11 Nov 2007 7 pm eastern

iPhone “disappearing photos” bug

No moving parts. No gears to wear down, no pads to replace. The code-powered device is an engineer’s dream and a user’s delight—until the software heads south.

Take my iPhone. Please. This morning, it stopped taking photos, and none of the approved means of restoring erring iPhones to sanity—restart, reset, restore—is of the slightest use.

Oh, there is still a lens on the back of the iPhone, and there is still a Camera icon at the top right of the Home screen. Clicking that icon still initiates camera-like functionality. I can still frame my subject in the glorious full-screen viewfinder, still press the shutter button at the bottom of the viewfinder window, and still enjoy the satisfying shutter click sound effect when I do so.

But I will not have a photo to show for my efforts. For the device does not actually take photos any more.

White box outline hack

Yesterday it was a camera. Today it simply emulates one.

If I try to view my photo(s) in the Camera Roll section, the iPhone tells me it contains “No Photos” and advises: “You can take photos using the camera.” Awesome suggestion, dudes!

If I navigate to the Camera Roll from inside the Camera (by pressing the blue outlined camera roll icon at the bottom left of the Camera’s viewfinder window), I see an empty white box indicating where the photo I’ve taken would be if the iPhone had not obliterated the data the moment the shutter snapped. (For that’s what it seems to do: take photos and immediately obliterate their data.)

If I take five photos before pressing the camera roll icon, I see five empty white boxes indicating the five photos whose data the camera deleted. Take ten photos, see ten empty white boxes.

I discovered this bug after using the iPhone to take photos of my three-year-old wearing a bathing suit and angel wings (she dressed herself). They were the best photos I ever took whose data was immediately obliterated.

88 photos, 96 tears

Yesterday the camera worked beautifully. During a long and wonderful day, I ended up taking 88 photos with the thing, all of which I synced to iPhoto, and a few of which I uploaded to Flickr. And I think it’s the number of photos I shot yesterday that sent my iPhone on a first-class carriage to Bugland.

I have noticed in the past that the iPhone is most likely to act up after I take a lot of photos—more than, say, a dozen.

Sometimes when I’ve taken a lot of photos (for instance, at a wedding or concert), iPhoto doesn’t sync. Instead, it erroneously tells me that the iPhone contains no photos. Usually, though, restarting the Mac restores proper sync, and no photos are lost in the process.

Here, every photo I take is immediately lost.

The standards fixes don’t

None of these help:

  • Restarting the Mac doesn’t help.
  • Restarting the iPhone doesn’t help.
  • Resetting the iPhone doesn’t help.
  • Even restoring the iPhone’s software—the court of last resort—doesn’t help.

Firmware problem? Hardware problem? Dude, I just work here.

Pin the bug on the lug

Mac fans are like Maoists. We are masters of cognitive dissonance. (Look it up.) If an Apple product delivers a less than satisfying experience, we assume the person reporting the problem is a fool. If not a fool, he or she must be an apostate.

You’ll have questions. Am I running the latest version of the iPhone’s software and firmware? I am. Am I running the latest version of iTunes? I am. Did I erase my iPhone lately? No. Was my iPhone “jailbroken” (i.e. hacked)? No. It’s a standard iPhone running Apple’s iPhone OS and nothing else.

Did I drop the iPhone, hold it under water, boil it in oil? No, no, no.

Do I think busted iPhone functionality is an earth-shattering problem? No, I think it is a luxury problem. Not only is it the least of the world’s problems, it is the least of my problems. Still. I saw at least a dozen things I absolutely had to photgraph today, and shot not a one. And that makes Sonny blue.

Thanks for sharing

Options. Be proud that my iPhone is “special.” Disdain photography. Cultivate an inverse snobbery that fools no one. (“You take … pictures? Really. How quaint.”) Or bring the damn thing to the Apple store nearest me and demand a replacement. That sounds like the winner.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses a photo.

[tags]apple, iphone, bugs, firmware, updates[/tags]

Filed under: glamorous, industry, iphone, OSX

68 Responses to “iPhone “disappearing photos” bug”

  1. Todd said on

    I would take it to the Apple Store and see what they can do for you. If they’re anything like the staff a the store near me you should be up and running with a replacement in no time. Heck, if they can swap out a MacBook for me, they should be able to do it with an iPhone.

