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iPhone users report Voice Memo, Photos database problems

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, July 13, 2009
News Categories: iPhone

A number of iPhone users are reporting problems with the playback and syncing of Voice Memo files, as well as the access and syncing of photos taken with the iPhone’s camera. In an Apple support discussions thread, several users claim to have made recordings which are visible on the device, but are unable to be played back—while the play icon changes to a pause button, indicating the file is being played back, the slider never moves, nor does any sound come out. In some cases users were able to sync their phones and retrieve the message(s), but in others the sync removed the files from the phone entirely. Interestingly, an iLounge editor came across a similar problem with the iPhone’s Photos application, in that the phone suddenly acted as if no photos were stored on the device, and would take pictures but claim it was empty. After importing the photos into iPhoto, the app began to have trouble finding specific images, and the import did not help fix the problem on the iPhone. Another bug makes the Camera shutter button unresponsive and unable to take pictures. It is possible that these issues are unrelated, however, it is also possible that a bug in the way iPhone OS 3.0 handles saving files to its media databases may be to blame. [via MacNN]

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Comments

1

I’ve had all sorts of problems with Voice Memos.
Memos are synchronized twice in my iTunes, so I always have to delete the second copy.
That “non-playing” issue has also been present on my phone, although the file appeared correct on iTunes.

And last, I have seen an incredible amount of people complaining about an error 13019 when synchronizing. I was able to track it down to a faulty Voice Note, so I stopped synchronizing them back to the device

Posted by Korpil on July 13, 2009 at 11:36 AM (PDT)

2

I tried out the voice memo for a couple of short tests and it worked OK, but a 20 minute recording stalled it out. I can’t email it as it says it is too large and I can’t play it back, I just get the spinning beachball.
I hope they’ll fix the issues as this crippled functionality is not consistent with the other native apps.

Posted by RCB on July 14, 2009 at 12:16 PM (PDT)

3

I have a 2:42 voice memo I really want to get onto my Win XP laptop.  I can play it fine on the iphone, but it WILL NOT sync via itunes. Any good ideas how to extract it without having to jailbreak the phone ?

Posted by Mark on July 28, 2009 at 11:10 AM (PDT)

4

When I first tried voice memo playback it worked.  Now there are 10 voice memos stacked up and none will replay.

Posted by Steve Sovern on September 10, 2009 at 8:52 AM (PDT)

5

I found out that if I restart the iPhone after I record a voice memo. It will play on my iPhone and sync to my iTunes library. If I don’t restart the iPhone the recording will be deleted when I sync and nothing happens when I try to play it.

Posted by Helgi Hrafn on January 27, 2010 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

6

I just spent 20 minutes making recordings for a client and lost them when I tried to sync them with iTunes. Short test files worked fine last night, but the three longer recordings (5, 5, and 10 minutes, approximately) were deleted on syncing.

Posted by John Ring on March 10, 2010 at 2:41 PM (PDT)

7

I’m losing voice memos when syncing. VERY frustrating!!!

Posted by Wendy Johnsen on April 17, 2010 at 11:24 PM (PDT)

8

Helgi,

Thank you so much for the tip of restarting the iphone to keep the voice memo.  I have lost so many voice memos trying to sync to itunes.  Super frustrating!  You found the fix-it-loop, thank you!  Maybe the same thing, restart after updating contacts might also fix the problem of losing contacts when syncing, which happened to me last week—-I lost all of my contacts when I synced and it asked me if I was sure I wanted to replace more than 5% of my contacts.  Anyhow, I am grateful for the fix and will try it.

Kally

Posted by Kally on April 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM (PDT)

9

When I turn airplane mode on I do not seem to have this problem. With airplane mode off, I have the problem exactly as described although it is intermittent. I put the phone in airplane mode while recording because I don’t want my recording interrupted and my memos play back fine. Due to the randomness of the bug this could be conincidence, but it may be worth trying. (Don’t forget to turn off airplane mode when you’re done!)

Posted by Dennis on April 23, 2010 at 8:08 AM (PDT)

10

help I just updated my Iphone My memoes of my mom that just died did not sync or back up i am sick about this

Posted by diane on July 3, 2010 at 6:42 PM (PDT)

11

I spent two hours interviewing a rabbi in his 80’s for a project at work. I thought, what a great idea, use your freaking iPhone voice memo… SOOO convenient. AHHHHHHH! I just tried to sync this morning and it is GONE!

I found a thread about it - discussion.apple.com

This Phone View - http://www.ecamm.com/mac/ - I FOUND THE LOST FILES! You have to buy it, download, then go to settings, show entire disk, and then recordings. They aren’t m4a’s, they are mov’s but they WORK!!!!!!! THANK G-D!!!

