Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

How and where to find your photos in iOS 8

The familiar Camera Roll and Photo Stream collections are gone, but your photos are still there, just in different spots. Learn how the Photos app has changed in iOS 8.

Matt Elliott Contributor
Matt Elliott, a technology writer for more than a decade, is a PC tester and Mac user based in New Hampshire.
Matt Elliott
3 min read
Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure
This advertising widget is powered by Navi and contains advertisements that Navi may be paid for in different ways. You will not be charged for engaging with this advertisement. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, this advertising widget does not include information about every product or service that may be available to you. We make reasonable efforts to ensure that information in the featured advertisements is up to date, each advertiser featured in this widget is responsible for the accuracy and availability of its offer details. It is possible that your actual offer terms from an advertiser may be different than the offer terms in this advertising widget and the advertised offers may be subject to additional terms and conditions of the advertiser which will be presented to you prior to making a purchase. All information is presented without any warranty or guarantee to you.

Matt Elliott/CNET

After updating to iOS 8, many iPhone owners apparently freaked out the first time they opened the Photos app. Judging by various Apple Support pages, people thought perhaps their photos had vanished when they didn't see the familiar Camera Roll album that had housed all of their iPhone's photos in previous iOS versions. Gone, too, is Photo Stream, where you could view the 1,000 most recent photos snapped from any of your iOS devices.

30 tips every new iOS 8 user should know

See all photos

Fear not, your photos are still on your iPhone. The Photos app has a new organizational structure is all. With iOS 8, Apple draws less of a distinction between local and shared photos. They're all dumped in together.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When you tap on the Albums view in the Photos app, you will not see the familiar Camera Roll album at the top. This absence has caused confusion and heart palpitations among iOS upgraders. In place of the Camera Roll at the top of the Albums list is Recently Added, which contains the photos you've taken in the last 30 days on your iPhone -- as well as photos from any of your iOS devices with My Photo Stream turned on. (Photo Stream is no longer a view offered within the Photos app, but it's still a feature you can enable via Settings > iCloud > Photos.)

But what about all of your iPhone photos that you snapped more than a month ago? Where did they go? They didn't go anywhere, but you can't browse through them as you likely used to.

Even with hundreds of photos on my iPhone, I rarely if ever use the Years, Collections, and Moments views to browse through my photos. I don't like the tiny thumbnails and the dead space between groupings and chose instead to scroll through the consistent grid of larger thumbnails of my Camera Roll. With the Camera Roll replaced by the Recently Added album, to view photos older than 30 days you'll need to reacquaint yourself with the Years, Collections, and Moments views that can be accessed from the Photos button at the bottom of the screen. As with the Recently Added album, the Years, Collections, and Moments groups contain both local and shared photos.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a way to duplicate the browsing experience of the extinct Camera Roll album. You could create a new album and add all of your photos to it, but there are two problems with this solution. For one, you can't select photos until you drill down to the Moments view, which lets you select small groups of photos. I want to be able to grab an entire year and dump its photos into an album instead of selecting small groups of photos moment by moment. And for another, such an album will not catch new photos as you take them.

Sure, I may grow to like the Years, Collections, and Moments views now that I'm forced to use them, but the new organization of the Photos app is already causing problems with other apps. For example, you can't post a photo older than 30 days using the Facebook app unless it's in an album. The Facebook app doesn't let you access the Years, Collections, and Moments view; it restricts you to combing through your albums, where the Camera Roll previously resided. At the present, the Facebook app looks like it gives you access to your old Camera Roll, but it's really just the Recently Added folder. I'd wager that Facebook will address this issue with a future update, but for now your next #tbt post may require you to take the extra step of popping that old photo into an album in the Photos app before uploading it.

For more helpful iOS 8 tips, check out our complete guide on how to use iOS 8.