    Good luck.

  2. Jon said on

    “Did I erase my iPhone lately? No”

    I’m pretty sure you already thought of this (actually im 99% sure it’s not this) but, just in case: Do you have enough space left on your iPhone to store the pictures?

    I ask ‘cos even though my girlfriend is an intelligent person this conversation frequently happens. Her: “The [Toaster/Microwave/DVD Player] isn’t working!” Me: “Is it [plugged in/switched on]?” Her: “Oh… erm… no.”

    Sometimes it’s the simple things.

  3. Jon said on

    Ok, totally freaky thing happening.

    Girlfriend walks into the room just seconds after I posted my last comment and says the following:

    “Jon, I’m trying to download pictures from my camera to iPhoto but they are just appearing as grey boxes with exclamation marks in them”.

    Let’s go see if I can fix it.

  4. Dean said on

    I had photo sync issues with the iPhone last night too.

    I took 23 photos (more than I usually have taken between syncing) and after hooking it up to the PC, it did its thing – offload to a new folder with the date and then delete from the iPhone. At least I thought it did. When I looked at the images in Adobe Bridge, several (almost half of them) were just jpg icons with 0 bytes of data. And strangely (thankfully) they didn’t get deleted from the phone – all 23 were still in the Camera Roll.

    I attempted another sync and it worked fine the second time – all images transfered – all looked OK on the PC.

    I’ve had weird transfer issues recently with my contacts too.

  5. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    I’m pretty sure you already thought of this (actually im 99% sure it’s not this) but, just in case: Do you have enough space left on your iPhone to store the pictures?

    @Jon:

    Good question. There’s 3GB of space left (roughly 40% of what the device holds). Plenty of room for data.

  6. Daniel said on

    Dude… it sounds like your phone is just plain busted.

    On the up-side… when you get a replacement, it will come with a new battery!

  7. Lydia said on

    Oh yuck.
    My iPhone was replaced a week ago – I had pretty great service at the 5th Avenue store, though DO make a reservation – I had not and was lucky to be squeezed in.

  8. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Method #2 from this Apple forum solved the problem, forcing the iPhone to replace a corrupted camera roll file. Thanks, Lydia, for the link, and thanks, Resources for Life for the fix.

    Method #2 was what I had already done, but with the more radical extra step of not restoring from backup after reinstalling the OS. This solution had suggested itself to me as well, but I was afraid to try it due to the lack of information Apple provides about the option. Would the decision not to restore from backup cause me to lose my phone number, for instance? As a user, I had no way of knowing.

    But once I saw that someone else had tried it and lived to tell the tale, I tried, too. And now my iPhone’s camera works again.

  9. Jason Kratz said on

    Jeffrey-

    I almost fell out my chair laughing when I read:

    Mac fans are like Maoists. We are masters of cognitive dissonance. (Look it up.) If an Apple product delivers a less than satisfying experience, we assume the person reporting the problem is a fool. If not a fool, he or she must be an apostate.

    So very accurate :)

  10. Shane Porter said on

    Glad you got your iPhone working again. I wonder how many people in the UK will suffer the same fate after the recent launch here on November 9.

    Writing this on my PC because my macbook has just died!

  11. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    @Shane: Sorry to hear about your Macbook! Burning incense in front of my Macbook now.

    The iPhone is an amazing device. Using it has made me a better UI designer. But, like any code-powered thing (and especially any new one; think “upgrading to new operating system”), it can sometimes frustrate you when a bug develops.

    Essentially the iPhone is a computer, but unlike your Mac, it’s a computer where you can’t get under the hood. On your Mac, if fonts are misbehaving, you can delete font caches, for example. You don’t get that kind of access with an iPhone.

    On the plus side, that lack of access helps prevent some problems from occuring. Since (officially, at least) you can’t install third-party stuff, you don’t run into the problems third-party applications and extensions can create.

  12. Josh Stodola said on

    Haha. Not bad for $600; I wonder what will break next.

  13. Siva Nadarajah said on

    Just as an fyi, completely unrelated to this, your website cranks out a javascript error on load of the homepage.

    also, i’m not sure if this is related to the error but when i click on “my glamorous life”, both “my glamorous life” and “the daily report” are highlighted…

    here’s a screenshot –
    http://www.sivanadarajah.com/zeldman.gif

    I’m running ie6.0…maybe the site isn’t built for this browser so ignore if so.

