Why can't I see my phone photos on my PC?

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Android Central Question

I'm trying to transfer photos from my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to my PC. This is my first time doing so with the S21, but I have done it many times with the S7 and S9+. I plug the phone into the computer using a USB cable (one that I have used for this before, so I know it works), and make sure the USB settings on my phone are set to file transfer. I can see my phone and open it's file structure with my file explorer, but when I open the photos folder (Internal Storage/DCIM/Camera), it says the folder is empty. But I can see the 5600 pictures and videos on my phone, just not on the computer. I have tried searching a photo file name, and as far as my explorer is concerned, that file is not on my phone's internal memory. Any suggestions?
 

fletchflower

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Thanks, I'm the OP, now with an account. I've tried all my ports, both USB-C and USB-A. I have not tried a different computer, because I only have the one, but I've never had issues like these with this one before. I already have Google Photos automatically backing up my photos and videos, I just also want them on an external hard drive. I know I can download from Google Photos, but I'd really rather not if I don't have to. Especially considering I can't see ANY of my phone files, being documents, pictures, videos, or audio files. So while at the moment it's a picture/video issue, soon it will be more than that.
 

mustang7757

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Thanks, I'm the OP, now with an account. I've tried all my ports, both USB-C and USB-A. I have not tried a different computer, because I only have the one, but I've never had issues like these with this one before. I already have Google Photos automatically backing up my photos and videos, I just also want them on an external hard drive. I know I can download from Google Photos, but I'd really rather not if I don't have to. Especially considering I can't see ANY of my phone files, being documents, pictures, videos, or audio files. So while at the moment it's a picture/video issue, soon it will be more than that.
Welcome to AC!
Google drive and photos was options i thought could give you so that didn't have to fuss with connecting your phone with cables , if your set on trying to figure photos and documents with usb cable , i can help you go over lot of options to try solving this if you willing to go through it ?
 

fletchflower

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I'm definitely willing to go through with all the troubleshooting you might have. I don't have consistent access to internet for chunks at a time, so I really would much prefer to have a hard-wired option
 

mustang7757

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I'm definitely willing to go through with all the troubleshooting you might have. I don't have consistent access to internet for chunks at a time, so I really would much prefer to have a hard-wired option
Ok , lets first try safe mode on your phone , long press the power button until power off appears, then long press it on the screen untill safe mode restarts
 

B. Diddy

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Welcome to Android Central! When you say that you can see the photo files on the phone, what app are you using to explore the photos? My Files? The stock Samsung Gallery app? Google Photos?

Is it possible that you're seeing them in your Google Photos app, but they're all in the cloud, and you used the Free Up Space option in Google Photos at some point to delete all of the locally saved photos on the phone that were already backed up?
 

fletchflower

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Welcome to Android Central! When you say that you can see the photo files on the phone, what app are you using to explore the photos? My Files? The stock Samsung Gallery app? Google Photos?

Is it possible that you're seeing them in your Google Photos app, but they're all in the cloud, and you used the Free Up Space option in Google Photos at some point to delete all of the locally saved photos on the phone that were already backed up?

I'm seeing them in the stock Samsung Gallery app. I rarely actually look at Google Photos, it's just the automatic backup that I have set up for when I do have access to wifi
 

B. Diddy

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I re-read one of our previous posts where you mentioned you can't see any of the files using Windows File Explorer, not just photos, so I'm probably off base anyway. But just to be sure, if you use the My Files app to look directly in your /DCIM/Camera directory, you can see the photo files there, correct?
 

fletchflower

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I re-read one of our previous posts where you mentioned you can't see any of the files using Windows File Explorer, not just photos, so I'm probably off base anyway. But just to be sure, if you use the My Files app to look directly in your /DCIM/Camera directory, you can see the photo files there, correct?

Yes, if I go through the directory in the phone through My Files, all the pictures and videos are there. My computer can see all the folders on my phone, but none of the files. This goes for pictures, documents, videos, and audio
 

mustang7757

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Folder is still appearing to be empty on my computer, but all the images and videos are still visible on my phone in the Gallery app
Ok you have my files app permissions granted for storage? To check this long press my files app then tap info>permission>storage is checked? Also when u first connect your phone to computer there should of been a box that pop up on your device trust this computer did you allow?
 

fletchflower

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Ok you have my files app permissions granted for storage? To check this long press my files app then tap info>permission>storage is checked? Also when u first connect your phone to computer there should of been a box that pop up on your device trust this computer did you allow?

All permissions are granted for the My Files app, and my computer is trusted by my phone
 

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