldn’t get downloaded.
    What to do?

  245. Hello,

    I accidentally deleted all my contacts and while searching the web , ive realized that i have to make a “Restore from backup” from itunes in case i want to get my contacts back . I did so and now ALL my photos, videos , messages , settings are gone. Im completely devastated as ive had some very important pics over there and without backing them up.
    Is there any single way i can get my files back?

    Thank you.

  246. Followed your instructions , and got all my pictures back!!
    They were priceless! Thanks much!

  247. Hi,
    I tried to do this but when i tried to delete the 3 items, it said I couldnt. Is this normal? The pics are vieweble in the DCIM folder. Also, do i do a soft or hard reboot? Thanks

  248. great guide got all my holiday cruise pictures back thanks for the great guide

  249. Hi.i had same problem with a photos after restore. On iTunes i can see 6gb used as an “other” it seems to be a photo, because i found it on DCIM folder using i explorer. Did everything you said (deleted three files) but no photos after rebooting iPhone. Maybe i can import that photo or smth, because i’he made a copy via iExplorer ?
    Thank you for your help!

  250. I cannot delete the files. All it says iexplorer cannot delete that file or directory. Please help

  251. I found my lost pictures but accidentally deleted the file called DCIM/100APPLE. Is there any way to get it back?

  252. i shot some pictures and videos last night with my iphone and today i restored my phone from previous backup to get some data back,after restoring i lost my pictures of last night,
    is it possible to recover them?


  253. Is anyone updating this site as no ones getting a reply on here!! Please help us – we need answers.

  254. I’m having issues I was trying to update my friends iphone 4 from 4.0.1 he has never plugged it into itunes to sync ever so I wasn’t thinking today when I plugged it in about his pictures I was thinking it would back it up first so I clicked restore and now it has lost the pictures and replaced them with some different random ones I can’t recover the old ones with your method?

    I need help please!!!! Thanks in advance!

  255. Just updated to IOS5, lost everything. Downloaded iExplorer. Cant find those files, are they under different names? Also, I dont know how to back them up, where is that option?

  256. This works for upgrades from IOS 4 to IOS 5!!

  257. You are amazing!! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  258. I don’t understand “backup” how do you do that? The camera roll is gone, but it backed up today in preparation for ios 5. The camera roll is not on there and apps are gone.

    Do you really delete something to get the camera roll back on there? I’ve downloaded the iexplorer for PC.

  259. Boom! I was panicking because I lost my photos when I upgraded to iOS 5. Thankfully I found this site. Your suggestions worked! Thanks so much.

  260. I used this to get my photos back and it worked.

    However, after rebooting my push notifications refuse to work. I get a pop up saying I need to connect to itunes for them to work. Any idea how to fix this?


  261. hi tried your method and deleted what has to be deleted BUT after rebooting my iphone, everything went worse. all my pics were gone :( can you suggest a way in retrieving them back? :(

  262. You saved my marriage…thanks.

  263. I lost all my pics in my 3GS iphone during an update to iOS 5.
    I tried following ur method, but
    I don’t see this file.
    Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sql

    Please help

  264. I am having the same problem as JG, I can’t find that last file, PhotoAux! Please help!

  265. Okay I updated my 3gs to ios5 two days ago…in the process I lost about 400 pictures and only 100 were restored after the process was done. I was devastated. So I downloaded the iExplorer and copied the 3 files to my desktop (this was how I backed them up). Then I deleted the files from my phone. I rebooted the phone and ALL of the pictures on my phone were completely gone now. So I opened iExplore back up and put those files back where they were to begin with. I rebooted my phone a second time, and when I opened my camera roll ALL 500 pictures that I originally had were back. It worked!!!!

    Thank you SO MUCH for your help and I hope this helps the people who posted recently.

  266. Thanks, i’d lost my photos after the upgrade to iOS 5 and this iExplore and your instructions worked like a charm.

  267. same here.. after upgrading to ios5 I could not find my pictures.. instructions provided here worked for me! Thanks a ton :-)

  268. Also worked for me after iOS 5 upgrade….Thankyou

  269. i dont have the aux one

  270. help now im going to explode

  271. IT WORKS!!! On an iPod Touch after iOS 5 upgrade.
    I couldn’t figure out how to backup the files in iExplorer, so what I did was drag and drop them into a Windows Explorer folder. Then, after I rebooted, I immediately went into the camera roll…and…it said no photos and no videos. BUT as I sat there in misery, all of a sudden about 10 pictures showed up, then 10 more, until they all were restored. So if you don’t see them right away, give it a few minutes for the device to reload them. Thank You mbentley!!!

  272. Just spent all evening freaking out because all the photos were gone from my hubbies iphone 4…after the upgrade to ios5 and the lack of backing up of anything!! Worked like a charm….better than that…incredible!!!

    thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

    Apple never seems to make anything simple!!!

  273. It worked great…. Good job…txs

  274. does anyone know how to back up the files???

  275. Just used this method to recover photos from a 3gs to my new 4s, and it worked. Backed up my 3gs and wiped it in anticipation of selling it and getting the 4s. Lost all pictures. Took my 4s (with iOs 5) and put the 3gs backup on it. Did this method and it worked and backed up my pictures. Then re formatted my 4s back to the way it was, this time with my pictures!

    Thanks so much, your a life saver. The first set of instructions worked for me perfectly word for word.

  276. After HOURS of trying to find my mom’s photos that disappeared after I updated her iPhone to iOS5 (these were the only things that were lost in the update– and the most important),
    You are a GOD SEND… thank-you SO much.

  277. THANK YOU SO MUCH! After I did the upgrade, I lost all of my photos and thought there was no hope of getting them back. I tried several suggestions on other forums until I found this one. A few minutes after the reboot, all of my irreplaceable photos came back :)

  278. Awesome!! My wife was worried the photos of our baby were gone for good after upgrading to iOS5! After some diggering and find this easy guide they’re all back! Thanks!

    One tip – in iExplorer, go to Preferences and tick ‘Show hidden files and folders”.

  279. hi there, i just downloaded iexplorer, n i cant find the button backup?
    or is there other way of backup?
    pls help, i know i sound a bit dumb

  280. Hi! can i know what you mean by reboot? where can i reboot it? where should i go? im confused! please help! appreciate it sooo much!

  281. Cant find the Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sql please help i have really important pictures that i really need back please help

  282. Hey guys I just went into itunes, right clicked the iphone and pressed ‘restore from backup’ the one that was made before i got the update. it then did its thing and i went through all the update screens on my iphone and its all there!!

  283. you are a godsend, seriously. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  284. OMG Thank you sooooo much! I was about to kill my husband until this worked… lucky or else it would of made an awful mess :) Thanks so much for sharing.
    I also could not find the 1st file but, deleting the 2nd and 3rd file worked fine. You’re AWESOME!!!

  285. it does not work for me. i dont know what have i not done right. =(

  286. hi there, i just downloaded iexplorer, n i cant find the button backup?
    or is there other way of backup?
    pls help, i know i sound a bit dumb

    ^^^^^^ this is exactly my question too. Please help!

  287. This just worked for me after upgrading my iphone 4 to ios5. A question, though, how can I be sure that in the future my phone won’t need those 2 files to run properly?

  288. Hi,I just updated my iPhone 4 to ios 5.before updating iTunes prompted me to ask if I wanted to backup all my data and I clicked yes back up.however,after updating my software,i realized that all my pictures had disappeared.and I tried using your method.however every time I delete the photo.sqlite,it keeps appearing again after I have rebooted my phone.so yea I still don’t have my photos yet.are there any other ways that I can get back my photos or did I follow the instructions wrong,which I highly doubt so.kindly help as I need my photos back ASAP!!!

  289. You just saved my life!!! Thank you soooooooooo much!

  290. Malwarebytes just quarantined a trojan (Backdoor . bifrose) off the iPhone Explorer site.

  291. i could kiss you right now!

  292. You are an absolute champion – you’ve just made my week!

  293. DUDE! I know people keep saying it over and over and over and over and over, but you are literally amazing.

    I did bump into an issue when I FIRST deleted the Photos.sqlite and PhotosAux.sqlite, when I clicked the photo icon it just showed me a black screen, I thought I was going to be the only fool on here who couldn’t get it to work and started to panic. (btw – in regards to the note about not being able to find Info.plist – Paul’s update is right – I couldn’t find it, but proceeded to move on…others should do the same)

    Luckily I tried it again and it worked like a CHARM. YOU ARE THE BEST.

    NOTE: To anyone unfamilar with iphone or iExplorer…when they say >Backup then delete above, I didn’t think that was the most intuitve thing in the world, so right click (or on Macs hit Ctrl+Click) then select Export, this will let you place a copy of the files you are about to delete onto your desktop or something (my guess is this is just for emergency situations – but you likely wont need them again).

    AGAIN – YOU, ARE THE CHAMPION – MY FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  294. As others have said, THANK YOU for helping me find my photos after I upgraded to 5.0 Your info worked. BUT! Now I’ve lost the ability to sync my phone with a folder on my PC that had photos in it. The folder on my phone that used to say PHOTO LIBRARY is gone. Only the one labeled CAMERA ROLL is there now. Any words of wisdom for this issue? Thanks.

  295. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I was so sad to have lost all my pics from a recent vacation, but now I have them back!!

  296. mBentley,

    I recently updated my iphone4 to ios5 and lost all of my pictures. Funny, everything else transferred perfectly, but the pics were nowhere to be found. I found this website, downloaded iExplorer, and saw that all my pics were on my phone, it just (like you said) wasn’t recognizing that they were there. SO, I took my little iphone and macbook on down to the apple store. I just wanted to be sure deleting those index files wouldn’t screw up my iphone down the road. I sat down with an apple dude and had him help me with the steps you described.

    It worked perfectly. We were both impressed.

    Thanks again for saving my vacay pictures :)

  297. Thank you so much for your help! I did what you recommended and got about 200 out of about 900 pictures back. This is better than nothing. Any idea on how to get all of them? Thanks again!

