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I am trying to resolve an issue with a corrupted photo library on an iPhone running iOS 13. It will crash apps, as soon as you try to select older photos from the library for uploading or whatever. The library is shown empty on my mac although there are new photos in the library.

My idea is to save the remaining Photos of the phone via 3rd party tools.

In the end I like to really factory reset only the photos database. How can this be achieved? Is it possible to delete the associated database files and picture DCIM folders on the iPhone?

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    Can we assume you don’t use iCloud for anything to do with photos? The reset procedure will be very different depending on your setting choices. – bmike Oct 13 at 12:42
  • The iCloud photos area has been completely reset by Apple already. So it is kind of a fresh start. iCloud library is disabled for photos on the phone and all other devices. – itsafire Oct 13 at 18:18
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To answer my own question:

I felt brave and fired up a 3rd party tool that could access the iPhone filesystem. In the directory Media I renamed the directories PhotoData to PhotoData_old, DCIM to DCIM_old and Photos to Photos_old.

Then I restarted the iPhone. After reboot completed I checked the Media directory again. PhotoData, DCIM and Photos directory had been recreated. Photos was telling me: No photos found.

I deleted the _old directories and synced photos from a good and stable library to the phone.

The iPhone photos library is now usable.

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