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iPhone OS 3.0 users plagued by missing photos

iPhone OS 3.0 users can't find photos when the number of photos (including screen snapshots and videos) exceeds 10,000 on the iPhone.

The iPhone OS 3.0 Camera Roll is running out of film for some iPhone users. A handful of photographers on Apple's discussion board are reporting that pictures taken with the iPhone camera and screen captures are disappearing from the iPhone's onboard photo library.

The bug, according to these reports, occurs when the photo names generated by the iPhone reach or higher, where the xxx represents either a JPG for photos, PNG for screen snapshots, or MOV for videos. Once you've reached this 10,000 mark milestone in your iPhone photography career, the Mobile Photos app no longer displays additional media files. Luckily, however, the photos are still there--they simply don't display on the phone.

Some users found help using the Phoneview utility from Ecamm on their Macs--the free demo version worked long enough to uncover the missing photos. PC users may be able to find their shots via iPhone Browser.

David Martin

Hopefully, Apple will fix this error in the 3.1 beta currently being tested by developers. In the meantime, a simple work-around, posted by "Douglas" on Apple iPhone School, seems to be the best alternative:

  • Sync your iPhone in iTunes making, sure that the backup completes and that you sync all your photos when prompted and--this is important--manually using one of the utilities above.
  • Using the same utility, delete all folders on your iPhone inside the DCIM folder that are named xxxAPPLE, where the XXX is the number 100-999.
  • Take an example photo with the camera and check to see if it shows up in the camera roll.
  • Repeat the delete step above.
  • Restart your iPhone by pressing and holding Home plus Sleep/Wake until the Apple Logo appears then release both buttons.

This resolves the problem by resetting the number of pictures to its initial state--far below the 10,000 milestone that caused the problem in the first place.

Did this solution work for you? Are you having other problems with your iPhone? Drop us a line and tell us about it at