  298. @JoAnn
    If you didn’t have any pictures available before, unfortunately it is likely all that is on your device is the 200 that you were able to recover.

  299. Worked great.. using linux I only removed /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite restarted the phone and it reindexed and pictures came back. IOS 5

  300. hey there . i could only find two of the files i was told to delete which was :
    /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite)
    i couldnt find : /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)
    so my pictures still arent really stored back in my phone .
    please help

  301. @shahnaz
    I will have to check to see if Apple might have changed anything since I originally wrote this article and I will get back to you on that.

  302. Ive tried and tried this and i stil cant find the PhotosAux.sqlite file after updating to ios 5 is there any way to get my pictures back at all please?

  303. I updated to the ios 5 last night and there was an error. It prompted me to back up my files but still wasn’t working so I had to do a factory restore. All of my photos are now gone!

    I downloaded iexplorer and the DCIM folder is empty and so is the PhotoData folder. Please help!!!! What am I doing wrong?

  304. MBentley,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! After updating 2-Iphone4 to ios 5, photos were not appearing. Your tip worked perfectly and saved 2 phones worth of pix. Good job.


  305. Like everyone else who has had success I want to say thank you!! My wall paper stayed the same so I knew the photos had to be there somewhere just had no idea how to access them. Wondered if I’d ever be able to find the photos of my son during his first season of Pop Warner football after update to iOS 5. Thanks again!!!!!!

  306. @Amy
    This won’t work if you performed a factory restore. It will only work if you have restored from a previous backup and everything but the photos are working on your phone.

  307. @shahnaz
    I have updated the instructions. They should point you to the right files. Here is a screen shot of the PhotosAux.sqlite file that I have on my phone. If it doesn’t exist, it could be the Apple did away with that file at some point and mine is just left over from my an old iOS version.

  308. thank you sooooo much! i had some very important pictures (i was involved in a car accident and also has precious pictures of my daughters) and my husband decided to update my iphone to 5 os. I was so upset with him and he just went to sleep saying they were gone. I showed him this site an hour ago and he said no way, your phone will be buggered. Go figure, it took me 5 mins and i have them back!! thank you soooo much xx

  309. mbentley you are a bloody LEGEND!!!
    after absolutely no help from apple tech support your instructions were awesome and worked perfectly. god bless xx

  310. My husband upgraded my phone to iOS5 last night and now every picture and video is gone. He updated itunes, then plugged the phone in and it was going through the backup process, which seemed to work out fine, but then when he was upgrading it, an error50 thing came up saying it can not restore the phone. The last available date it saved anything from is October 2010! So, everything since then is now lost. Is there any way you can help? I have basically lost every video of my son and daughter since my son was born. Thank you in advance!

  311. thank you very much i was worried that i have lost my pics u r the best

  312. You have my eternal gratitude!!

    After a weird error message at the end of my backup-restoration, I thought I have lost my photos forever… Thanks to you, this is not so.

    Apart from the ‘lost’ photos, some apps(mostly games) were missing, too. After re-downloading and running them, all the pre-update game data (locally saved) in them was not lost, in fact I could literally continue where I left off.

    Now I fear that (after downloading the apps a second time) these are stored ‘double’ on my phone – the new ones that currently work, and the old ‘invisible’ ones, only taking up space.

    Could I be right about that? And theoretically speaking, provided this is really so, can I delete the invisible ones if I make out their app name and folder manually through iExplorer without any consequences?

    Thank you so much in advance for any ideas :-)


    I had assumed that the pictures on my wife’s iPhone were being backed up … they weren’t. It’s the last memories we have of a treasured family member.

    iPhone Explorer & the steps you posted were invaluable – thank you for sharing your know how.

  314. PS: iOS 5 /w iPhone 4

  315. Can you help with restoring contacts or SMS messages? I synced my phone before uploading the new ios5 but when I restored (or didn’t because there was an error message), my phone was wiped CLEAN.

    Thanks in advance

  316. Just completed the steps (couldn’t find

    436 out of approximately 2000 have restored (thank you! at least i have some :) but is there any way to get back the remaining pics?

    Also, just to reiterate my point above, do you have tools for how to get sms/contacts back?


  317. hi i lost half of my most recent photos and i completed the steps you said but now i have lost ALL of them?! :’(

    i’m so upset, i’ve gone from having them all, to having half, and now i have none.

    what do i do? i thought this was meant to work? :(

  318. i just synced my iphone to itunes and very luckily got the half back
    unfortunately the most recent ones still are missing
    any advice?

  319. @itzclairen
    When you plug your phone into your computer, are you able to browse to your device and see all 2000 pictures or do you only see about 436 of them? If you see all 2000, we should be able to fix that. If you only see the 436 of them, then that is all that exists on your phone and that is why only that many are showing up. Also, I am not really familiar with restoration of contacts or SMS messages as that is a completely separate problem and not just an indexing issue.

  320. @florence
    When you plug your phone into your computer, are you able to browse to your device and see all of your pictures? That is very important here because this only forces your device to re-create the index files, it doesn’t do any magic to bring pictures back that are no longer on your device, only re-create the camera roll index. Under what circumstances did you lose half of your photos (aka – what happened that caused the pictures to disappear)?

  321. @Courtney
    Hmm, that sounds very odd. If it created a backup, it should be showing up in iTunes so let’s check there. When in iTunes, go to Edit > Preferences. Go to the Devices tab and look in the Devices backup pane. Look at the dates that are available and see if the backup that your husband took is available or if the only backup that appears is from October 2010. If there is a more recent backup, plug the phone in and perform a restore. When it asks which backup to restore from, choose the most recent from the drop down list and then it should restore from that backup.

  322. I only see the 436…thank you for getting those back.

    Now I have another issue. My backups are overriding each other. when I look in my computer where the backups re saved, I do not see them in the folder; what could be the solution for this?

    Just came back from the Apple store and they were NO HELP. Pretty much said “sorry for your loss” and apparently millions of people have lost data after updating to ios5 and there is “no solution.” Thank you mbentley

  323. I am not sure how iTunes decides whether or not to override backups but it is doing that by design.

  324. Hi again,
    Thank you for your response. I have done that, and the last date there is a back-up from before the update is still October 2010. Does this mean there is no hope for finding my pictures and videos?! Thank you so much for your help!

  325. Thank you

  326. This did not work for me. IOS5 has eaten my pictures. They seem to be gone forever.

  327. @jonesy
    When you plug your phone into your computer, are you able to browse to your device and see all of your pictures? If not, this will not resolve your problem as it only applies if your camera roll picture index is invalid but the pictures are still on your device.

  328. @Courtney
    Unfortunately that is the case to the best of my knowledge.

  329. Hi mbentley,

    I’m really hoping you can help.

    I got back from NZ on Friday with loads of pics on my iphone4

    Synced on Saturday about 3pm but did not upgrade – I thought this would create a backup?

    About 5pm I decided to upgrades to Ios5 – then all my pics went!

    I have tried your method but to no avail. How do I find if the photo’s are still there? via Iexplorer?



  330. If there are photos on your device, yes you can find them with iPhone Explorer. Here is a screen shot I took where you can see the directory you are looking for:

    They will be in the /Media/DCIM/xyzApple directory (where xyz are numbers). If you don’t have any xyz directories then it is likely that your pictures aren’t on the device. In my screen shot, my pictures are in the 100APPLE and 101APPLE directories. If you don’t see your pictures here, they are no longer on your device and unfortunately I will not be able to help you with that as it is outside of the scope of this blog post.

  331. p.s I upgraded to itunes 10.5 before the upgrade. I think the backup to icloud was checked as a default so thats why I cannot see a backup from my sync before upgrade? sound right?

  332. I lost all my photos off my iphone with upgrading to the iOS 5 but I tried using the iexplorer like you indicated but was unable to finish the set up as it’s asking or .Net 4.0 full framework, i downloaded it and it still gave me a error message. Do you have any other suggestions, cause i have hit the wall on this one?


  333. Mbentley:

    Thank you so much for your info… after 12 hours, I was able to restore some of my pics. I had around 350 and only got back 64. Do you know what can be happening, or what can I do to get the rest?
    On my iExlporer it didn’t have the /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite) you talk about so I wasn’t able to delete it. what I do have is:

    Can you please help me to get my other pictures??? I really apreciate your help with so many people!


  334. i upgraded last night, and only have 1400 of my 4000+ pics. i tried this out, and it showed i had no pictures. i moved the files back, and it shows the 1400 but with the last pic i took yesterday as the thumbnail. when i open the roll, it crashes… ?

  335. Did you reboot your phone after removing those files when it was showing you having no pictures? As I mention in the other comments, did you check to see if all 4000 pictures were actually on your device? See this comment for instructions how to look for them.

  336. If you don’t have the PhotosAux.sqlite file, that is normal so don’t worry about that. Just remove the Photos.sqlite file and then reboot. If you still don’t have all of your pictures showing, check my instructions in this comment to see if the files actually exist on your phone.

  337. I’m not sure what the problem would be. I know it works fine on my Windows 7 desktop. All I have done is install all of the Windows updates and I don’t remember installing anything special to get it to work. You might have more luck talking with the author of iPhone Explorer as they probably experience problems like the more frequently that I have.

  338. That could be. I don’t have any experience with backups going to the iCloud and I don’t even really know what the restoration procedure is for when iCloud is used. I made the decision that I would rather manage my own backups instead of relying on the iCloud service for backups. Plus I make regular backups in iTunes myself.

  339. Hey
    IExplorer is great. I was able to find all my pics very quick and easy. But i do have a qustion though. When booted up Iexplorer and found the pictures, I then saved all the lost pics to a file on my computer. Then i put them back on my Iphone (where now they are viewable). My question is are all of those pics still hidden on my phone? Do i have a bunch of duplicates? Sorry i am not very tech savvy Thanks.

  340. Sorry, I am not quite understanding your question. Did you follow the process explained in the post? I am not sure how you copied them off and then put them back on so I can’t really comment as to whether or not you have duplicates.