  14. Edge said on

    “You can take photos using the camera.” says it all!!!LOL

    Rob
    http://Gifting Gourmet.com
    Gourmet Meals to the doorstep

  15. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Interestingly, although deleting the entire operating system, all preferences, and all data, and rebuilding from scratch does fix the problem, the iPhone under 1.1.1 remains buggy where photos are concerned. Like, today, iPhoto didn’t recognize that there were new photos on the iPhone. Here We Go Again. Rebooting the Mac “solved” that problem (this time).

    Interestingly, too, 1.1.2 is out. I’m downloading and installing it now. Maybe it will make the camera functionality less prone to spastic incontinence. Or maybe it will break more things. Fun! Whee!

    [Off-topic]:

    when i click on “my glamorous life”, both “my glamorous life” and “the daily report” are highlighted…

    Indeed. Known. It’s due to a limitation of WordPress.

    completely unrelated to this, your website cranks out a javascript error on load of the homepage.

    Actually, your browser cranks out a JavaScript error. :)

  16. Michael Nolan said on

    You are my iPhone hero. Can’t stop thinking about when you showed it to me. Sorry to hear you’re having problems.

    Um, I hope Apple takes notice of your post.( Just sayin’.)

  17. Gohlkus said on

    Let’s hope all these problems are fixed by the early adopters by the time my mobile phone contract runs out next July. Somehow I doubt they will be. Thanks for being a pioneer, anyway.

  18. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    I love my iPhone. I love this device. I just hate when it eats its own balls.

  19. rob shaw said on

    good to hear about your iphone, i live in Australia so i can hold the ipod touch to my ear and pretend it’s an iphone

  20. Sebhelyesfarku said on

    “Mac fans are like Maoists.”

    For me they seem like Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  21. sviddle said on

    Had the same problem…they were clueless about it at the Apple Store so they gave me a new phone…funny thing is that when I synced the new phone, the same problem appeared.

    The way that I managed to fix it was by restoring and not syncing with the backed up files…instead, I just pretended it was a new phone…if the contacts are backed up to Address Book, they will be re-uploaded to the phone…but you will need to tell iTunes what media to sync…and you will likely loose the notes and not sure what else.

  22. Jeff Keegan said on

    For anybody reading this, don’t do option #2 above.. You can fix it without losing all of your data.

    Posted this on the page that the “option #2″ page above links to:

    ———-
    I have a third option..

    I saw this message, and cringed at option #2.. I didn’t want to lose contact photos, calendar events, sms messages, notes, safari bookmarks, etc, etc.

    So, I went in and found (on my windows laptop) where iTunes was storing the backup files:
    C:\Documents and Settings\jkeegan\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

    That dir had two directories beneath it, with long hash filenames..
    One seemed to be for an earlier version of the software, and the other for the latter. I synced my iPhone with iTunes, and saw the newer of those two directories get updated slightly, so it seems they’re storing one backup per version.

    I copied the directory (maintaining file permissions and dates etc) into another directory off t the side, to use as a backup if I had to.

    Then I went into that newer backup dir and just started looking through these files for anything that looked like it had to do with photos..

    One file, which for me was named f1b43d3b3ecf259a3626c13a8b0cebd8ba513117.mdbackup, seemed to talk about image numbers for photos.. The broken version of this file looked roughly like:

    ============
    bplist00^A^B^C^D^E^F^TPathWVersionTDataXGreylist_^PESCMedia/DCIM/.MISC/Info.plistS1.0O^Q^A>

    LastFileGroupNumber-100
    1024
    LastFileGroupNumber-101
    170

    ^^@^Q^@^V^@^^^@#^@,^@J^@N^A^@^@^@^@^@^@^B^A^@^@^@^@^@^@^@ ^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^A
    ============

    So, I disconnected my iPhone from the dock, and then tried deleting that file from the actual Backup directory that iTunes looks at.. I reset the iPhone according to option #2 (Settings->General->Reset->Erase All Content and Settings).

    When I connected it to the dock, it asked which backup I wanted to use, and I said the most recent. It updated everything, and now the camera works (I had no photos on the phone – the initial problem coincided with me deleting all photos on the iPhone after extracting them). I didn’t lose any contact photo images, sms messages, etc – nothing.

