I was baffled as to why when I connected my iPhone X to my Windows 10 PC as I normally do, I would expect to see the Import screen come up and show me all the photos I had saved on my phone so I could import them into my PC folders. But today only a small fraction of them showed up.
I learned through this forum that there is a setting in Photos called "iCloud Photos" that was somehow turned on to supposedly optimize storage on the iPhone. There was no way for me to disable that feature until I either deleted files or forced a download of other files already saved to the iCloud to my device, but it wouldn't let me even though I had plenty of space on my 128GB phone! Dummy me, I assumed my "delete files" it would only delete photos in the cloud and they would still be on my device. But after getting the stupid feature disabled I realized I had also removed the photos on my device, so now I'm left with nothing.
At least for now, any new photos I take on my phone are truly saved on my device instead of "somewhere out there". But I despise the fact that Apple automatically enabled this iCloud feature which ended up indirectly making me lose files anyway.
[Re-Titled by Moderator]