  341. When i located the pics in Iexplorer, i selected all of the pics and draged them into a folder that i created. Should i have not have done this? thx

  342. That’s perfectly fine to do. I keep a backup of all of my pictures by copying them off of my phone and keeping them in a safe place myself. If your pictures aren’t showing up in the camera roll, then I would suggest following the instructions in the blog post.

  343. mbentley,

    With having Window XP – could that be the issue as to why i can’t get the iexplorer to finish the download?

  344. It ought to work just fine on Windows XP; I know that I used an older version when I had Windows XP and it worked without a problem. I would suggest contacting support@macroplant.com and make sure to provide the exact error verbatim so they can better help you with troubleshooting.

  345. I will give them a try, thanks mbentley.

  346. Thx again. It worked without a hitch.I deleted those files and then, Shazaam!!! So why the Hell would Apple release this garbage?

  347. helloo i just updated to iso 5 i didnt back anything up itunes did it for me after the update i had me contacts and pics but nothing else how do i get me stuff back? can u help

  348. Sorry, if you’re looking for help with anything but photos, I won’t be able to help.

  349. I just wanted to say thank you. This was quite easy to do and it worked!

  350. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v173/Bounkass/Overclock%20net/iExplorerFAIL.png

    Lol whut? :(

  351. Thank you so much! I installed IOS5 on my iPhone a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t see any of my old photos. After deletig these files per your instructions, I can now see all my photos again. I appreciate your help!

  352. Thank you, thank you, thank you! My iPhone 4 was doing this with iOS 5. The Genius had no clue what to do. I followed these directions, and got everything back. Hooray!

  353. I did the whole process, and partially succeeded. But here’s the thing, I wanted to restore my phone, but I got a (-1) error. So I tried a few days later, but I those few days, I went to a DTM race 400 miles away from here. I shot about 200+ pictures and quite a few video’s and sound clips… A few says later iTunes restored the phone like it should, but I lost all of those 200+ pictures, video’s and sound clips… Is there anything I can do? It didn’t backup when I plugged in the phone, and it restored straight away! :\

  354. You just saved my day/week/month/year/life!!!

  355. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a way to restore pictures when they are overwritten by a previous backup. There may be a way to do it, but I am not familiar with it.

  356. Ok, this is my last hope. I used to previously restore, and I can even see lots of folders in my pictures directory in the computer, under ipod photo cache, which looks like they could be my photos, but they are ITHM files, any ideas, how I can view them again?

  357. I restored my iphone because of restore/backup issues with iOS 5 install. Will I be able to recover some photos or video with this app? These were not backed up. Can they be recovered from the sim card directly? If so, How

  358. mbentley,

    Still unable to get iexplorer to work, have been working with the support@macroplant but have been unable to get it working yet. I had plugged into my work computer during the day before i came home and did the upgrade, do you think i would be able to recover the pics on my work computer if i took my iphone in?


  359. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a 3GS,upgraded to iOS5 last nite,noticed today that all my photos and vids were gone,after 45 mins of internet searching,found this site,and your instructions worked WITH EASE!!!!!!!!!!!! Bless you!

  360. Hi, I’m an iOS developer, recently I got some crushes as following:
    crash at PLUICameraViewController(root is PLUICameraViewController); reason:[name is:NSInvalidArgumentException, reason is:Cannot set metadata in read-only store., userInfo is:{
    NSAffectedStoresErrorKey = (
    ” (URL: file://localhost/var/mobile/Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite?readonly_shm=1)”
    As your last words says, I’m here to make you know that maybe it is happening again with the latest iOS5 :)

  361. Thanks for providing that little tidbit of information. That would certainly explain the problem :)

  362. You might be able to do that. iExplorer requires that you have installed iTunes to work but if you can install iTunes and then it should work.

  363. Worked like a charm! Recovered wifes iPhone due to a hardware swap… upgraded to IOS 5… restored from backup… no pictures???

    Followed your instructions to a T… all pictures are back in the camera roll…

    it appears that IOS 5 looked at my last picture number and set the last picture number in DCIM_APPLE.plist for me.

    thanks again!

    iPhone 4 with IOS 5

  364. you saved my life!!! I love you! xoxoxoxoxo!!! it totally worked!

  365. Thanks that also works for me!!

  366. THANK YOU!!!!

  367. Also, my friend lost all his videos he took the past few days ago. It didnt have to do anything with updating to ios5. Can he use the same methods I did to recover the videos???

  368. Sorry for bugging you, I didnt back up and just deleted the things you mentioned up above. Now, my phone is acting a bit weird. For example, I took a picture and I deleted it. Its not on the camera rol but I can still see it at the lower lefthand corner when I take another pic. Any advice? Thanks! Im just so happy I got the pics back!

  369. Updated iPhone 4 with new ios5 update and no apps returned.. My private pic app with all my pics is gone.. Will this help me get those back? Help!!!

  370. backed up my phone and did a restore. when the phone came back on about 30 pics and a few videos from a birthday party were missing. i followed your instructions and about 8 of the photos and one video are back but most are still missing. any suggestions??

  371. Hi, I’m really going to show my ignorance here, how do I do a backup? Is that the same as sync? if not how do I do the backup please? I am so not computer savvy but have lost a lot of photos when I upgraded to iOS5…I have an iPhone 3GS. Thanking you in advance for your time, help and patience…

  372. Check this out – backup instructions

  373. Look through some of my other comments above about verify that you actually have those pictures on your device. Should just be a few comments up.

  374. Sorry, I am not sure what you mean by private pic app.

  375. Did you reboot after deleting the files?

  376. Ok did as you said and didn’t get the photos back…guessing that I hadn’t backuped before…thanks for your help tho…and now I’ve lost the iCloud bit in the Albums…is it wise to use the iCloud backup or is it better to just backup on your computer?

  377. hi mbentley,
    i followed your instructions but couldnt find
    /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)
    so i left them out and done the rest, so i checked my ipod and it was restoring the photos but when i pressed on them they appeared potrait when there supposed to be landscape. do you know why this happened and how to fix it? really apprectiate it. just to let you know i heard the phootos were getting erased before i upgraded to ios 5 so i did a backup but that didn’t work but i put all my pics in a folder just in case, is there a way putting them back on?

  378. i tryed again but it wont work this is seriously killing me, i want my photos :(

  379. just to let you know i did it once and it stuffed up so i deleted some and then just restored from a recent backup, do i still have the photos on my device, because i tryed deleting the files you said to delete in iexplorer and then rebooting but nothing happened.

  380. I personally still keep my backups on my computer. At least then I have control over them and I can tell what backups I have available in the case of me needing to actually do a restore if something happens.

  381. i downloaded the new software(iOS 5) on my iphone 4 and i have some missing features how can i get them

  382. Thank you so much for your help.

  383. what do you mean by rebooting? some of the pics from that night came back but not all of them and when i touch some of the pics on my iphone it shows a different pic from that night that is not in the camera roll.

  384. i keep on deleting the files you said to delete but nothing happens when i reboot ive tryed like around 10 ten times but didnt succeed. only the first time it worked but the pics were stuffed up

  385. does this work on the iPod touch 4G??

  386. mbentley, i tried it again and it started working but only restored the photos i already took when the others got erased. are all my other 1000 pics not in iexplorer? if not do you know how to get them back on, cause i have the 1000 pics on my laptop

  387. This happened to me on the iPhone 4 updating to ios 5, the steps above worked perfectly. Thanks!

  388. Yes, it will work just the same as long as there are actually pictures on the device and your device’s index database is messed up.

  389. Like rebooting the phone (hold the power button and turn the phone off). Then turn it back on.

  390. It can only index the pictures that are on your device so if the pictures aren’t actually on your device, it won’t be able to restore them.

  391. Hi,

    I upgraded my iphone to the iso5 software and when it finished all of my contacts were gone. All of my recent calls and favorites were still there (well just the phone numbers not the names) but ALL contacts were gone..numbers and everything. Is there anyway to get these back? All of my pics and apps and everything were fine..it just deleted all my contacts.


  392. I have an XYZAPPLE(100APPLE) file showing so I was hoping my pictures were there. Next I drug aii of the sqlite files off of the iexplorer pane onto my desktop and then right clicked and deleted them from the right pane of the iexplorer software window.
    I have rebooted my phone A couple of times but so far only the 18 pics that didnt dissappear are there. Any Ideas?

  393. Help…I followed the steps above, but when my photos restored, it did not restore my custom photo folders that get synced from iPhoto. I thought ‘no big deal’, I’ll just re-sync them. But when I do this, those folders still don’t show up in my Photos on my iPhone 4. The sync from iTunes seems like it is working, but the photos are nowhere to be found on the phone. Any suggestions?

    The main reason I performed the steps above is because I was missing some (not all) of my contact photos after upgrading to iOS5.


  394. Tried instructions and did not work. I only saw one of the 4 files (/Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite). Still missing 800+ photos from iPhone 4 after having “upgraded” to IOS 5. What next?

  395. As I have asked others, are the pictures actually on your device? See my other comments on how to see if they are actually there.

  396. It sounds like what you are wanting to do is something different than what these steps are made to accomplish.

  397. Well, they WERE on the device. I hadn’t backed it up for a few months. I upgraded to IOS 5 and they disappeared. I’ve tried iExplorer and can’t seem to find any evidence of the pictures still being on the phone. I was hoping they were maybe there but “invisible” somehow as I have heard of other people having their pictures miraculously restored.

  398. thank you! this was great! i had updated to iOS5 and could not find the photos anywhere….photo icon would not even open. followed your simple instructions and everything is back to normal. can’t thank you enough…

  399. Hi – You just saved my marriage. I just upgraded 3 iPhones and of corse I lost the photos on my vifes phone, nothing happend on the two others. But they came back by deleting the files and rebooting the phone, and just like magic the images and videos were restored. I couldn’t get the latest iphone Explorer to start – I installed it on 3 different PC’s 2 Win7 and 1 XP – same error “Cannot Start iExplore” then I found an older version and that was better, the rest was easy. BIG thanks my vife was so sad, now she nows the value of backups.