This is one of the most fatal flaws that the iPhone could have had. To record something that is irreplaceable and then lose it without warning?!

Posted by Talia on July 7, 2010 at 8:02 AM (PDT)

12

My iPhone when it attempts to sync, it gets stuck on a file saying “Processing (then a bunch of numbers).m4a” and it never gets off that and it doesn’t sync anything i tell it to sync from my library.

I’ve got something important I need to get off my voice memos and onto my itunes soon and I just dont know what to do.

It’s irritating, I can’t take voice memos off my iPhone, I can’t get new songs on my iPhone, this sucks!

Posted by Eric on July 10, 2010 at 1:38 PM (PDT)

13

I’m having a similar problem with the voice memo feature after upgrading to OS4. iTunes syncs the phone, and copies the files to my drive as .m4a’s but then gets stuck “processing” them. I have to shut down iTunes and start over, delete the voice memos, then it syncs fine. It actually copies the files to my hard drive, but I have to then manage them manually.

The error I have now is that I tried to trim one and email it to myself, and somehow it’s stuck somewhere as it keeps downloading that file but never finishes. So I may be looking at a restore to get my phone able to sync again.

Sadly, it does all this before backing up any new app or music purchases. So I may lose those.

Posted by RC-DC on July 23, 2010 at 10:03 PM (PDT)

14

Update:

I found a very cool program (for both Windows and Mac) called iPhone Explorer from Macroplant. Not only is it freeware, but I was able to find the corrupt “trimmed” voice memo and delete it. I also found the master voice memo (as a .mov) that wasn’t playing (as a m4a file in iTunes or as a voice memo on the iPhone—it had downloaded but never processed). That corrupt voice memo was the only thing preventing the sync process from completing.

I’m guessing this is a similar program to those mentioned on this and other forums, but being able to explore the phone and remove problem files really helped avoid a system restore. And even recover what I thought was a lost voice memo file. Very cool.

Posted by RC-DC on July 24, 2010 at 7:33 AM (PDT)

15

had same voice memo sync problem (stuck at processing… m4a). The issue is that some voice memos are corrupt (the ones that was stopped when battery runs out). My solution was to identify the corrupt voice memo date and time from the file name of the stuck “processing” m4a file. Then delete the file from iphone. Restart itune and the sync progress without issues.

Posted by ngblue on August 8, 2010 at 3:02 AM (PDT)

16

The iphone explorer by Macroplant worked for me on this issue. I was able to look up the offending .m4a file under recording and delete it. After that everything went well.

Posted by Noel on August 11, 2010 at 9:21 AM (PDT)

17

THANK YOU ngblue.  I was so frustrated I was ready to throw my iphone out the window.  Deleted my voice memos and problem solved.

Posted by buckethead on August 16, 2010 at 3:33 AM (PDT)

18

Same problem many others reported. Make a voice recording, and sometimes it saves (most of the time), sometimes it doesn’t. Very frustrating because this never happened until after system 4.02.

I have tried the restarting iphone, and always the voice memo is lost. E.g. today, I recorded a 5 minute memo, it showed 5 minutes in the queue, but never finished processing, even after 20-30 minutes. Restart iphone and it showed the memo, but wirh “0 minutes”.

Does 4.1 fix this?

Posted by Kauilapele on September 10, 2010 at 6:08 PM (PDT)

19

Found this thread by Google. I’ve got an 18-minute Voice Memo which I can listen to on the iPhone no problem, but can’t get it off there — apparently it’s too big to email, and it just doesn’t sync to iTunes. (Yes, the “Sync voice memos” box is ticked; I even tried unticking it, syncing, then re-ticking it and syncing again, but no joy).

I’ve turned the phone off by holding the top button and then swiping the red “turn off” swiper on screen; makes no difference when it’s turned back on.

I’ve just turned it off by holding down both buttons until it switches off; also makes no difference.

Next step: I’m currently on iOS4.0.2, so I’ll install the upgrade to iOS4.1 and post again here in a couple of hours when it’s finished playing with itself.

Posted by timsk on September 12, 2010 at 6:51 AM (PDT)

20

Further to my post above, I’m now running iOS4.1 on my iPhone 3G, and it has made no difference to this issue.

I still have an 18-minute memo on the iPhone that simply doesn’t sync across to iTunes.

As a test, I recorded another memo, just 4 seconds long, but that too fails to sync.

Posted by timsk on September 12, 2010 at 7:35 AM (PDT)

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