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iPhone Internal Storage is Empty on Windows 10/8/7, How to Fix?

By Carrie Murray, Monday, June 1, 2020

Some of you might have encountered such an embarrassing situation: when you connect your iPhone or iPad with the computer, you can see the attached device appearing in This PC or file explorer. After clicking on it, it usually takes you to Internal Storage > DCIM folder. But then you may surprisingly find it says "this folder is empty".

You may wonder what is going on: why the contents on the iPhone don't show up on PC? where can I find the photos in the DCIM folder? This guide will tell you the answers. Here we will show you 5 solutions to fix the "empty iPhone internal storage" problem. You may try them one by one until the problem is solved.

iPhone DCIM Folder Empty

Solution 1. Unlock your iPhone and Tap Trust This Computer

Due to security consideration, when you plug the iPhone or iPad to the PC for the first time, you need to allow a Trust This Computer request. Only in this way, can the trusted PC get access to the iPhone's or iPad's internal storage and show up the device's photos and videos. If your iPhone is unlocked, you may see this folder is empty when clicking on the DCIM folder.

Step 1 Connect your iPhone or iPad to the PC by using a workable USB cable.

Step 2 Unlock the device. Enter the passcode if it is needed.

Step 3 Tap on "Trust" in the pop-up prompt.

Step 4 Turn to PC, in the This PC interface, click refresh. And then open the device or the folder again. The DCIM folder should not be empty this time.

Tap Trust This Computer

Solution 2. Use DoTrans to Transfer iPhone Photos to PC or Versa Vice

When the iPhone DCIM folder shows empty, you can use an iOS data transfer tool - FonePaw DoTrans to help you detect and transfer iPhone data. 

Simply connecting the iPhone to PC with a USB cable can only transfer the Camera Roll photos in the DCIM folder. But with FonePaw DoTrans, a professional iOS data management program, not only all the photos, but also the music files, videos, and even contacts can be easily exported to PC.

In addition to transferring data from iPhone to the computer, you can also import files from PC to iPhone or iPad. Data transferring among different iOS devices, such as between two iPhones or between iPhone and iPad, is also supported. 

To quickly transfer photos from iPhone to PC, just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Download the Program and Get your iPhone Connected

Download, install, and launch FonePaw DoTrans on your PC. Plug your iPhone into PC with the USB cable. Don't forget to tap "Trust" on the phone in order to make it successfully connected.


Step 2: Select the Photos to Transfer

In the program interface, choose "Photos" at the left sidebar. You can preview all the photos stored on your iPhone with name, created time, size and more.

Check the photos you want to transfer to PC.

iPhone Photos on DoTrans

Step 3: Export the Photos to PC

Click on the third icon, "Export to PC", at the middle-upper. Then a new window will pop up, in which you can set the saving path on the computer.

Export iPhone Photos to PC

During the transferring process, there will be a progress bar informing you how many photos have been transferred successfully. After that, you are able to open the folder you've chosen to view them.

Photos Transferring Progress

Solution 3. Download Photos from iCloud Photos Library

If iCloud Photos is enabled and Optimize iPhone Storage is selected, all the photos you take with your iPhone, iPad will be saved in the iCloud for saving the phone storage. Though you can still view the photos on the Apple device, they are not actually stored on it. Each time you open a picture or play a video, it is downloaded from iCloud instantly. That might be one reason why it shows Internal Storage Empty when you plug the iPhone into PC.

To fix this problem, head to Settings > iCloud > Photos. And check "Download and Keep Originals" to download the photos from iCloud back to the iPhone. Then connect the iPhone to the computer again to check whether the photos show up in the DCIM folder on PC.

iCloud Photos Download and Keep Originals

Solution 4. Reset Location & Privacy

Another solution you can give a shot is to reset Location & Privacy in Settings:

Step 1 Go to Settings > General.

Step 2 Scroll down to the bottom and choose Reset.

Step 3 Tap on Reset Location & Privacy and then you will be asked to enter the passcode.

Step 4 Tap Reset Settings to confirm.

Reset Location and Privacy Settings

Go back to the home screen and plug the iPhone to the PC again. Open the device on PC now to check whether you can view the internal storage or not.

Solution 5. Reinstalled iTunes and All Other Apple Software

Uninstalling iTunes and all the other Apple software, and reinstalling them back from Microsoft Store can also be a workable solution. According to Apple's instruction, it is better to uninstall iTunes and other related software components by the following order in case some unintended effects would happen:

  • iTunes

  • Apple Software Update 

  • Apple Mobile Device Support

  • Bonjour

  • Apple Application Support 32-bit

  • Apple Application Support 64-bit

Remind you that before you reinstall them back to the PC, make sure they are completely uninstalled and related data are totally deleted from the computer.

Have you solved the empty iPhone internal storage problem with any one of the solutions above? Any better idea or comment is welcome! If you find this guide helpful, please give us a thumb-up and share it with more people.

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