  400. So this morning I plugged in my phone to complete the latest iphone update. It first told me I needed the updates itunes. I did this. Then it asked me if I wanted to download and update my phone, I said yes. It said “backing up”. When I came back it said the update had failed. When I looked down my phone was gray with japanese lettering on it. And the options were to restore from a back up over 2 weeks ago or register like I new phone. On my phone I had important videos and picture both personal and for work, important videos for the children with special needs I work with, to support their need for services. Please help!

  401. Update:

    I followed the protocol you mentioned. I still can not find my photos taken since my back up on the 13th, although I backed it up today. :( Are they gone??

  402. I had this problem on a new iPhone 4S. This fix worked for me.

  403. Thank you mbentley! You saved my day, and gave me back access to roughly 800 pics! iExplorer is a great tool, thanks for showing the way….

  404. Thank you so much , you are a life saver , lam appreciative of you share this knowledge with us all . All l can say is thank you so much .

  405. I think my problem is a little different. I synced my photos from my iphone 4 to my iphoto on Macbook before upgrading to the iphone 4S. Today, I went to order prints and most (but not all) of my photos from my iphone 4 are missing from iphoto. Is there anything I can do? Thanks for your time.

  406. I had this problem after upgrading my iPhone 4 to iOS 5.0. Followed the instructions, couldn’t find “/Media/DCIM/.MISC/Info.plist” but the other files were found, so deleted them, rebooted phone, started Photos App and nothing showed… I then terminated (in task manager) the Photos App and restarted it, and I think I just waited and restarted it again (not terminating, just closing down and opening up) and there ALL my pictures were! It didn’t say “rebuilding” or anything, it just needed some time and they all came back. Previous to following these steps I could see all my photos on my phone through iPhone Explorer under “Media\DCM\” then “100Apple” and “101Apple”.

  407. Thank you so much for the help!!! I have an iphone 4 and it worked. Just remember to be patient when re-opening camera roll and it will pay off!!!

    Thanks again.

  408. i’ve deleted a picture from my iphone (ios5), but i still can see it in the frame in the left bottom corner (the last picture taken), when i want to make a new picture. So it should still be on the iphone. I haven’t got a back up or a sync and no jailbreak.
    Can i get this back?

  409. I downloaded the newest version of IOS 5 and yes the same thing that everyone else experienced with the older version of IOS 5 happened to me, NO CAMERA ROLL!
    I followed your updated advice but only had to delete these files:
    /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite)
    /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)
    The pictures were restored perfectly to my iPhone 4!!!
    But more importantly……God Bless You!

  410. Help me,please please please! I’m afraid I don’t understand your guide as I’m not too technically savvy.

    I have a 3g which I updated for the first time ever (18months old) tonight, very naughty, I know. The itunes I used is technically a 2nd authorised computer as my original does not work anymore. I synced it (although I didn;t import the pictures off like anyother external drive), it all backed up, applied the update and now it has restored all photos have been wiped from my camera roll except 6, all from varying times of over a year ago to just a month ago. I haven’t imported my photos manually in months. I had 700 odd photos in my roll of the past 2yrs of my life. I now have 6. It would make a little but of sense if none had come back, but to only have 6 of them makes it even more heart wrenching.

    Now I know why I never did the sodding update!!

    Please say you can help me in simple terms, I am a Windows 7 user on a laptop.

  411. well i tried, but couldnt find the first link, nor the second, deleted the second one, and nothing. ;( i have done back up, that was around 8gb just before the update to ios, after the update all was on phone, went to jailbrake, all was on, but cydia was white, so rebooted, and then it went to recovery mode, i had to start it through itunes, and it was then when i realised the last back up with 6 month of my texts, pics and all has gone…

  412. oh and now all the pics and albums that were on phone have dissapeared too, yet when i connect to itunes to upload them again, itunes thinks they are on iphone already,arrrr,please help

  413. Thank you so much worked like a charm!!

  414. hi all , anyone can advise me on this matter:
    my phone on suddenly going freeze-trying to JB and on that time its suddenly black out. And when i would like to restore through iTunes( last sync was 5 month back), accidentally i had choose to upgrade from 4.33 to 4.35(it just release on that time. until now i still afraid to JB.. ).
    All my latest photos, contacts and notes gone. Could any body advice me how to get back the un-sync photos, contacts and notes?…is it possible?

  415. Hi, thank you so much, I have located my photos and saved to pc. My iPhone was in restore state, I’ve now tried to reboot from iTunes restore, but it’s now stuck on ‘waiting for changes to be applied’ in top box of iTunes. I have searched online also, seems a common problem, but no one has a solution, any ideas? Thank you again for showing me how to retrieve my lost photos xx

  416. I did recover all of my photos that I lost when I updated my iphone to the latest 5 update. iexplorer won’t run on my computer so I downloaded iphone folders http://iphonefolders.com/ and did what you suggested. It worked. Thank you!

  417. can deleted video be recovered from a iPhone 4G?

  418. Like many others here, after updating my iPhone 4 to iOS5 none of my pictures were retrievable. Followed the instructions here and all were restored without a problem. Thank you

  419. absolutely amazing !!! Thank you so much !!! I was able to retreive just over 100 pics/vids that I thought I lost with updating.
    I shared your site…well deserved !!!!

  420. I am still struggling to back up the files. How do I do that?

  421. Brilliant!
    I encountered problems after updating to ios 5.
    I was totally sceptical and didnt think this would work but it did.
    It was so simple and I now have all of my photos back.
    Thank you soooo much.

  422. I lost my photos and videos after updating to iOS5. I followed the instructions,however, the only file I had was Photos.sqlite, which I deleted, and then I rebooted. Nothing came back. What am I doing wrong?

  423. i have no idea how to back up?? please help me

  424. click the link that says ‘backup instructions’ in the blog post.

  425. i feel completely stupid for asking, but is rebooting your phone the same thing as powering it down and starting it back up again??

  426. ok so i figured out how to reboot it but now ALL of my pictures are gone. HELP!!!???

  427. Great – restored photos “lost” in IOS4 to IOS5 upgrade – thanks!

    What i really want to know is why is this happening on our wives’ phones (see other posts)? How does Apple know ?

  428. How about if you had photos under a different folder instead of camera roll? Would this process work?

  429. Is it just my phone stuck in reboot mode after updating on iTunes. I have now rescued my photos via the instructions in this origional post, but can not reboot from iTunes backup done at time of update. I either reboot as new phone phone or seemingly wait for apple to come up with a solution. While trying to reboot from previous backup on iTunes it gets stuck on the last action of sync. normally 8 of 8, please can someone advise if they have same problem, and any solutions. Please help x

  430. Totally works in iOS 5, thanks! I used PhoneView to explore the file system, it worked fine. 7 day full trial. Plenty to go delete 4 files. Cheers.

  431. I’m sorry, but I don’t know how or where you are supposed to do the “backup” you keep mentioning. I’m afraid to delete any filies before doing this step. Please advise as I am not savy in this area. Thank you.

  432. Ok. I figured it out. The back-up means copying the files to my desk top. One problem though, iExplorer won’t allow me to make copies of any of the files. I’m using a PC is that the reason? again, please advise.

  433. @aimee I wondered about this too. When in itunes, right click your iphone symbol and select backup. I couldn’t find all the files mentioned, but I deleted 3 out of the four that had the most similar path name. I rebooted (hold down the home button and the top right button at the same time) and got all my pics back on my phone. I happened to also find them in the iexplorer files – so I dragged and dropped into a desktop file just in case. They are now in my iphoto. Lesson learned. Thanks for your help! Your instructions worked!

  434. omg!!!! Your are a life saver! Upgraded my iphone4 to ios5 and almost cried when I realized my phone did a restore from only a month after having my phone. That was 6 months ago! I wasnt sure this would work, but it totally did!! I took so many amazing pics in St. Barth recently and was heartbroken to think all my memories were gone forever. Yay!!! Thanks for sharing and it was super easy :)

  435. Sorry, it only works for the camera roll.

  436. Do your photos actually exist? Look at these instructions:

  437. Do your photos actually exist? Look at these instructions:

  438. In the blog post, there is a link to a comment I made in regards to how to backup:

  439. I’m not sure. I didn’t have videos when this happened to me.

  440. Hi there,

    I just upgraded to iOS5, and had the exact problem described. I installed iExplorer, but don’t have the right files listed to delete. (For example, under DCIM, I only have a file called “100APPLE”.) Under Media/PhotoData/MISC, I only have “PreviewWellImage.tiff”. Help? I’m heartbroken.

  441. You are a genious!!! When I downloaded ios5, I lost all my photos. I just followed your instructions — deleting only the files starting with “photodata…” When I rebooted they weren’t there immediately, and I thought it didn’t work. However, in about 30 seconds, they all popped back!!!! Thank you so much.

  442. In iExplorer, make sure that you have ‘Show Hidden Files and Folders’ checked in Edit > Preferences. The important files you need to delete are the sqlite files in /Media/PhotoData/ anyway.

  443. You, my dear, are an absolute genius! :) Thank you very, very, very much! It worked!!!!!!

  444. Bummer, not working. I had sat down at the computer which was open to my son’s Windows account (and I didn’t think would be an issue). I signed him out of iTunes, and signed myself in, and went to to do the upgrade. It told me I needed to transfer stuff before doing the upgrade, which I did and took some time. I believed my photos (and all else) were stored somewhere at that point and that it was safe to upgrade and restore. All went fine except the photos. I am now signed in again under my son’s Windows, using iExplorer, trying this, but nothing. Any other ideas? Thank you for your help!

  445. Hello i found this thread, i really hope you guys can help me!

    Today i took some photos (important ones) , later on (like two hours after) my 3g was kind of buggy so i thought that maybe if i did a reset things would normalize, so i did that and i might add that it did solve the 3g stuff. But after i came home and tried to transfer these photos i realized (shockingly) that they had vanished! Only the last match of pix had disapeared.

    Do you guys think i have a shot at all? I really would appreciate the help…

  446. thank you!!

  447. I did as per instructed to delete those files.

    Camera roll came back and i did a backup for those files into computer.