    To find that file for you, you can try doing a “grep Info.plist *” in the backup directory with the most recent modification time after doing a sync to back up. (I’d make a backup of the entire Backup directory before trying what I did).

    I hope Apple fixes this, along with the other documented camera problems.. but at least here’s a workaround that doesn’t result in you losing everything.

    ———-

  23. Darin R. McClure said on

    Same problem here with 1.1.2, Apple techs no help.

    “My iPhone Ran Outa Film http://t-l.cc/3rj Any other iPhone users runnin outa film like I did? How did you fix it? Apple Help?”

    Darin

  24. Lori said on

    I just ran into this problem, too, and tried Jeff Keegan’s solution. It fixed the camera, but apparently I didn’t *quite* sync properly, as some of my Notes data was stale. (It could be that I sync to two different user accounts — one on Mac and one on Windows). I’m re-syncing all my music and photos now.

  25. Cece said on

    There is a reason it’s called the iPhone. I know, this post is obnoxious, but if you take tons of pix, you should be using a nifty device called a camera. Having a camera function in a cell phone is a convenience for when a real camera isn’t available – and it’s great that it can store pix to share with friends – but a phone isn’t designed to do the heavy lifting of a primary recorder of memories. Cameras are complex devices. I’m not surprised that your phone is freaking when asked to take so many pix. That said, thanks for the caveat and the fix tips!

  26. Leigh said on

    I had the *exact* same problem as you, and method #2 worked for me. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! (You came up on top when I googled “iphone problem not taking pictures.”)

    I sure hope this doesn’t happen again when I really need the camera. I take hundreds of pics w/ my phone. I never, ever think to have a camera on me, and even when I do, I never take it out of the bag. My phone, on the other hand, is usually in my hand anyway, and it makes picture taking so much more convenient. I have to disagree w/ the person who thinks the problem is taking too many pics with a phone… the iphone is whatever you want it to be, whether you primarily want a phone to jabber on, an ipod, an email machine, a camera, an instant messenger, a portable internet, an alarm clock… and I happen to use it for all these things, like I’m supposed to be able to.

    I missed out this morning on some pictures of my daughter at the dentist. Who thinks to bring a camera to the dentist? But she was so cute sitting in that chair w/ her mouth wide open, and it occurred to me it might be cute to have a picture of it that I could point to and say, “See, when you were 4 years old you were a perfect dental patient.” (If you don’t have kids you can’t hope to understand that, I realize.) That’s when I realized my camera had bugged out. At least we weren’t at Disney World or something.

  27. Cyndy said on

    I brought my iPhone to the Apple store. They said it was caused by software. They did a restore on my phone, and after avoiding a backup, it was fine. – Cyndy

  28. Jonnny said on

    Hi Jeffrey! My iPhone has borked twice. Once using the ipod and once using Safari. The display froze using the ipod and the display died using Safari. The way I fixed this was by holding the sleep/wake button and the on button at the same time for a few seconds. You should then see the familiar apple logo light up. This is just a kind of re-boot and saves you having to do a restore with iTunes.
    I found this little site that you may find useful:
    iPhone troubleshooting

    Jonny

  29. kenji said on

    Hello.

    Well yesterday I was on a party, and wen the time to take pictures with my iPhone the fucking camera doesn’t work the pictures dissappear…I was very very mad but I ”fix” the problem.

    You only need 2 things the app instaler and a wireless internet conection.

    Install the aplication called ”camera pro” and that’s it, this some how fix the folder on the iphone, and your pictures will noy dissapear again.

    Sorry for my bad english, Im drunk…. some how

  30. Adam Prall said on

    http://discussions.apple.com/post!post.jspa?forumID=1145&threadID=1183455&messageID=5588647&reply=true from Apple’s site has a bunch of great solutions, what worked flawlessly for me with three different phones was doh-boy’s Method 4 (see link). Mahalo, Adam

  31. John said on

    I think its a terrible bug and i get the exact same blank images.

    I was 20 minutes on the Apple iphone technical support WAITING LIST. I had to give all (I MEAN ALL) my details to a machine and 2 operators every single time… in the end I was 40 minutes on the phone… if only they knew how much money I was paid an hour those *&£%&”*s would think about upping their service when frustrated people encounter the most bizzare problems/bugs

    I was put on hold after 40 min and waited another 15… before I knew the woman had forgotten about me (she said and I quote: ”I will put you on hold for less than a minuite”…. the same looping music… I hung up.)

