Why do Photos get Stored in DCIM Folder?

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Do you ever wonder why all your images, regardless of the device you use, end up saved in the DCIM folder? This intriguing question has a fascinating answer. Discover the mystery behind the DCIM folder and discover why it serves as the universal destination for your photos. Read this article to for understanding the reasons behind ‘Why photos are stored in a DCIM folder?

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Every time you click a picture, all the images you have taken are stored in a DCIM folder. Whether it’s a digital camera or the camera app for Android or iPhone, the photos are taken and stored on an SD card. Every digital camera regardless of its brand uses the DCIM folder to store the photos. Even the apps you use to edit and share photos clicked on your smartphone use the same folder to save the photos. You must now be wondering why this DCIM folder is so important and why every photo is stored in the DCIM folder. Read on to know why.

What Does DCIM stand for?

DCIM stands for Digital Camera Images. It is the preferred standard name since a folder named Photos or Images would be simpler, and also easy to spot. However, there is a reason behind the choice of a DCIM folder.

Why are Photos Kept in DCIM Folder?

The name DCIM which is given for storing photos in digital cameras is part of the DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) specifications. This has been adopted by all digital camera makers and has become an industry standard. As the DCF specification is common, camera and smartphone makers, including app and software developers, stick to this DCIM storage habit.

Suppose every digital camera maker or phone’s operating system had its own pictures folder, the software programs will not be able to find images automatically on a connected device. Also, you won’t be able to take an SD card from one digital camera and plug it into another one directly. Even accessing the photos without reformatting the device or rearranging the file system would not have been possible.

Note: If you have deleted the DICM folder or lost the photos from it, you can get them back easily. Follow the link to recover deleted DCIM folder from your camera or smartphone

DCF not only dictates the folder to which photos are written, but it does much more. DCF spec also says SD cards that a specific file system must be used when formatted. It also says subdirectories and file names used for saved images to follow a specific pattern. So all these make working with pictures on other devices easier when compared to each manufacturer coming up with their own rules for default storage folder.

Thus, the standardized DCIM format means camera photo-transfer software can automatically identify pictures on an SD card or digital camera when you connect it to the computer. The same thing holds good for the DCIM folder on smartphones too.

How is the DCIM Folder Organized?

Multiple subdirectories can typically exist in the DCIM directory. Each subdirectory is identified by a three-digit number ranging from 100 to 999 and five alphanumeric characters. The alphanumeric characters are unimportant, and each camera manufacturer is free to use any characters they like. Apple, for example, has the good fortune of having a five-digit name, therefore its code is APPLE. The DCIM directory on an iPhone comprises directories like "100APPLE," "101APPLE," and so on.

The picture files, which represent the photos you capture, are located within each subdirectory. The name of each image file begins with a four-digit alphanumeric code, which can be anything the camera manufacturer desires, followed by a four-digit number. Files with names like DSC_0001.jpg, DSC_0002.jpg, and so on are common.

How do I Access the DICM folder?

In order to access the DCIM folder connect your camera or smartphone to the computer. When you connect the device, you will be presented with different connection modes on the camera/smartphone. Choose the PTP mode from the options displayed on your camera/smartphones. PTP is a standard protocol for communicating with the digital camera. Now, open File Explorer on the computer and look for the drive with a camera icon on the left column. Once you open the camera drive, you will find the DCIM folder.

What if I Don’t Find the DCIM Folder?

If you don’t find the DCIM folder, it could be possible that the folder is hidden. If that’s the case, you might have to unhide the folder to access it.

Despite unhiding, if you are still unable to find the folder, chances are that the DCIM folder could be lost. In this case, you can recover the deleted DCIM folder from SD card with the help of a trusted data recovery software.

Remo Recover is an effective tool built with a robust scan algorithm that can scan and locate deleted or lost DCIM folders. Apart from recovering the DCIM folder, it can recover deleted photos like NEF, JPEG, PNG, CR2, ERF, CRW, and many more. It supports the recovery of more than 500 file types from SD cards like micro SD cards, SDHC, SDXC, CF cards, and many more.

Related information: If you want to know how to use Picasa to store and organize your Photos, You can follow the solutions mentioned in this article.


Hope you understood the reason behind the photos being saved on DCIM folders, DCIM folder serves as a standardized storage location for photos across various devices, for easy organization and accessibility. Its universal adoption made the process of managing and sharing images, simplify the user experience. 

If you found this information useful or still have doubts or questions regarding the topic, kindly let us know in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why some of my pictures are not visible in the DCIM folder?

If your pictures are not visible in the DCIM folder then:
- Photos might be hidden.
- Potential software glitches.
- Outdated device software system.

Can I change the default storage location for photos to any other folder instead of DCIM?

Yes, you can change the default storage location of your photos, but it can cause potential data loss or issues with the device's functionality.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…