    However, photos that i sync from computer through itunes to iphone has disappeared. I tried to remove, and re-sync, it doesnt show up in the list on the photos apps. Its only the camera roll left.


  448. Hey. I have lost all my photos on my iPhone 3G once before and managed to restore all of them thanks to your instructions.

    However, I have ordered the new 4S, so last Monday I backed up my 3G. All was well and my photos were still there, but on Wednesday my phone started playing up, died and then said I needed to plug it in to iTunes.

    I did this, and it said I need to restore my phone to factory settings, which I did. But when I then synced my iTunes back to my phone, all apps were there but I have lost ALL messages, ALL contacts and ALL photos (1,300+!!).

    I came straight back to your blog to follow your method again, but this time it hasn’t worked! And even my iTunes isn’t showing any space being taken up by photos!!

    Can you advise? Or are they gone forever?

    I’m so gutted :-(


  449. Add me to the list of eternally grateful people who found your site and were able to save their pics! Thank you so much for this!

  450. Hi all who have lost photos when upgrading to iOS5, I have found a very easy solution. Go to http://www.iphonebackupextractor.com/

    This is a freeware version which is still usable to extract all your photos, etc. This will also recover photos when they do not appear on your capacity bar in itunes. You need to select the oldest back up first. To extract photos use the expert mode and select the photos in DCIM file. Unfortunately the free version only lets you extract 2 at a time. Or you can pay them for solving your problem and extract them all at once.

    Good luck all, I hope Apple learns a valuable lesson from this f up.

  451. in my i-tunes capacity bar it says that I have 1,69 GB of photo’s on my i-phone after updated to iOS 5.

    but i can’t seem find em anywhere not trough iexplorer nor trough the backupextractor try’d all of the above…..

    mbentley? got any idea’s? thx in advance man

  452. Thank you so much !!!

  453. Thank you so much, this totally worked for me!! :)

  454. Was very frustrated after to OS 5 update because nothing transferred. Tried the directions above and now have all my photos back in camera roll. THANK YOU!!!

  455. bug is definitely still there with Ios5 update.. at least on the IP4, going from ios4 to 5, lost everything on the users device, only 150 pictures or so, trying to use iexplorer now but its giving me issues. However, i think all this stuff is deleted anyways, so im not going to waste too much time, and its a business device anyways, not personal so the user shoulda known! but, yes to answer your most recent edit, this nonsense with deleting pictures and backups and everything still exists… its apple afterall ;)

  456. Thank you so much for the fix. I had done my wife the favor of up dating her iPhone 4 and had lost her 1132 camera roll pics! After this fix they were all restored. She is speaking to me again!

    I did have a question though.

    What happens to the phone functions without the deleted files? Should I restore them to the phone from my desk top? I just still feel a little funny about deleting files from the phone. Should I?

  457. You delete the files and then the camera roll notices they are missing so they are re-generated.

  458. thankyou thankyou thankyou so much thought i had lost my boyfriends photos forever but with your help ive managed to recover than i can not tell you how gratefull i am! let this be a lesson to everyone to back up in future :-)

  459. i did what your told me to do, NOTHING WORKED. now my photos app does not work at all and whenever i take a photo it can not be seen. :(

  460. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    We just updated my wife’s iPhone from iOS4 to iOS5 and her entire camera roll disappeared after not having a chance to back up her pics.
    I downloaded to now “iExplorer” and was able to see the pics in the DCIM folder to confirm they were still on the phone:

    Suffice to say the removal of the files
    /Media/PhotoData/Photos.sqlite (or /PhotoData/Photos.sqlite)
    /Media/PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite (or /PhotoData/PhotosAux.sqlite)
    and then a power down and restart of the phone

    worked brilliantly.

    There will be no tears today.

    Many thanks.

  461. Hi there, i dont seems to understand well. could you explain it to me again?

    i have got a new iphone 4 and took pictures earlier. and i just pluck in to think that i wanna restore the back up but i forgot to backup the photos. so once the back up was done, the photos i took today are all gone! Its me and my boyfriend anniversary photos and it is so dear to me!

    I tried to delete the file, but reboot meaning reset factory setting? or just shut down and on again? i reset the factory setting but the photos are still the old ones. i really need the new photos back!

    could you help me urgently? pretty pls!

  462. I am not exactly clear on what steps you have taken at all. Could you please explain further what your situation is?

  463. Okay, let me list down the steps i did/
    1) took photos using iphone4 without sim card
    2) pluck into itunes and totally forgt to retrieve and save those photos and backed up with the previous data
    3) found out the new photos i took all gone
    4) did the steps u taught but i still could not get the photos back.
    5) i dont know what i press till it went back to activation of the phone again
    6) pls tell me there is still a 10% chance to retrieve those photos?

  464. okay! so i was so worried that i had lost everything…i have an iphone 4s and updated my software to ios5. DONT PANIC! its actually way easier than what everyone on here wrote. all you have to do is:

    1. download iphone explorer
    2. go to the folder DCIM and open it
    3. in that folder will be a folder named 100APPLE (all your old pictures are there)
    4. drag that folder onto the desktop
    5. go to your itunes, click on the iphone on the sidebar and go to the photos tab
    6. click on sync photos, then choose the folder from your desktop
    7. sync and then its done!

  465. While that works, it doesn’t actually fix the problem. Also, the photos will no longer be in the camera roll but they will be in a separate album so really, that is just a workaround.

  466. Once you did a restore of your previous data without taking any sort of backup, the pictures you took were erased. While there may be other utilities that could possibly restore your pictures, I am not personally aware of any that will do that.

  467. Same problem but slightly different situation as I came across this too late to get my most recent photos. Just did the upgrade to 5.0 yesterday and lost nearly 1000 photos. The backup/restore is saved in itunes but states “itunes could not restore the iphone because the iphone refused the request”. I have tried about 20 times and it will not restore at all. I then loaded my last restore point back in March which only has about 300 photos on it before I came across this fix. Nothing showed at first but then iexplorer helped verify the photos etc were there and then this fix etc etc to get them back. I downloaded the “iphone backup extractor” and I found the most recent backup file containing the 1000 photos that will not load. It allowed me to download samples so I know all the photos and film are on my computer saved. Only problem is that I can not access it. I also created a brand new backup which successfully completed but the phone will not accept that restore point either. Its as if my phone will not accept any restore point at the time of upgrade or since the upgrade. Any advice? Is there any way to copy and paste (photos/film/contacts) into the phone using iexplorer or is it best to buy the extractor program? Sorry if slightly different question but thought I would ask. Really need these photos of my 2 young children since birth.

  468. Confirmed and copied my deleted photos through iExplorer. But my Camera Roll does not open into the Camera Roll, and new pictures I take do not show up.

    Also, tried to follow instructions above using iExplorer, but do not have the file:

    Found the other files you listed, but am afraid to delete them without having the above one also. Is the idea that these files are regenerated on a reboot?

  469. Quick update for what happened to me:

    Quickly: iPhone 4, updated to iOS 5, then 5.0.1. Had issue with the phone and got a new one from the apple store, then restored from backup. No photos in the camera roll, but they were on the phone.

    I did as noted above (I didn’t have the /Media/DCIM/.MISC/Info.plist file) and the photos did not restore. I got a little frustrated and deleted all of the /Media/PhotoData .sqlite files (4 total). Still no photos in the camera roll.

    Then, I tried taking a new photo to see if it would go into the camera roll. When I clicked on the camera roll shortcut in the camera app, it started to restore all the older photos! In fact, now I have them all back as well as all the folders that I created on the phone.

    One last bit- Strangely the pic that I took which initiated this restoring process was moved to photo 21 of 639. No idea why.


  470. i did what your told me to do, NOTHING WORKED.

  471. Did you read the ‘Before you start’ section and verify that the pictures are actually on your phone? If not, then you should really read that.

  472. Thanks for the tip. iOS5 update deleted all my wife’s photos. And some exam prep photos too :) This helped a lot.

  473. Hi, don’t know if you can help, I have just got around to updating my iphone 3G with IOS 4.2.1, was previously 3.1.3, I hadn’t updated for about a year or more. It took 2 attempts to back up as it was backing up to new laptop that we have transfered itunes library onto. It took about 4 hours to backup, then about half an hour to update, it restored from itunes automatically, but I now have no apps and only 6 photos (previously approx 500) in the camera roll, along the bar in iphone summary it is showing 0.50 GB of photos. I have downloaded iexplorer, but it comes up with message saying unable to open and to make sure itunes and quicktime are installed and been run at least once, I assume they have been as using itunes. There is a new itunes 10. something available. Unsure now whether to try a restore, update itunes or what else to do first – really don’t want to do more damage! I can live without the apps, but am gutted about the photos as they span the last 2 years or more.
    Any advise would be fantastic.
    Thanks Sarah

  474. I hope you can help but it seems like I’m a lost cause. I downloaded iOS5 but I don’t recall backing up my phone and the system did not backup automatically. Now, I have lost pictures and contacts. Am I a cause?

  475. Your trackbacks help tremendously. Please disregard message

  476. I upgraded to iOS 5 last night and I lost all camera roll pictures. I called Apple support and they couldnt help. I downloaded iExplorer and all my photos were right there in DCIM/100APPLE were all my pictures :D Honeymoon album rescued!! Thankyou so much!

  477. I would make sure to download the latest version of iTunes from Apple’s website. It sounds like either iTunes and/or Quicktime are not installed correctly. Upgrading to the latest iTunes shouldn’t cause any issues but can only help in your case as it sounds like you have pictures on your iPhone. You might just also try this to make sure that you are able to copy your photos from your iPhone:

    If you have further questions, I will see what I can do to help you.

  478. THANK YOU!!!! I updated itunes, followed the steps above and now have all 834 photos back on my iphone and a copy on the laptop just incase. Words can’t explain how grateful I am. Off to share your amazingness with facebook now!
    Thanks again.

  479. You are a lifesaver. I just tried this after updating my phone to the new IOS and I lost all pics. I restored all of them it was like magic right before my eyes!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  480. Thank you so much. I didn’t have any really important pictures as I had only had the phone for a couple weeks but it was discouraging losing the first pics my kids had taken. I am completely unsavy and was able to follow your instructions without any problems. Thank you again.