    So I lost time, money and gained more stress and no fix to my phone. Even after giving my number 3 times… no return call.

    so, I have lost great photos, really top notch ones, and I did a RESTORE (of course I lost all my music too as I downloaded my music off another PC)…. the problem is still not fixed.

    Whats the worst of it all is that apple will not admit to the problem or make it public for those of us who have been unfortunate enough to get this strange bug. What large companies need to realize is that phoning technical support and taking the time to go BACK to the store is a big deal. Its hassle and money…and the service needs to be better. It should be no hassle replacement on the spot with technical support and new warranty for the new phone…
    In fact I want the newer version. Customers are treated so so awful… and its so wrong…
    The iphone is great when it works but if you want to save some stress, dont get it.

    Other issues:

    My iphone freezes.
    there is no battery to take out… it just freezes… sometimes when i get a call the touch pad freezes… rarely though…
    internet slows the whole thing down if Im multi-tasking.

    again I have been so good to my iphone and only had it 2.5 months. What a joke.
    Its sad for apple, I hope this problem gets acknowledged and dealt with.

    Sorry for all of the above who have had issues, really shouldn’t be like that.
    more testing and better quality assurance should exist.

  32. Greg said on

    i had this exact same issue, and this is what i found.

    when i was sync’ing my phone, i realized that I had an iTunes radio station in my playlist. (i book mark them, so to speak.)

    after restoring the phone, and re-sync’ing with after removing that particular playlist, the camera worked fine.

    often, there can be items in your sync that can become corrupt. just make sure everything you sync is safe!

    hope that helps.

    my camera and photos are working fine now. here’s proof:

    http://www.justwhatisee.com

    Cheers – Greg

  33. LiveJasmin said on

    I hate this bug !

  34. Ringo said on

    Never heard of this happening before hope it doesn’t happen to me :-(

  35. Ben said on

    just returned to USA from NZ for a friend’s wedding…
    2 weeks of priceless memories, not recorded because of this bug…

    2nd time this has happened…the 1st time, apple store replaced the entire phone and it worked, so i don’t know if it has to do with backup files…

    oh well…sometimes it’s better to live the experience than record it…

  36. Momchil Ivanov said on

    Hey guys! I am another i-phone lover who had his camera “take pics” and store them as empty boxes, but thanks to Mr. Jeff Keegan’s wonderful solution, my camera is back to life!! THANK YOU JEFF, you are the man ;)
    The steps were really ease:
    1. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
    2. Under Backup double click the folder containing all backup components and just like Jeff explained, delete f1b43d3b3ecf259a3626c13a8b0cebd8ba513117.mdbackup
    3. On the i-phone go to Settings->General->Reset->Erase All Content and Settings
    4. After the erase is done, plug in the i-phone and use the backup to restore your info and personal data
    5. Test your camera — I can see the smile on your face because you are back in business!!

    Again, Jeff Keegan.. thanks a lot! You are already a good friend of mine ;)

  37. Kevin said on

    I had the exact same thing when my iPhone was a mere 1 month old last fall. The Geniuses couldn’t figure it out and gave me a new one after wasting an hour and a half of my time. Synching up at home restored the problem. New phone, still no pics. The problem returned about a month later. They gave me another new phone, which I really didn’t need. I managed to reintroduce the problem off my Powerbook in the store. They gave me my second phone back. Now I’ve got this problem for the third time and wish I’d documented the fix.

    Oh, and my wife has the same problem. She syncs off a PC, me a Mac. BTW, this problem often seems to be introduced after a software update, either on the phone or iTunes. Go figure.

  38. Vivian Y said on

    This blank-square camera malfunction has happened to both my husband’s and my iPhone — several times. Each time we have to Reset all settings (which of course kills all other info too) to get the camera working again. It’s a huge pain. We’ve both been to the local Apple Store to get it looked at when this has happened, but the advice/result is always the same — reset all settings. (Well, except once when the baffled salesperson ended up giving my husband a brand new one because my husband had brought his synching laptop to the store (smart!) and showed the Apple guy that every time the iPhone was resynched, the problem would be reintroduced.)

