Phantom Photos of Phantom Video are photos or videos that take up valuable space on your Apple iPhone even though they aren't visible in your Albums or Camera Roll. Once an Apple iPhone showed over 2700 photos and over 780 videos in the Storage Setting, but only 10 photos in the Photo App and ZERO videos in the Videos app. Also iMovie show only 1 clip in the iMovie app.
Syncing photos with an empty folder on a Mac notebook didn't provide a fix.
Emptying the longest thread of text messages on iPhone didn't work, either.
Temporarily resetting the date and time back in time worked.
1. Go to Settings >> Date & Time
2. Untoggle "Set Automatically"
3. Manually change the date back to a date that is about 1 or 2 years prior to the current date.
4. Close Settings.
5. Open "Photos"app
6. Select "Albums"
You have probably already tried to clear out everything from the Camera Roll and "Recently Deleted" folder. Your Recently Deleted folder might still show 0 photos from outside view, but when you open it, you'll see that there are hundreds or thousands of of old images in the Recently Deleted folder that weren't there before. Those are your phantom photos.
7. At the bottom you will see an option to DELETE ALL or RECOVER ALL the photos. If you are sure you have already backed up these photos, just DELETE ALL. Otherwise RECOVER ALL and then you can re-import to PHOTOS on your Mac desktop or notebook (make sure you set the date back to automatic on your iPhone first. You may have to eject your Apple iPhone and reconnect).
8. Go Setting >> Date & Time and return to automatic time setting.
9. After you DELETE ALL or RECOVER ALL and IMPORT TO MAC PHOTO (with Delete after importing checked) go back to General >> Usage >> Storage >> Manage Storage. You should see a great amount of increased memory available.
We freed 40.1 GB of phantom photos and videos that hampered an Apple iPhone 6 plus to operating with only 2-5GB remaining after "deleting" all photos and videos.
We decided to restore the 40 GB on a MacBook Pro, just to do a little investigating. Multiple video clips that were clearly recalled as having been deleted were "recovered" from Phantomland. Invisible photos and videos were taking up valuable storage space on the Apple iPhone.
Now why doesn't Apple have a method or utility that would find Phantom Photos and Phantom Videos? There should be some type of process that gives the user an alert if there are a significant greater number of photos counted in Storage Settings compared to the number counted in the Camera Roll or Photos app.
When photos or videos are deleted the sit in a Recently Deleted folder. A message at the header of the folder states something like "Photos and videos show the days remaining before deletion. After that time, items will be permanently deleted." Apparently they often go into Phantom mode after 30 days. They appear to be permanently deleted, but apparently some or all go into Phantom mode that takes still takes up memory. It is probably a good practice to use the Delete All command lower left when files are recently deleted and sent to the Recently Deleted folder. A subtitle shows the number of days until the file is supposed to be permanently deleted. No trust in that subtitle here. Use the Delete All command, lower left.