  481. Just upgraded from 4 to 4S and lost photo’s. Followed the instructions and didn’t seem to work. I’m going to try a restore again. I show 2.1 gig of photo and video on my iTunes at the bottom. Says I have 1.71 gig free. Under settings on the phone, says I have 3.9 available. Some disconnect between itunes and the 4S. Will try again and let you know.

  482. Nevermind… The ATT guy that activated the phone set it for new device setup, and not restore from backup. I’m good now.

    Thanks anyway

  483. thanks a lot, I’m using ios 5.0 without any troubles before, but today after few new photos all my old photos and images are mixed – your solution help me

  484. everything went smoothly. i installed itunes 9.2, downloaded the new firmware, asked my phone to do a restore using the new firmware and then had it restore my latest backup of info. everything seemed perfect after syncing with itunes but then i went into my camera roll and noticed i had no pictures! in itunes.

  485. Hi. My iphone 4 recently rebuild photo library on its own and after that i lost 1000+ pictures and am only left with 52 pictures. i was really desperate and came across your blog post. i tried to follow the instructions but i am stuck at point number 2.. may i ask what is iphone explorer? is it an app that i must download on my macbook? please help me… really sad that i lost all my pictures. thank you.

  486. I upgraded my iPhone 4 to iOS5 last night. I noticed that my Camera Roll was gone! I found this post and followed the instructions (downloaded iExplorer, backed up and deleted files, and rebooted my iPhone). It worked! I am happy to have my pictures back.

    Thank you!!!!!

  487. Hey, i downloaded the iExplorer(which is formerly known as iphone Explorer) and i got all my pictures back. I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you because i even called the iphone support and they told me it was a software crash and im unable to retrieve the photos… But u made it happen! Thank u soooo much. God bless you always :)

  488. Here is a challenge for someone. I did the upgrade to ios5 sometime ago and when done all the pictures on my camera roll where there but I had a an app called photo-sort where I stored and organized some photos into folders. Can I get these pictures back? I think they are someplace but not sure where. Thanks

  489. Thanks! Worked great. Got pictures back and camera functioning again.

  490. I upgraded from a jailbroken OS4 to the new OS5 and lost the 3 years of pictures I managed to collect. Your steps worked perfectly, I can’t thank you enough!

  491. Prior to restoring my iphone 3 tonight, I synced it. I am not very good with computers and I thought this action would ensure my photos would remain accessible, however I have lost two months worth of photos, mbentley was syncing the wrong option?

  492. Doing a sync should have backed up all of your photos. Did they disappear after syncing or after some sort of update?

  493. genius!!! thanks a lot, at last something that actually works.

  494. Hello,

    First off thanks for posting this guide as it seems to have helped a ton of people.

    Yesterday I upgraded and jailbroke all three iphones in my household. 2/3 of those worked perfectly but of course the one that didn’t was my wife’s. Over the last two days I’ve read every comment posted on your site here and have not figured things out yet.

    I’m positive I did several backups of each device. Ive used iExplorer and gone to the DCIM folder on the problem device and it empty… done… caput. Interestingly enough I’ve also done this with the device that worked and the folder only contains 6 pictures even though there are hundreds that I can view on my phone.

    Is this a common error that you know of and have you discovered anything to help out with this?

    ps Ive gone through all the steps and did not get any result. The app folders and contacts that were on the phone are also gone if that means anything to you.

    Thanks again and any advice you have is much appreciated

  495. That is definitely strange. It sounds like the pictures are most definitely not on the device and it isn’t just an picture index problem. Have you tried performing a restore of that phone to a previous backup if one is available?

  496. Your process worked great except for one thing. I found my pictures using iExplorer, deleted the files you suggested, rebooted. After that all my pictures were in my camera roll in my photos app, but only 8 (or 360) were visible via the photo stream in my camera app. I took one new picture which was added to the photo stream and camera roll, but started in a new album (seen through the photos app) called “photo stream” with only that one picture in it. After that, the Camera app top left says “progress-ota-restore”. I’m wondering if I interrupted the refresh by taking a new picture?

  497. After my last post, I decided to simply repeat the restore steps. All is well. I still have 2 albums in my photos app, one called camera roll (with all the old photos, plus the one new one) and the other called photo stream, which just has the new one. But I can see the full camera roll now via the camera app. So I can live with this.

  498. I am not sure how the Photo Stream works in relation to this problem so I don’t really have any advice for that part. I’m glad to hear that your pictures are showing back up in your Camera Roll.

  499. I just did this and it worked like a CHARM!! I upgraded my Verizon iphone 4 to ios 5 and all pics from camera roll were gone! Did what you said and VOILA! all pics on camera roll came back! Thank you so very much and Happy New Year! GENIUS!

  500. Oh, one more thing. Maybe you said previously, but how do I get photos back onto my mac? Should I go into iphoto and plug in phone and see if photos come up? I didn’t want to use icloud because I am afraid all my pics from computer will be on my phone? Is that right? Any help would be greatly appreciated. THANKS AGAIN.

  501. I recently upgraded my iPhone 4 to iOS5 and lost all the photos in my camera role. I stumbled upon this blog and tried to follow the instructions. At first, I looked at the graph in iTunes to see if the photos were still there and seemed like weren’t (photos .01GB). However, like somebody commented before, my background was a photo I had taken and it still appeared on the phone so I figured the photos were still in there somewhere. I downloaded iExplorer and found the photos under Media/DCIM/100APPLE. However, after following the instructions, they still don’t appear on my iPhone. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Now, when I take a photo, it doesn’t appear in the camera roll. I don’t understand the last instruction “reboot.”
    What exactly do you do to “reboot” the iPhone? Is it simply just unconnecting it from the computer or turning the phone on and off? I am thankful I found this site because now I know I didn’t lose my photos (which I originally thought they were all gone). I may have to go into an Apple store and see if they can help.

  502. Yes, rebooting = turning your phone off and then back on. Are you sure that you actually have pictures on your phone (as the instructions say to verify before you even try this method)? If you go to the Apple store, I can guarantee that you will just be wasting your time. Just read the comments from others about how unhelpful the Apple store employees are in this type of situation.

  503. I’m not completely sure (as I don’t have a Mac) but I would imagine that you should just be able to plug in your iPhone and copy them off. I actually think I may have linked someone to an Apple KB document with instructions on how to do this very thing in a comment above.

  504. hi.. I downloaded IExplorer but i can’t find any of my photos at all..I looked at the graph in iTunes to see if the photos were still there but there weren’t there at all..does it means that my pictures are gone???

  505. I downloaded iexplorer and was able to view the files in my iphone. Opened the DCIM file, then the next file was 100apple which shows all the lost photo files. However I can’t copy, move or highlite multiple files ?????

    Odd thing, in Internet Explorer when the iphone is opened as a hard drive, only 9 photos show up, same as when i open the photo folder direct from the iphone.

    So the photos are in the phone, I just can’t move them to copy. Could it be a bad install of the iexplorer?

  506. Thanks for the info. It worked once I located all those files which were in some slightly different places. Apparently I allowed an upgrade to the iTunes and iPhone software, and this installed it with auto sync turned on by default, so it immediately synced 36 photos out of existence in the photo folder on the phone (some of our late dog on the day he died,… which seems to be a common iPhone jinx judging by comments here!) The iExplore software is a lifesaver. I had a feeling the files were still around somewhere. But as a side note, iExplore wouldn’t allow either right click deletion or delete key deletion on our MacBook Air… I had to select “delete” from the “file” menu. And to the person who made the snarky comment about reading the user guide…. isn’t the whole point of Apple to purportedly make those manuals unnecessary? The “manuals” take you to online help files that are less than detailed and less than clear. It’s like buying a car with the hood locked. Hence the need for blogs like this one.

  507. Thanks a lot!!! All my pics are back and I’m very happy!! :)

  508. I have the same problem as Mark (12/31). Upgraded to ios5, found all the files, backed em up, copied all my photos over to my laptop, then restarted my phone.

    Once I went back in and went to photos, they did not show up, also new photos I take do not show up in the roll either. I notice that the following files are re-created:

    but the other 2 are not.

    I also tried deleted all the photos and vids from the phone and going back to the camera roll (thinking that I had too many and it was just taking too long to rebuild the sqlite index).

    now that I have saved all my pics to my laptop (thanks!!!) – i’d like to be able to take more :) any ideas?

  509. Hi,

    Today I have upgraded my phone from OS 4.3 to 5.03, after restarting I lost all my photos… can you any please help the complete process to get back all photos ?

    Thanks in advance,


  510. Hi, this just happened to me today after I recently installed iOS 5.1 beta3.

    Today I took a bunch of photos and when looking at the camera roll, it first showed nothing and then said something like “restoring (xyz) of 943 images”, with (xyz) counting up.

    Unfortunately only counting up to 823, and that was it. None of today’s photos were shown. Looking for a solution, I found your site – many thanks by the way! Downloaded iExplorer and that showed that all the photos were there.

    Deleting the first databases in iExplorer took an awfully long time, by the way – I’m not complaining, I only thought it might be hung, which is what happened on the second one (aux). Not hung enough that I could not (non-force) quit it from the Dock, but enough to not accept any mouse or keyboard input anymore. (“Sample” in Activity Monitor showed that it wasn’t actually doing anything other than waiting for events.)

    Part of the problem might have been that the two databases actually showed right back up after deleting them – looks like they were automagically regenerated, even though the phone was on sleep. Force-quitting the Photos app on the phone seemed to address that and deleting the files was really quick afterwards – perhaps something to generally include in the steps as a matter of precaution.

    Nice and useful little application, however – thanks for the tip also.

    Anyway, after rebooting the phone and starting “Photos”, it greeted me with a screen stating that I have neither photos nor albums. That screen stayed there for an unnervingly long time, but then it started again with the restoring process. Only now stating “Restoring (xyz) of 475″. And that’s how far it went, and it only showed me the camera roll, none of my albums.

