All You Need to Know About ‘DCIM’ Folder and Images on Android Phone

It is very suitable to store photos on phone but as number of photos increases it become very difficult to clean up.

Also, it is not clear where the images are saved actually. Sometimes all the photos disappear and thus, it is very important to know the location of images in phone.

In our digital era, terms like “DCIM” have become ubiquitous, especially for those who frequently interact with digital devices.

But what exactly is DCIM, and why is it so crucial? In this article, we’ll dive deep into understanding DCIM, its functionality, and its significance.


What is DCIM?

DCIM stands for Digital Camera IMages. It’s a standard directory structure used by digital cameras and smartphones to store captured images and videos.

When you connect a camera or insert an SD card into a computer, you’ll typically find a folder named “DCIM” containing all the device’s digital captures.

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The Full Form of DCIM

As mentioned, DCIM stands for Digital Camera IMages. It’s a universal naming convention adopted by manufacturers to provide a consistent experience for users across various devices.

Why Do We Need DCIM?

The DCIM folder serves multiple purposes:

  • Organization: DCIM offers a standardized way to manage and store images and videos, making it easier for users to locate their media files.
  • Interoperability: Given that DCIM is a universal standard, it ensures that various devices (cameras, smartphones, computers) can recognize and access media files without compatibility issues.
  • Efficiency: By segregating media files into a specific folder, software and apps can quickly scan and import relevant content.

Location of Pictures on Android

Photos taken through Camera app are either stored in phone internal memory or in memory card. It all depends upon on the settings of your phone.

Photos location is always DCIM/Camera folder. The full path is:

  • For images on phone memory, path is /storage/emmc/DCIM
  • For images on memory card, path is /storage/sdcard0/DCIM

To access thee folders quickly you have to download file manager like ES Explorer in your phone because the explorer which are in-built in your phone are not very suitable.

DCIM – Meaning

DCIM means Digital Camera Images. Actually, it is the default directory structure for digital cameras. From DCF (Design rule for Camera File system) Specification, the DCIM folder and its layout came from.

Location of Screenshots in Phone

Screenshots are there in folder:

  • Pictures/Screenshot
  • DCIM/Screenshot

Also, you need to check screenshot location in the Settings in case you install third party application on Android.

Need of Thumbnails folder

Thumbnails folder contains the smaller version of pictures, downloaded images. For instance, profile images from Whatsapp or contact images. Thus, it helps in opening an image from Gallery quickly.

Location of Thumbnails files

  • If phone memory is used, path is /storage/emmc/DCIM/.thumbnails
  • If sd card is used, path is /storage/sdcard0/DCIM/.thumbnails

Deleting Thumbnails on Android phone

Thumbnail files consumes a lot of space, upto few gigabytes. So it becomes necessary to delete these files to free a lot of space. Also, there is no loss of yours and these files are created again when you need.

You can do this in 2 ways:

Method 1 (Manually)

Step 1: At first, download and install file manager on your Android.

Step 2: Now, enable the option show hidden files in the phone.

Step 3: Then, open the thumbnails folder.

Step 4: At last, select all the files for deleting the android dcim thumbnails content.

Method 2 (Automatically)

Step 1: Start with installing the CCleaner app on your Android.

Step 2: Next tap on the “Analyze” button.

Step 3: Then, under the section Other Caches, check mark the option Thumbnail Cache. Now, press the Clean button.

What To Do If DCIM Folder Is Empty?

Sometimes, when you connect your phone to the PC via USB Cable, the DCIM folder is empty while there are photos in the Gallery.

  • In this case, check both locations- one is memory card and other is android device memory. Also, you have to drag files from one DCIM folder to another.
  • Then, start deleting the cache from External storage and Media Storage app.

How to Delete DCIM Folder

Step 1: Open Settings in your Android. Then, click on the option Apps. After that click on the three dots  present on the top right.

Step 2: Click on the option “Show system apps” and then choose ” External Storage” and ” Media Storage” from the list.

Step 3: Click on Clear data and Clear cache button.

Step 4: At last, Reboot your phone.

Is DCIM My SD Card?

While DCIM is not the SD card itself, it’s a standard directory found on almost every SD card used in cameras and smartphones. When you access the contents of an SD card, the DCIM folder is where you’ll typically find your photos and videos.

How Does DCIM Work?

The DCIM system is straightforward:

  1. When you capture a photo or video, the device saves it to the SD card or internal storage.
  2. This media file is automatically stored within a folder structure, starting with the DCIM directory.
  3. Inside the DCIM folder, there may be additional sub-folders, often named with a combination of letters and numbers, e.g., “100DSCIM.” These help categorize and manage files, especially when dealing with a large volume of captures.

Benefits of DCIM

  • Standardization: Irrespective of the device brand or model, the DCIM structure offers a consistent user experience.
  • Easy Backup & Transfer: The consolidated folder structure makes it simple to backup or transfer media to other devices or cloud storage.
  • Compatibility: Software designed for image editing or media management can easily detect and access the DCIM folder, streamlining the import process.

Is DCIM Safe?

Yes, the DCIM folder is safe. It’s merely a directory for storing media files. However, like any digital content, it’s essential to regularly back up the DCIM folder to prevent accidental data loss or to safeguard against device malfunctions.

Is DCIM Free?

The term “free” is not typically associated with DCIM since it’s a standard folder structure. There’s no cost involved in having or accessing a DCIM folder on your device.

However, the software or apps you might use to manage or edit the media inside the DCIM folder might have associated costs.

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In Conclusion

DCIM plays an integral role in our digital lives, simplifying the way our devices handle and organize media captures.

It’s a testament to the industry’s commitment to ensuring seamless experiences for users, whether they’re professional photographers or everyday consumers capturing life’s moments.