Why is There a DCIM Folder on My SD Card?

Digital Camera Images (DCIM) is the result of a manufacturer design rule. DCIM folders appear on cameras automatically to store digital images. Flash memory cards are programmed to automatically create the DCIM folder as soon as you insert it into your device.

Hello everyone. My name is Lavelle, and I am a professional photographer and videographer. Since 2009. During this time, I have seen countless SD cards with the DCIM folder on them. At first, I wondered, “Where did this folder come from?” Then, after seeing it repeatedly I came to understand the origin of the folder.

In this article, I will explain what a DCIM folder is and why photos are automatically stored in that folder. I will also discuss the difference between DCIM and regular pictures/photos.

What is a DCIM Folder?

A DCIM folder is a Digital Camera Images Folder that stores images, photos, etc. on most electronic devices such as digital cameras, tablets, laptops, and cellular phones. 

Typically, when you open your File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) window, you will see the DCIM folder right away. By clicking on the folder, you find images that were taken on your camera, and stored in the folder on your device.

Why Are Photos Stored in DCIM?

Photos are stored in the DCIM folder because it is the secure digital card’s automatic creation where images are stored when taken. The manufacturer of the SD cards created an automatically stored location for any files created with the use of the storage device.

It is an inherent design rule that connects the card to the device. The SD card automatically identifies and stores the files that are created.

What is the Difference Between DCIM and Pictures?

In general terms, the DCIM is the result of a design rule by manufacturers of SD cards and it only stores images and files that are taken by the camera that the SD card is inserted into. Pictures are an automatic folder that is found on computers/laptops/tablets and stores .png/.jpg/.jpeg/RAW images and other files found on devices and internet sites.

The reality is that the DCIM and Pictures folders are very similar and the only difference is the origin of each. The DCIM is directly connected to the SD card and the Pictures folder is connected to devices.

Is It OK to Delete DCIM?

It is not okay to delete DCIM folders. The design rule does not allow users to delete the DCIM folder. You can, however, delete subfolders in the DCIM folder but again, deletion is not allowed for the DCIM folder itself.

Final Thoughts

The makers of secure digital (SD) cards found it necessary to create a DCIM folder – an automatic storage folder for camera images. It is a neat concept that allows users easily identify where their camera images are stored after taking photos and videos.

Do you have any questions about the DCIM folder? Leave them in the comments section below.

Until next time, enjoy your devices!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Kathy

    I have duplicate files in both the DCIM and the SD-card. Which do I delete?

  • Tracey

    I have the Samsung Galaxy s21 and I hate that it does not have an SD card slot that the pictures go on the DCIM folder are my pictures going to be safe on that until I can get them downloaded to an SD card