    I am another one of those who likes to really use the iPhone as a camera and have to disagree with the person who said it’s a PHONE, not a camera, first and foremost. Yes, it’s called an iPhone, but if Apple is going to claim certain capabilities (which, after all, is what supposedly separates the iPhone from any old run-of-the-mill phone), then those claims should be backable. Otherwise, market the iPhone as “a phone that also works as a camera, unless you take more than say, 30 pictures a day”. Grrrr…. (feeling especially disgruntled because this happened to me last night AGAIN, causing me to lose a bunch of what would’ve been great photos, and causing me in my frustrated state to google the problem — leading me here).

    Well, at least I know I’m far from alone on this.

  39. basic612 said on

    Fuck that anti spam answer thing. shame I just lot my post and have to resubmit.

    I was congratulating kenji on drunken discovery that installing camera pro does infact fix problem.

    steps:

    1) install camera pro
    2) take picture with camera pro
    3) now iphone camera (normal app) works

    I had written a much funnier post in my (also drunken) state, but since this stupid comments system ate my message and I have to retype, can’t be arsed trying to be funny.

    anyway – hope this helps someone.

    bye

  40. basic612 said on

    oh… and now I post my repost, my original posting suddenly populates my comment form. well… for all you who missed out, here it is in it’s full glory, I hope it makes it past moderation!

    ======

    bwahahah. I almost wet myself on “Mac fans are like Maoists.” however once I reached Kenji’s wisdom: “Sorry for my bad english, Im drunk…. some how” that was all I could bear. Kenju I share your dissapointment at the f*ckn photos dissapearing, and your joy at finding them again after installing camera pro.

    Once I had installed camera pro and taken a photo with that app, my iphone camera started working again fine, although my photos from before were nowhere to be seen.

  41. iPhone “disappearing photos” bug | WDNews.net | WDNews.net said on
  42. iPhone disappearing photos workaround found! » Moving at the Speed of Creativity said on

    [...] scanned the post and latter answers on Jeffrey Zeldman’s Nov 2007 post, “iPhone ‘disappearing photos’ bug” which was hit #4 on the previous Google search [...]

  43. Busted iPhone camera on Flickr - Photo Sharing! said on

    [...] Busted iPhone camera To take full advantage of Flickr, you should use a JavaScript-enabled browser and install the latest version of the Macromedia Flash Player.  F.decorate(_ge(‘button_bar’), F._photo_button_bar).bar_go_go_go(1974796630, 0); F.decorate(_ge(‘photo_notes’), F._photo_notes).notes_go_go_go(1974796630, ‘http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2396/1974796630_4b075465a7_t.jpg’, ‘3.1444’); View Jeffrey’s map Taken in a place with no name (See more photos or videos here) Outlined, empty boxes indicate where photos would be if the iPhone didn’t delete their data the moment the shutter snapped. Take two photos, get two empty boxes instead of photos. Details.  [...]

  44. Jeffrey Zeldman Presents : Maybe that’s why they call them Kodak moments said on

    [...] like these are once in a lifetime. Fortunately I carry an iPhone. Unfortunately, my iPhone’s camera is once again taking blanks instead of [...]

  45. Elroy said on

    when I do a google search for problems with iphones i get 63,500,000 searches. I don’t think you are the only one with the problem. If apple wants to keep its name in the market they to test there products before putting them in the market. The ipod was a big and apple just went to fast with the iphone

  46. iPhone - Official Thread (Plans announced Post #1001) - Page 115 - NeoGAF said on

    [...] and a black screen when I select it (the white box). So I restored it. That did not fix it. I’m not the only one to experience this… Is there any solution? I use the camera feature quite often. Thanks in [...]

  47. Michael said on

    I had the same problem and the medhod #2 worked for me. It cleared the whole blank picture problem right up. I haven’t synced to iphoto yet but so far so good. I’m running version 1.1.4 on my unbroken unhacked iPhone.
    Thanks for the article!

  48. steve garfield said on

    I blogged about this and the fix:

    FIX: iPhone camera will not save photos.

  49. Tony Chester said on

    Option #4 worked like a charm. Thanks for bringing this issue up; saved me the dreaded trip to the Geniuses at the Apple store.

  50. Josh said on

    Hello

    I too had a problem with my camera – u will note the use of past tense.

    Im running a first version Iphone hacked with 2.0 software and heaps of apps legal and otherwise bought in china town in sydney 2 months prior to Australian Iphone release.

