After updating my girlfriend’s iPhone 3Gto iOS4.1 she noticed that the camera roll had a bug and was showing a large black box in place of some thumbnails. You could still tap on the blank black area and it would load the correct photo full screen, so the photos are still there, it just seems the thumbnails have become corrupted.
Fix #1 – You can connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC and download all the images off the iPhone and then erase all the images so your camera roll is empty and the thumbnails should work for all future photos you take. This isn’t ideal though and if you want to keep the images to hand on the phone you’ll need to create a new photos folder and resync the photos to the iPhone for future viewing.
Fix #2 – This is a little more complicated but will restore the thumbnails whilst leaving them in the camera roll. The solution is courtesy of CharismaG4toMBP on the Apple support forums.
- Go to MacroPlant website and download iPhone Explorer, it’s FREE and there’s a Mac and Windows version.
- Navigate to the Media->PhotoData folder, highlight and then delete the following three files:► com.apple.photos.caches_metadata.plist► Photos.sqlite► PhotosAux.sqlite
** Note for Windows Users **
[thanks to @shane for highlighting this in the comments section]
The screen shots of iPhone Explorer above are from the Mac version. If you are using the Windows version there is no “Delete” button. You must RIGHT CLICK & choose “Delete Selected” to delete the files.
Select OK at each prompt:
- Turn your iPhone OFF.
- Turn your iPhone back ON.
- Click on Photos app and it should start rebuilding the library. Don’t panic if it says no photos found initially, give it a few minutes depending how many photos are in your camera roll.
UPDATE November 2011 – Having looked at my site analytics it seems this page is being read a lot , especially since the launch of iOS5 which seems to have broken camera roll thumbnails all over the place. Hundreds of people are finding it useful and leaving comments below, thank you very much for all the praises in the comments. Every single comment comes through to my iPhone and I read each and every one.
A few people have contacted me directly asking if they could make a small contribution for saving all their holiday photos or saving them hours on the phone to Apple Care. You may have noticed some adverts scattered around my site, I put these on to try and make enough money to cover the hosting cost for my blog but very few people ever click on them, I could probably get a better click rate if I smothered my site in annoying pop-up ads but I’ll never do that, however, if you have found this post helpful and would like to make a small donation every pound/dollar/euro/cent/pence would be greatly appreciated. You can click the PayPal button below to go straight to PayPal site and make a contribution from £0.01 upwards. Many thanks
IMPORTANT iOS5 USERS several readers have commented saying the 3 files to delete are no longer present since upgrading to iOS5 and were unsure which files to delete. I shall be updating this post properly soon to reflect this but in the mean time (if you’re feeling brave) you can try deleting all the files in the subfolder mentioned in the original:
Which some people have reported worked after a restart of the phone.
OR you could try a safer route that I’ve just experimented with and delete the contents of the Thumbnails folder only. The thumbnails folder is new in iOS5 and not present at all in iOS4 and earlier. I just tried deleting all the files in the Media/PhotoData/Thumnbails folder, namely:
Looking at the camera roll straight away showed all black boxes except for a few recent ones, this is not the best for playing camera based games like ones you can find here, however after a phone restart all thumbnails had been rebuilt and no photos were lost. As I said, I need to do more testing on this but having just deleted the Thumbnail folder contents myself just now it does seem to do the trick with corrupt thumbnails. If you have another issue, like photos actually missing from the camera completely, then try the above method of deleting the sqlite files.
Now go back to the top