iPhone Photos Disappeared from Camera Roll? 5 Ways to Fix

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“I had a lot of pictures on my iPhone camera roll and all of a sudden they have disappeared. I checked my storage and it says the photos are still on my iPhone, but my camera roll is empty. I have tried everything from restarting my iPhone to turning on Photo stream. When I turned on the app, the photos started to come back, but then it crashed and they were gone again. I don’t know how to get the photos back and they are very important to me. Can you help?”

One of our users sent in the above query awhile back and while we did help him get his photos back, we thought we’d expand on what we shared with him. This is because we have received queries like the one above from a lot of other users which indicates that the problem is more common than we thought. So, read on to find out some of the most effective solutions when your photos suddenly disappear from your camera roll.

Option #1 Get Back the Disappeared Photos with iCloud

If you have turned on iCloud Photos, there might be a very simple way for you to get your photos back; simply turning iCloud Photo Library” off and then on again. This will help you re-sync photos from other devices using the same Apple ID to your target device. To do that, follow these very simple steps on your target iOS device;

Before start, make sure your photos were backed up to iCloud successfully by going to iCloud.com and verifing that all your photos are there.

Step 1: Go to Settings and then tap on your Apple ID at the top of the screen. In the next window, tap on “iCloud.”

Step 2: Tap on “Photos”.

Step 3: In the next window, turn off “iCloud Photo Library.” When prompted, choose “Remove from iPhone.” Worry not, This will remove the photos from your iPhone but not from iCloud.

Step 4: Wait a few seconds and then turn on “iCloud Photo Library.” The photos will be downloaded back on to the iPhone. Ensure you remain connected to Wi-Fi until all photos are back on the device.

Download the Missing Photos from iCloud's website

Option #2 Download the Missing Photos from iCloud.com

Another way to get your Photos back if you had enabled iCloud photos is to use the iCloud website. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you do that;

Step 1: On any computer and any browser, go to www.icloud.com and then sign in with your Apple ID and password.

Step 2: Click on photos and then try to locate the photos that are missing on your iPhone. For every missing photo that you find, click on the download icon to download the photo to your computer.

This process may take a while however, since iCloud.com doesn’t allow you to download multiple images at once.

Download the Missing Photos from iCloud's Website

Option #3 Recover Photos from iTunes/iCloud Using D-Back

It is also possible that the photos are missing on your iPhone because you have accidentally deleted then or they have been lost due to a system or settings problem with your iPhone. If you suspect that this is the case, you may want to restore them from your iCloud or iTunes backup. One data recovery tool can help you selectively restore only the photos back on to your device as opposed to replacing all the data on the device. This tool is iMyFone D-Back and here’s how you can use to restore your photos back on to your device from iTunes and iCloud Backups;

Windows version    Mac version

Use D-Back to Recover the Photos from iTunes Backup

Step 1: Install the program to your computer and then launch it. From the main window, select “Recover from iTunes Backup” and then click “Start.” You should see a list of iTunes backup files on that computer listed in the next window. Select the one with the photos you want to recover and then click “Next”.

Select iTunes Backup

Step 2: Select “Photo” in the next widow and then click “Scan” to continue.

select file types

Step 3: From the results page, select the photos you would like to recover and then click “Recover” to save them to your computer.

Preview File from iTunes Tab

Use D-Back to Recover Photos from an iCloud Backup

Step 1: from the main window, select “Recover from iCloud Backup” and click “Start.” You will then need to sign in to iCloud to gain access to the iCloud backup files on your account. Sign in and then select the iCloud backup file you need. Click “Next” to continue.

Select iCloud Backup

Step 2: In the next window, select the type of file you want to recover as “Photo” and then click “Scan” This will reduce the time it takes to scan the backup file for the photos you need.

Select the files you wish to recover

Step 3: The program will scan and analyze the backup file and display its contents on the next page. Select the missing photos from the displayed results and then click “Recover” to save them to your computer.

Preview File from iCloud Tab

Windows version    Mac version

Option #4 Sign Out of iCloud and then Sign Back in

Another solution from appletoolbox to help you get your photos back is to simply sign out of iCloud and then sign back in. This will refresh the app and allow the iPhone to download the photos back on to the device. Here’s a step by step guide to help you do that;

Step 1: Sign out of iCloud on your iPhone.

Step 2: Go to Photos and then delete all the photos including photos in the “Recently Deleted Folder” and albums.

Step 3: Now “Force Close” the Photos App. To do that, double-tap on the home button and the swipe up on the Photos app to close it.

Step 4: Sign in to iCloud and all your photos will be downloaded back on to your device.

Option #5 Apple's Solutions to Try If Photos Are Still Missing

The following are just some of the solutions you can try to help you find the missing photos;

Check Your Recently Deleted Folder

  • Step 1: Go to Photos > Albums > Recently Deleted.
  • Step 2: Tap Select and then tap on each of the photos that you want to recover.
  • Step 3: Tap “Recover” and confirm that you want to recover the photos.

Check Your Recently Deleted Folder

Make Sure iCloud Photos is Turned on

With iCloud photos, you can access all photo and videos store in iCloud on any device. If you are not seeing them on your iPhone, it is possible that iCloud Photos is not turned on. Here’s how to turn on “iCloud Photos” on your iPhone;

  • Step 1: Go to Settings > {Your Name} > iCloud.
  • Step 2: Tap “Photos” and then turn on “iCloud Photos.”

Make Sure iCloud Photos is Turned on

Unhide Your Photos

You may also have hidden the photos in your Moments, Collections and Years view. In this case, the photos will not appear on your camera roll, but will be in your Hidden Album. You can unhide the photos using these very simple steps;

  • Step 1: Open the Photos app and then tap on the Album tab
  • Step 2: Under “Other Albums,” tap on “Hidden.”
  • Step 3: Select the photos you want to unhide and then click on “Unhide.”

Unhide Your Photos

Sign in Using the Same Apple ID

For your photos and videos to appear on the iPhone, you need to make sure that you are signed in with the same Apple ID on all devices. You can check the Apple ID you are using on your iPhone under “Settings” and on your Mac under “System Preferences.” If you are not using the same ID, sign out and then sign back in using the right ID.