    Skimming through the camera roll, however, it seemed complete, so my guess is that I just lost the albums that I synchronised from iTunes, so next thing I backed up the actual “100Apple” directory and then synced with iTunes. As far as I can tell, this seems to have fixed the problem.

    After restarting iPhoto, it then also duly recognised the new images and offered me to import them (plus an older one, for some reason). So it’s all good now – many thanks again for your advice!

    I’ll submit a bug report to Apple and can only suggest for everyone experiencing this to do the same, at http://bugreport.apple.com – the more people complain, the better the chances for this to get fixed.

  511. hi,i tried this but it didnt work for me?i had pictures and videos that are not here after i upgraded to ios5 but itunes said it was backup before the upgrade. it is also the 1st time i connected to itunes,i bought this in korea and all the photos taken there are missing,only the recent ones are saved.plsss help me.

  512. Hi, saw all your great feedback so thought I would ask. I just updated my iPhone 3GS to the new ios5 after the update all my pics and messages were there part from contacts. I was doing everything so fast I then pressed restore from backup and it took me back to October so I have now lost about 1000 pics which is breaking my heart. Even pictures and messages I deleted came back after this. I have never myself pressed back up to back my files up so I’m guessing this is from when I last plugged my iPhone in. It’s as if I need to go forward again. I looked in my recycle bin and there was a backup there so I restored it and I dunno where it has went. I really don’t know why I pressed the back up because I would have all my pictures and messages which I want/need. I would rather have them than my contacts. Please help but I don’t think there is much I can do now, all my fault.

  513. Hello,
    I have a problem. I had over 300 pictures in my camera roll on my iphone 4s that I did not download to my computer yet from a friend’s graduation. I went to download them today and realized to my horror that they were all gone. I cannot find them anywhere on my computer or itunes. Is there any hope of recovering them?

  514. Tks lot!!

    i was sad cause I missed my many photos that I just got from my old albums when I was a kid with my family, sweetest memories.. I missed it after I connected to my computer and tried to back up. I was trying to get it back but was almost surrendered until i read this blog and solved with iexplorer hehe my iphone is 8GB ios 5.0

    i think it happened when we have more than one folder of photo.

    but now i realize that iphone is complicated, just like the outlook, and bank application hehe any way tks, really apprreciate it..

  515. Hello, So i have the iphone 4s an was in the process of jailbreaking it. And i connected an it synced & backed up. An well the jailbreak disnt go through. So it restored my phone. & i used my recent back up. An i have nothing on it. Im completely devastated as ive had some very important pics over there and without backing them up. Is there any single way i can get my files back? I mean when you back it up doesn’t it save your pictures? Please help. :) anyone…

  516. I am very illiterate when it comes to electronics. I need some help with someone walking me thru retrieveing my photos that I lost when I thought I was syncing my phone. I really need my photos retrieved.

  517. iPhone offers huge storage space where you can save thousands of image as well as text files. No doubt this device is very useful but sometime you may face problem because of loss of important files from your iPhone 4. Loss may occur either due to accidental deletion or due to some other reasons. No matter what the reasons are, the prime concern is how to restore deleted data? Well, iPhone 4 recovery is now possible if backup is available. If the backup is available then you can easily restore all lost files.

  518. Dude, you rock!!! you really saved my life!

  519. Hi, I wonder if that would work on the I-pad. Same disaster happended to me too when upgraded to ios5. Idon’t have an i-phone. I have an i-pad 1 which doesn’t have a camera, therefore there is no camera roll folder. The pictures I had were uploaded from a memory card which was long deleted and re-utilised. Didn’t have back-ups anywhere. Not sure if it would be in i-tunes.After the disaster happen I didn’t upload any other photos to my device to avoid further damage.

    I ran iexplorer and DCIM is empty. However in the photodata i can see the following:photos.sqlite, photos.sqlite-shm, photos.sqlite-wal, photos sqlite-aside. I have dragged them to my desktop.

    Now I before I try the next step, just want to know if it works on the ipad as it does with i-phones. And also how to reboot the i-pad.

    Question: Has apple ever considered hiring you or at least pay you for the incredible service you are doping for them? If not it is long overdue. Shame on them!

  520. In regards to my last post I have actually done the whole process, deleted the files in the iexplorer, (figured out how to reboot the i-pad) and then clicked the photo apps but there are no photos in my device.:-(

    Any other ideas?

  521. I found the lost photos!

    I upgraded my iphone4s from ios4 to ios5 and lost everything.
    I did a sync first, then did the upgrade. As part of the upgrade it does a backup, but the restore then failed.

    I tried iexplorer, and other 3rd party utilities but they couldn’t find the elusive backup that happened during the upgrade.
    The phone was effectively wiped, and the new OS put on it.
    Searchs for jpg’s on my PC (win xp) showed up nothing.

    I eventually found this folder, with so many files in it, it looked like my lost treasure, although all the files had long hex filenames with no extensions. I tried renaming one to .jpg, opened it, and hey presto, there was my little girl, smiling back at me from one of my photos. joy of joy.

    The large files were video (rename to .mov).
    Some are doc’s, but you will have to try diff extensions to view.

    Here’s the Path (Win XP PC):

    C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\Mobile Backups\\Structured\Snapshot

    Hope this saves someone the heartache of thinking their precious photos are gone.
    I should have hit the ‘backup’ option in iTunes before the upgrade, and also pulled off copies of the photos manually beforehand. (20/20 hindsight).

  522. sorry, that path didn’t show properly because i was using greaterthan/lessthan signs, here it is without them:
    C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\Mobile Backups\phoneserialno\Structured\Snapshot

  523. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have found your instructions. I’ve been angry for the past few months after updating to iOS5 on my 3GS and thought I had forever lost 2 years’ worth of pictures of my kids who are now 3 & 5. I didn’t even have to follow all of your instructions. All I did was download iTunes 10.6, connect my iPhone, download iExplorer, use iExplorer to look in the folders of my iPhone, and when I checked my iPhone’s camera roll just to see what’s in there, I saw that all of the photos and videos were back!!! I didn’t delete any files or reboot or anything. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  524. This may make us all feel really silly, I don’t know if you all have tried this, but if you have a mac and go onto iPhoto, you’ll find that when you upload from your iPhone, they might all be there.

  525. Fantastic – worked a treat although I had to do it a couple of times – but have my photos back, which is the important thing! Can’t thank you enough…


  526. i was helping a friend tranfer photos from his iphone to laptop and they dissapeared off his phone and only a folder titled ipod photo cache appeared on the laptop, the file size is only 1.73kb so doubt it contains the photos, where have they gone??

  527. I need help I have done the iexplorer and I have no idea where to go to get my pictures that were on my phone before the backup and you email me as soon as possible. I need it done by Friday

  528. try /Media/DCIM/100APPLE or maybe /Media/PhotoData/100APPLE. i forget where they are exactly…

  529. Only problem i am facing with mine is i currently do the restore of my phone and while it is finishing restoring and all that i go to photos and it just gets stuck at downloading a photo, like it says downloading 25 out of 800 for example. So they stop downloading there and its not in my phone, if i go to iTunes and do a full sync with iPhoto library then they all will appear under photo library not in camera roll. So does that mean they are there in my phone or not? Because if i follow your instructions it only puts like 50 in my camera roll.
    If you could provide any feedback on this i would appreciate it, thanks.

  530. If i override the process as well of syncing and go to iTunes and force a sync of iPhoto library all the photos will go into my phone under the “photo library” but not “camera roll”. I was under assumption that this steps you provided would make them move to camera roll but instead they all just end up being erased off the phone. Any ideas?

  531. I’ve followed the instructions but the photos aren’t on the phone. How do i get them from the desktop to the phone?

  532. sorry i was just a bit impatient it has worked! Thanks a lot!

  533. I restored my iphone 4 today per the request of apple technical support because of a problem I was having with my home button. Once the restoring process was completed I realized I lost every single picture in my camera roll. I have tried syncing my phone several times but no luck. Is there any way of finding the photos either on my computer or phone and restroing them to my camera roll?

  534. hey… it worked for me… but i get only 98 of 110 photos!

  535. Many many Thanks!
    It works perfect for me and I was able to restore all my photos using iFanBox instead of iexplorer! ;)

  536. just found this , my wife lost her pics when upgradding to iphone 4 and it deleted all her pics its been along time can we still retrieve thoses pics im not good with computers but i can sure try?

  537. forgot to mention the phone is not upgraded its an original iphone 4

  538. another bit of info i forgot mention is that i think she switched it with her 3g info is that make it worse?

  539. Someone wiped my iPhone 4s after too many incorrect pin attempts – tried this but it hasn’t worked – any suggestions?


  540. I am fairly certain that when it wipes your phone, it really wipes it. Unless you took a backup previously, there isn’t any place that you can restore it from, at least not that I am aware of.

  541. 2day me and my gf came home from vacation made 300+ pictures, so stupid as I were i trusted ITUNES with the backup and update from 4.3.3 to 5.1.1. THE WORST thing happend, all our pictures from the vacations are GONE, I tried your guide but without help, it just deleted the last backup she had on the phone. Itunes did not make a backup of her pictures and videoes! it made a “new” backup 2 of them and but without the new pictures! MY GF HATES ME NOW :(

  542. My husband accidentally plugged my iPhone (instead of his) into his laptop to download a podcast. About 1/2 way through he realized it was the wrong phone and disconnected it. My work email app (Good) stayed in tact but everything else was overwritten with his stuff so I lost all my photos, it’s all his text messages and his phone contacts and it even says it’s his phone in the settings (but it’s my number). I’ve accepted that I won’t get my photos back. Today at work (it’s a work phone)someone tried to help me first reset everything and then sync it to my iTunes. It got rid of all of my husband’s extra apps but the apps on my iTunes wouldn’t download onto my phone, and it didn’t update the messages or phone contact list and it still appears like it’s his phone. My iTunes didn’t work properly either. Any suggestions or is my best bet to take it to an Apple store and see if they can get it in working order?