    Recently I downloaded a picture which just hung on my iphoto on phone ie i could scroll through all the pics and as soon as I got to one particular photo saved from email, it would hand until i reset.

    So I connect to my computer and using the MS download and erase section I deleted my pictures on camera expecting this to fix.

    Result

    No photos of any kind on iphone, pressing the camera takes you to the application but will not open the fake shutter and just goes back to springboard.

    Back to apple – hmm cant see them replacing my hacked version 1 iphone with a bright shiny 3g one.

    Web research indicated situation FUBAR even if I rehack the phone which logically should work- but looks like a full system reset does not

    Then a thought occurs to me – should I download through Cydia – the hacked app shop swapcameraroll – which is designed to let you swap your camera roll good for adult friendly and non adult friendly photos.

    I then swap the roll and although my pics are still lost from my old roll – all is now situation normal.

    I am a MAC genius – This fix takes 30 secs if you are a hacked user

    hope this helps

  51. Jack said on

    FIXED!

    YAY!

    yoo, ok yea, i almost love my iphone, and now i can see why i need to get out more, but hey listen, this just happend to me and i figured out a VERY SIMPLE FIXXXXX!>

    Go to installer, downlaod the camera alternitve program thingy magig, right, so yea, now take a pic with it useing that, great! photo works right. ok now go back to the regualr camera, take a pick! BOOM! yea, (sry its late am im glad i figured this one out)

    so yea, good luck to everyone out ther ehaving this problem, im sure it will work for youu.

    Cheers, (and best of luck)
    Jack

  52. zenx said on

    I had the same problem of camera roll displaying white boxes and unable to open up and display taken/stored images. I had been “cleaning up” using a standard windows file manager interface and deleted unwanted images. Incidentally, I had additional folders inside DCIM named 100APPLE, 101APPLE and 102APPLE.

    Deleting the two additional folders was no help. Then using openSSH and using an sftp connection from my filezilla app on the pc, I noticed a little .MISC directory (inside DCIM directory) which contained one Info.plist (filetype Quicktime preferences). Opening this file foe edit inside my PSPAD editor, turns out it is an XML file. The three original directories were defined within xml tags here.

    I deleted the additional directory entries and reset the 0, which had a very high number, presumably the image count of previous snapped. All this was despite having changed permissions to 755 earlier and the issue not being fixed.

    I believe that you should never attempt to delete and/or add images using a pc/mac connected using the usb interface. This will surely mess up the sequence detection mechanism within the xml file.

    Voila, the camera started snapping pictures and displaying them again as normal. I suppose the =camera and camera roll applications rely on this XML file to keep track of images sequencing.

  53. zenx said on

    This is the final file contents I had saved:

    LastFileGroupNumber-100
    0


    PS ignore the first/last tags

  54. se13311 said on

    if your pc is windows platform try “uTunePhtos” to manipulate your iPhone camera roll and photo albums, try backup then cleanup your photos. And see if it helps or not.

  55. nhazean said on

    zenx!!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    I had 2000+ photos, decided to “drag + drop” from “Apple Camera” in My Computer when you plug in the iPhone via USB, to a seemingly innocent “photos” folder, and saw many duplicates, and have lost many precious photos? Why precious? We’ve heard of missing some moments, but this was of my dad and his brother who have hardly met or, least to say, taken a photo together since perhaps the 1970s. I promised to email my uncle the photo. Sadly now the image only resides in my memory, and they both did not really see the photo, and my dad has glaukoma – he’s gradually losing his sight.

    And so I WISH THAT SOLUTION OF YOURS IS SEEN BY EVERYONE WHO HAS THE SAME PROBLEM!!!!!!!!! By the way my phone IS jailbroken, and version so I didn’t have to restore, or delete any files. I just reset the counter to 0.
    (For the benefit of anyone else who has this problem…)

    Using zenx’s solution:

    1. Download & install iPhone PC Suite. (or other iPhone file browsing software)
    2. Open up the File folder DCIM/.MISC/Info.plist
    3. Set the and to zero and save the file, ie:

    LastFileGroupNumber-100
    0

    4. Delete the extra folders (leaving only .MISC and 100APPLE in DCIM)

    I didn’t check if step 4 is necessary, just by logical deduction. FYI iPhone PC Suite is mostly in Chinese, so I didn’t understand it, just needed a quick fix. The icons are in English, just look out for the FILE icon on the left bar.

