How to Fix iPhone Camera Roll Crash and Photos Turned to ‘Other’ in iTunes

My 32GB iPhone 4 is more than just my phone, it is also my go to camera when I don’t want to ‘lug’ around my Panasonic GF2. So when my Camera Roll and Camera apps mysteriously started to crash upon launch, I was slightly worried. Not only that, my photos became inaccessible as iTunes no longer recognized my Photos–the space used was just known as ‘Other’.

I did a fresh restore and synced from my recent backup but that did not fix the problem. My last resort was to do a fresh restore and setup as a new iPhone, which I did not want to do. Luckily, I finally stumbled upon a solution that fixed everything with no photos or videos lost. It will also work to fix corrupt Camera Roll thumbnails.

Here’s how I solved my Camera Roll and Camera crash situation–this is a slightly advanced method so I urge you to proceed with caution. This method requires you to view your iPhone’s internal files. Do not attempt this as deleting incorrect files could ‘wreck’ your iPhone. You’ve been warned.

1. I used PhoneView to connect to my iPhone (a free Mac/PC alternative is iPhone Explorer). I then transferred off all of my photos and videos to my Mac to back them up. Highlight the “DCIM” folder (which contains all your photos) and select ‘Copy from iPhone’ (just save them to a new folder on your desktop to make it easy):

2. Next, I navigated to the PhotoData folder, backed up (just copy them to your desktop to make it easy) and then deleted the following three files (or just delete ANY of the ones you see in this list):

  • Photos.sqlite
  • PhotosAux.sqlite
(this image below is just to highlight the PhotoData folder)

You will be warned against deleting these files, but if you have them backed up proceed.

Note: In the Windows version of iPhone Explorer, you’ll have to ‘right click’ and delete.

3. Restart your iPhone. Afterwards, my Camera Roll actually launched–but no photos were shown. Be patient, as the photo library will rebuild itself and all your images should appear minutes later.

The above method worked for my situation, and enabled me to recover my photos without restoring my iPhone. If you are running into Camera Roll crashes, I would highly recommend trying the above before attempting to ‘nuke’ your iPhone.

Have you ever encountered a similar Camera Roll crash/corruption situation? How did you fix it? Let us know if this worked for you!

PS – I’ve received so many emails thanking me for this solution and you have requested to add a donation button so you can “buy me a beer”. You can do so below if you wish! Cheers.


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