  543. I’ve a 3GS that I updated from 5.1 to 5.1.1 and this happend to me. I could see the pictures/videos in iExplorer so I followed your instructions. However I could only see the files “DCIM_APPLE.plist” and “Photos.sqlite”. For me it turned out to be sufficient to delete those two. After a reboot and opening the Photos app it took like a minute before it started to re-index but it’s all here now. Thanx!

  544. Tried the above but does not work for me sadly.
    I only found “DCIM_APPLE.plist” and “Photos.sqlite” and delete both but the photos did not reappear

    iTunes still shows 6GB as Others which are my photos and no idea how to get them back. Any other suggestions pls?

  545. Just realised that Photos.sqlite reappears once I startup iexplorer again?
    Is this normal?

  546. Yes, that is completely normal as your phone will re-generate these files. The whole idea is that you remove the files and your phone is forced to re-create them which resolves the indexing error. You might want to double check to make sure that you followed the instructions completely and didn’t miss any steps.

  547. i already downloaded the iexplorer.. when I opened it, it said that “you first must installing one of the following versions of the ,NET frame work, contact your application publisher”

    please help me.. im really2 miserable for missing all of my photos :( thanks in advance

  548. and re run iexplorer typed

    Blocking Issues:

    You must install the 32-bit Windows Imaging Component (WIC) before you run Setup. Please visit the Microsoft Download Center to install WIC, and then rerun Setup.

    pleasee you are my hero… im sure my photos were backed up

  549. what can I say… THANK GOD and BIG thanks to you!!! after tried hard to get back my precious photos… now its restored! :) I borrowed my dad’s laptop.. I guess my before computer was suck hehehe. God bless u.. u really made my day! :)
    thanks again. eventhough ive lost about 100ish pics hehe :)

  550. It gets stranger.
    I tried to restore from backup and it failed claiming that the backup was corrupted. But when I ran iexplorer, I found about 1100 photos in the DCIM folder and after deleting the selected files and rebooting the phone, these photos now appear in my camera roll. At least i got 110 out of the 3000 that i lost.
    But I continued searched and now after another 6 hours, I found another DCIM folder which has my photos and videos, how can I transfer these now? Can I just move the folder to the other DCIM folder and it will sync to my phone upon reboot?

  551. The saga continues, I found another 1700 photos in the var/mobile/media/hackstore/dcim folder and moved these folders to var/mobile/media/dcim and the photos were restored to my camera roll after deleting the .plist and rebooting.
    I lost about 100 or so photos but at least got back 2800 +.

    However now, the phone says that I do not have any free space and iTunes detects 7GB as Others. If I do delete the other DCIM folder under Hackstore would that impact the camera roll or any other settings in any way?

  552. As long as you have copied the files from the /var/mobile/media/hackstore/dcim directory to /var/mobile/media/dcim, there isn’t a reason to keep them around in the old location and they will just be wasting space. That would explain where at least part of the ‘other’ data is showing up.

  553. I’m glad you were able to get it sorted :)

  554. hi! i forgot my iphone password password so i disabled it to the maximum and it said connect to itunes. so i did. but i accidentally erased everything on my iphone. i got the videos and music and apps. but my photos are gone. i got to the step where you have to find all the files and delete them. but they don’t seem to be in my iExplorer! please help me, i have very special photos! thanks

  555. If you didn’t back up your pictures to iTunes originally, they won’t be recoverable.

  556. I followed your steps and it worked for me. My girlfriend and I were really upset at loosing her photos and videos of our kids growing up.
    Now we have them all back and backed up.
    Many Thanks,

  557. please help! I upgraded my mum’s iphone and all of her photos have gone :-(

    I have tried the above, but it doesn’t work. I can see the photos here: C:\Users\Samantha & Matthew\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup….. how do I get them back on the iphone please?????? :’-(

  558. Hi I some managed to find a solution, of course based largely on what Mbentley (lots of thanx) and others who posted in this blog had contributed.

    1. Install programs like i explorer, iphone folder, phone disk, ifile (i use this, must be jailbroken) or any other programs which allowed you to see your iphone folders and files.

    2. Confirm that you still have the camera roll pictures. Usually found under /private/var/mobile/Media/DCIM. If not look into your back up in your computer, then copy them into the DCIM folder (must create 2 folders named “.MISC” and “100APPLE” or “101APPLE”) or restore from previous backup. If still cant find, try Karl’s suggestion, look into your computer under C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\Mobile Backups\\Structured\Snapshot (may varies for different computer system)

    3. Try mbentley’s method.

    a. connect your iphone using the usb cable
    b. launch iphone explorer
    c. backup and then delete the following files:
    d. reboot your iphone

    Just to add, if you dont see some of the files stated above, its ok, just delete whatever you found and try it out.

    If the method above dont work out for you (e.g. the files you deleted just kept re-appearing, nothing happens…etc). Check the files attribute of the Photodata folder and make sure the followings;

    - Under the Ownership, both Owner and Group MUST be set to “mobile”.
    - Under the Access Permissions, the User MUST be set “Read, Write, Execute”, the Group and World MUST be set to “Read, Execute”

    In some cases, in your Photodata folder, you probably would see the following files like

    - Photos.sqlite
    - Photos.sqlite-shm
    - Photos.sqlite-wal

    Dont delete them, check the files attribute of those files and make sure the followings;

    - Under the Ownership, both Owner and Group MUST be set to “mobile”.
    - Under the Access Permissions, the User MUST be set “Read, Write, Execute”, the Group and World MUST be set to “Read”

    Reboot. Make sure always make a backup by importing too.

    Hope that SomeOne could save someone.

  559. I have downloaded Iexplorer and found the files you talked about but no apple100 and when I tried to delete the files you told us to delete after having backup copys, it wouldn’t delete. When I right clicked and pressed delete, a message came up saying it will delete permantley, I said ok and it didn’t do a single thing, the file was still there, please reply back fast, I feel lost without all my photos. Thank you!

  560. I would suggest checking out the comment by SomeOne. That is pretty much what I would suggest.

  561. Hi Guys…
    Did cut & Paste photos from my iPhone 4S to my laptop ( I do this all the time to easily transfer photos) but I’m done this time…220 all important work related photos…all gone…I can only see the thumbnail (no image) and the size of each of the files are now 12kb!!! I have tried transfer back these images to my iPhone but didn’t work….is there any way I can recover those photos from the phone?? Can’t see the images in the backup folder either :( Please help!!!

  562. Great tip!!!!! My photos are back!!!! Thanks

  563. I just upgraded my iphone 4S to the newest OS. I love saving cool photos from Facebook to my phone. Since the upgrade, photos from facebook won’t save to my phone. This is VERY upsetting.

  564. I upgraded to iOS 6 and lost a out 200 pictures in a private picture app. Is there any way to retire those photos? Apple techs said no

  565. great fix….

  566. I appreciate all you have done for myself and my family. My name is harry and after contacting so many fake spell casters that only played with my heart you´d got what I wanted: my family back. Your sincere kindness and thoughtfulness inspires me. You have touched my heart deeply and I will forever be grateful that you got rid of all the negative influences that surrounded my wife and I. Now we are back and my son is very happy again, with his parents together… Thanks ANTOGAI antogaispelltemple@gmail.com all my gratefulness

  567. I just come back from europe, where i used my iphone to take my photos. When i arrived, even before asking me for backup, it syncronized, downloaded the 6.1 and deleted all photos. In the phone still saying that i ahve more than 2gb of photos, but i just can´t find anyone. I have tryed all this approaches without any result…

  568. iOS 6.1
    I’ve been having some issues following this on iOS 6.1. It’s been complicated.
    Anyway, I think I’m all set. A couple of points though
    Post an iOS 6.X version with proper file paths.
    Mention folder/file permissions 0755/0644.

    Thank you so much.

  569. i love you

  570. I’m begging you guys please help me :(

    When I right clicked and pressed delete it doesn’t work means the letter of ‘delete’ is hiding not highlighting…
    So I can’t click them pls pls help me what can I do

    Thanks in advance.

  571. What about just pressing the delete button on the keyboard? If that doesn’t work, it could be that you don’t have permissions to be able to remove those files. I don’t have the application installed right now so I am not sure what options there are for changing file and directory permissions but you may need to see if there is a way to change them to give you write access to remove the files necessary.

  572. @mbentley

    I’m pressing but still can’t :( Do I need to register for i explorer? So that’s why I can’t delete?

    What do you think sir?

  573. Hmm, odd. I just installed iExplorer to take a look and ‘Delete isn’t grayed out for me as seen in this picture. I don’t see an option for changing permissions either unfortunately.

    Maybe just try rebooting your phone and then seeing if you have access to those files? It is difficult to say what might be wrong without being able to take a look for myself.

  574. I just reboot my phone but still the same :(

    Can I talk to you through on skype or anything else we can talk clear?
    If that’s okay with you.

  575. I’m at work currently so my contact methods are a bit limited. So your photos are not showing in the Camera Roll (i.e. – none of them) but you are able to see that there are indeed photos on your iPhone when connected to iTunes as mentioned in the blog post, is that correct?

  576. Oh i’m so sorry for that..

    I mean all my photos are deleted, so I want to recover lost data especially photos and messages :(

    Is there any way to get back deleted pictures on my iphone?

    Thank you.

  577. Ah. So if your photos aren’t on the device anymore, you may be out of luck. You would probably need to restore from backup. While there may be tools out there that could restore deleted items from your iPhone, I am not aware of what those may be. The best advice I can give is to make sure you back up your device frequently which unfortunately does nothing to help you at the moment.

  578. Thank you for your response.

    Well, i’m decided to consult my iphone on apple store, wish me luck.
    I hope they will help me.

  579. How do I reboot my Iphone after following the steps?

  580. See this for instructions:

  581. so rebooting iphone means restarting iphone?

  582. Correct.

  583. i updated my fathers iphone i didnt know that it was jailbroken and ow all of his file is gone how can i recover all the files?

  584. I pulled the pics off of my iphone 5, and from scouring the internet, thought I was in for a long day of pain…..

    your tutorial worked perfectly. Thanks!!!!

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