    -ean.
    p.s: Once again, thanks for this post and the kind ppl who commented and now finally the iPhone is a wonderful again (yes, in denial) I created the problem, not the amazing iPhone. :P I feel lucky that I stumbled upon this post after days of searching for a solution.

  56. nhazean said on

    ah the angular brackets did not appear!

    Step 3:

    Reset the <key> and reset </integer&gt to zero and save the file, ie:

    <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC “-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN” “http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd”>
    <plist version=”1.0″>
    <dict>
    <key>LastFileGroupNumber-100</key>
    <integer>0</integer>
    </dict>
    </plist>

    Hope my html appears!

  57. impulse said on

    I found the missing picture problem solution which worked for me here:

    http://ifolio.idfact.net/?p=1137

    Worked in one second without SSH things. Maybe it is helpful for people who have no idea how to use SSH.

  58. anonymo said on

    how do we get to number two of nahazeans post?

    2. Open up the File folder DCIM/.MISC/Info.plist

    I couldnt find it over PC suite if thats what he/she meant!

  59. anonymo said on

    Alright nevermind. I eventually used a different iphone file sharing program. PC Suite is confusing & all chinese!
    Anyways, it was a SUCCESS & I’m bouncing off my walls again for my cameras recovery wooohooo!!!

  60. Bence said on

    I found a solution.
    Download the program “ClearCam” from Cydia, make a photo with it and “save to camera roll”.
    Go to normal and Camera and you should be able to take photos :)

  61. invain said on

    doesn’t work for me… [2.2 didn't save pictures, upgraded to 2.2.1, same problem occured. and i have the first generation phone]

  62. Ben said on

    I found a solution for the iPhone not showing pictures taken issue.

    1. Backup/Sync your phone just-in-case

    2. Use a directory browser such as PhoneView or some other tool (Download the trial of PhoneView: http://www.ecamm.com/mac/phoneview/)

    3. In PhoneView Browse to the /Disc/DCIM/ folder and delete the entire .MISC folder. (I actually deleted everything in the DCIM folder)

    This solved the issue for me without having to resort to a restore. Also, using those programs you can recover any photos/videos that were taken that you could not get to.

    If this helped you, please consider our apps on the App Store. Just search for “Kudit”

  63. Noemi said on

    I hate this “bug”…I just got a new iPhone 3GS 3 weeks ago and it’s doing that crazy camera thing!! It takes the pic, I can see the thumbnail in the bottom left corner but when I press the thumbnail to open my cameral roll—the pic is not there!!!! Hate it! :(

  64. iPhone ?disappearing photos? bug - Website Architecture Forums said on

    [...] ?disappearing photos? bug More… __________________ Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report – Blog by Jeffrey [...]

  65. Heather said on

    thanks for the tips – tried josh’s solution – loading “swapcameraroll” from cydia on my jailbroken 3g running 3.1…worked first time! woohoo! hope it stays fixed…

  66. J said on

    Please help!!! My iphone is the only way I can take pictures and Im due to leave to the army in a month. My camera hasnt worked in two days and im dying bc of it! I dont have a computer so I need a way to get it to work without having to use one. I tried looking for that camera pro app and one called pro camera for $2.99 comes up but idk if thats the one mentioned earlier here. If I go to setting on my phone and I go to reset all settings which deletes everything will my camera roll and screen shutter work again? Anyone let me know please!!!

  67. captain said on

    This is so typical of Apple. WTF is wrong with them that they make such arbitrary, stupid, and hard coded limits in their software?!? The simple “solution” is simply to delete all the folders under DCIM, but to do that you have to Jailbreak your iPwn, which of course Apple will ream you for!! In your best Nazi SS trooper voice: YOU VILL NOT ACCESSSS YOUR PHONE MIT OUT OUER PERMISSION!

    Same BS totally crippled OSX Mail until I happened to have a stroke of genius and discovered that it was just an asininely hard-coded timeout causing ALL my email to be inaccessible. (the “solution” is to keep resetting your clock back 20sec every 20sec so that the stupid Mail stopwatch never reaches 30 until after it’s started downloading email again – how IDIOTIC is THAT?!?)

    Apple makes beautiful hardware, but their Software Engineers seem to all be on crank.

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