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Question: Photos disappeared from photos albums

All photos have disappeared from about half of my photo albums. The albums are still there - just no photos in them. This happened a few weeks ago. I had this happen once before, maybe a year ago, and they repopulated after a few days. I’ve been patiently waiting to see if this would happen again, but no luck. What gives? How can I get them back? I don’t think I’ve lost any photos. It’s just that the Albums are empty. I don’t want to have to rebuild all the albums!

iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular, iOS 11.1

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Nov 17, 2017 8:32 AM in response to dridley In response to dridley

What did you do, before the photos vanished from the albums? Did you perhaps sync your iPad with iTunes to sync new photos to the iPad?

This will remove all synced photos from the albums.


Are you using iCloud Photo Library and are syncing the photos library with iCloud and other devices?

Nov 17, 2017 8:32 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 8:44 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

I did nothing. I did not synch my iPad with iTunes. I have an iPad Pro 9.7, running the latest software, as well as an iPhone 6, also running the latest update - iOS 11.1.2. All photos are automatically synched between my two devices via iCloud Photo Library. Some of my albums contain all their photos. Others are just empty. My ‘All Photos’ album appears to have not lost any photos.

Nov 17, 2017 8:44 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 8:59 AM in response to dridley In response to dridley

Did you hide photos previously? Check the Hidden album.

Before the update to iOS 11 all hidden photos have been showing in the albums, hidden or not. But since the most recent update the hidden photos will tulle be hidden and only show in the Hidden album.

Nov 17, 2017 8:59 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 9:17 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

No. I have not hidden any photos and have no Hidden Album. It seems that the last time this happened, it was around the time of a major iOS upgrade. Don’t know if that is the same situation here. Honestly, to my knowledge, I have done nothing out of the ordinary regarding my Photos. One day all was good and the albums contained photos. The next the photos had disappeared from the albums. And, this occured with only about half of my albums.


Thanks for your help!

Nov 17, 2017 9:17 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 11:06 AM in response to dridley In response to dridley

Then the problem is probably caused by iCloud Photo Library syncing with more than one device. Did you perhaps enable iCloud Photo Library recently?


In my Macs the albums keep vanishing, whenever I enable iCloud Photo Library on y iPhone or iPad. I disable iCloud Photo Library on my iPhone when I go on vacation, because I do not want to have pay roaming fees when traveling abroad. That can be expensive with a large iCloud Photo Library. When I am home again, I enable iCloud Photo Library again on the iPhone to download my videos and photos, and as soon as the iPhone starts syncing with iCloud most of my albums will vanish, not only on the iPhone, but also on my synced Macs.

Nov 17, 2017 11:06 AM

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Nov 17, 2017 12:02 PM in response to léonie In response to léonie

Nothing has changed from the way it has always been. I have iCloud Photo Library enabled on both my iPad and iPhone. They synch photos with each other just fine. That has never been a problem. They both have the same issue with the same empty albums. Somehow, my complete library of photos, or at least those allocated to certain albums, is not downloading from the cloud.

Nov 17, 2017 12:02 PM

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Nov 17, 2017 12:15 PM in response to dridley In response to dridley

They both have the same issue with the same empty albums.

But that is the problem with using iCloud Photo Library. If albums get messed up on one device, the missing albums will vanish from all devices, because iCloud Photo Library will sync the changed albums to all devices.

Nov 17, 2017 12:15 PM

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Nov 17, 2017 12:38 PM in response to léonie In response to léonie

That is a good point. But, the $64K question is, how did the albums get corrupted and from which device did the issue originate, if that is what actually happened. As I stated initially, this did happen once before and somehow self corrected after a number of days. As I recall, that may have occurred around the time the new iPhones came out last year. There was talk about the heavy load of people upgrading devices that was causing syncing issues. Dunno if that was what happened then or could be happening now. However, it has been way too long this time.


The really concerning part is, could this actually erase all my photos in my ‘All Photos‘ album, thus leaving me with thousands of forever lost photos. Or, does this just impact the albums in the ‘My Albums’ section of Photos.


Here is a partial screen shot showing 8 albums. As you can see, two of them do contain photos, while 6 of them now contain zero photos. I have not lost any albums, that I’m aware of. Nor, I have lost the photos, as they are still in my ‘All Photos’ album. The photos have just vanished from the albums they were associated with.


User uploaded file

Nov 17, 2017 12:38 PM

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Nov 17, 2017 1:18 PM in response to dridley In response to dridley

The really concerning part is, could this actually erase all my photos in my ‘All Photos‘ album, thus leaving me with thousands of forever lost photos. Or, does this just impact the albums in the ‘My Albums’ section of Photos.

I never had missing photos after an upgrade, only missing albums. if you want to know, if a photo is stored in your library on the iPhone or iPad, look in the Moments or collections. For example, are the photos that should be in "Spain 2014" in the year view of Photos for 2014? "All Photos" is not stable. It keeps rearranging itself after system upgrades and the sorting of photos may change.

It is easier to check for missing photos in the moments, collections, years, that are sorted by the capture date.

If you have a computer as well, check your Photos Library at www.icloud.com in the Photos.app.

Are all photos still in iCloud? Are the albums missing there as well?

Nov 17, 2017 1:18 PM

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Question: Photos disappeared from photos albums