UPDATE: The new version of iOS 8.1 will give you back the old Camera Roll.  Thanks to all the users that had complained incessantly and to Apple who listened to their users!  Please do upgrade to get the Camera Roll back.


Did you upgrade to iOS 8 and found out ‘with horror’ that your Camera Roll had gone AWOL and all your photos suddenly disappeared?! Yeah … me too!

Well first thing first … Don’t panic! Your photos are safe and didn’t go MIA, they are just not where you expected they should be.

So what’s going on?

What happened was that apparently Apple had decided, at the last minute no less, that they would just remove the Camera Roll from the final version of iOS 8 without telling anybody, including their developer community. The result of this stunt, as you can imagine, was a lot of curses and strong expression of disgusts being hurled towards Apple.

Early adopters were stunk with the realisation that their carefully kept photos were missing from the Albums tab in the Photos app. Many users, especially mobile photographers, kept thousands of photos in the Camera Roll so that they could easily come back to them when they need them.  For example, I had more than 3000 photos and videos in my Camera Roll.

By the way, Camera Roll was not the only feature that Apple had cruelly axed; My Photo Stream, Videos and Panoramas didn’t survive the culling either, at least not they way we used to accustom to.

Instead we are now presented with just 2 new folders. One is called Recently Added and the other one is called Recently Deleted.

iOS8 - Recently Added - Recently Deleted

iOS8 – Recently Added – Recently Deleted

If you look in the Recently Added folder, you might see ‘some’ of your missing photos that used to be in the old Camera Roll, but the chances are that you won’t find the rest.

Well, where all the photos and videos had gone then!?

Thank goodness they hadn’t gone at all!

When Apple launched iOS 7, they created a new way of browsing your iPhone photos. You can find this in the Photos tab. Three types of ‘smart grouping‘ were introduced. Each is on top of each other. You can ‘zoom in or out‘ of each type to get more detail or general view of your whole collection of photos.

The first group is the ‘Year‘. This will group all your photos into (very) small thumbnails, it looks like a kaleidoscope, according to the year when the photos were taken. Interestingly, you can actually slide your finger across the thumbnails and it will popup a bigger version of the photo, which then you can select.

iOS Photos - Years View

iOS Photos – Years View

The next grouping is called Collections. These are your photos organised by places across multiple timelines. So for example you will have photos taken in London all in one place.

Last grouping is called Moments. These are your photos taken on the same location at a particular date.

Moments is probably the closest view you can get that resembles the old Camera Roll.

Have a look there and check if your photos and videos are all there.

Unfortunately, even if Apple meant to be clever in providing us with these smart groupings, the reality was that not many users were really using it, I certainly didn’t use it much. Some users might had not realised that this views even existed.

We were all so used to look (and skim) at our photos and videos using one long line of thumbnails in Camera Roll we felt lost without it. And it’s true, in term of usability, the one united view of Camera Roll was the quickest way you can go through your collections. In addition the special folders only for Videos and Panoramas are so convenient to find only those media without going through the whole Camera Roll.

What about these new folders then?

As for the new Recently Added folder, it will contain photos and videos taken (or maybe sync) from the last 30 days only! After the 30 days these photos or videos will be deleted. It practically replaces the old My Photo Stream.

The Recently Deleted folder acts like your PC’s Recycle Bin or your Mac’s Trash, in a way that if you delete any photo or video it won’t get deleted straight away. Rather it’s being moved to the Recently Deleted folder ‘just in case’ you didn’t mean to delete it and want to recover it. You have 30 days until iOS will delete them permanently.

iOS 8 - Recently Deleted

iOS 8 – Recently Deleted – 30 days limit

Here is my biggest problem … I can’t share my old photos to Facebook!!!

The worst part is, almost all apps that can load photos and videos, which include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and many photo apps, were not coded to access Photo Collections, they were coded to access only Camera Roll and Albums!!!

As a result, for all these apps, you can only get photos from Recently Added folder, which only worth 30 days of photos, and photos that are in the albums. Alas, any other photos or videos ‘hidden’ in the Collections are not accessible.

I’m sure all the app’s dev team are working hard on this issue right now and will give you the fix in the next version very soon (bless them!).

Ok, but I want my Camera Roll Back!

Well, apart from sending your feedback to Apple Support and hope that they will work out a fix for us, here are some workarounds that you might want to try:

Add photos and videos from the Moments view to Albums

Go to Photos tab and select Moments view. Then tap on Select (top right). You can now select individual photos by tapping on them, or you can select the whole section by tapping on the Select button of the section.

If you want, select all your photos and videos, just work from the top to the bottom of the Moments view. Unfortunately there is no Select All button, at least not that I can see (let me know if you find it).

Then tap on Add To (Middle Bottom) and create a new album. You can name the album anything you want, e.g. My Camera Roll or All Photos, it doesn’t matter. Tap on the Save button, and that’s it. All your photos will be in the Album you created and also in the Recenly Added folder!

Now you can look at all your photos and videos like before. And as an added bonus they will be accessible from other app too (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)!

The only drawback of this method is that you have to do this all over again as new photos and videos are created/added, as they won’t be added to the albums automatically. It’s a pain, I know.

Get My Camera Roll App

Yes, there is an app for that 🙂  And it’s called … My Camera Roll 🙂


Using My Camera Roll app you can see all your photos as you used to be … all in one scrolling page!  You can also do a lot of functions that you used to be able in the old Camera Roll too, such as viewing them individually (with pinch to zoom), deleting them, sharing and it even has it’s own editing suite.

There are a few drawbacks however, which the dev team told me will be fixed in the next version.  In this version the order of the photos are not as they are added, rather they are ordered by date, like you have in Collections.  You also cannot create or manage Albums like the old Camera Roll.

As I said, these were promised to be fixed by the next version.  In the meantime you can enjoy uninterrupted view of your photos.

Use MyRoll App or other similar Photo organisation app

Alternatively you might want to try one of those Photo/Video organisation app. I just found one today that works totally like the old Camera Roll. It’s aptly called MyRoll and the best thing is it’s FREE!

MyRoll - Camera Roll Alternative

MyRoll – Camera Roll Alternative

In MyRoll photos and videos are added to the ‘roll’ automatically! It saves you to keep adding them to Albums like the above solution. Sweet!!!

MyRoll Gallery

MyRoll Gallery

The only downside is that is that it still doesn’t fix the issue where third party apps cannot access Moments. So unfortunately if you want to use your photos on those apps, you still need to add them to an album. At least until we get updated version of the apps.

There might be more apps out there that work in a similar way. So if you happen to come across one please don’t hesitate to share it here, we would really appreciate it.

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