Q: I was hoping you could help me with a query I had about the photos application on the iPhone. I’ll be buying one in about a week, but I’d heard that iTunes resizes all photos to fit the iPhone screen. At first I was hugely disappointed in what seemed like a ridiculous idea by Apple, particularly since there wasn’t a ‘Don’t optimise images’ checkbox in iTunes. However reading your story about photos on iPods and iPhones I learned that iTunes actually transfers 3 versions including 1 sized specifically for TV output. Is this larger version also used on the iPhone screen as well? Thinking about it, having a 320×480 photo only on the iPhone would make zooming in a bit pointless seeing as no extra pixel information is there. So basically, I’d like to ask… does this TV version get used on the iPhone when zooming in?
A: In the case of the iPhone and iPod touch, there is only a single image in a 640×480 resolution that is used for both TV Output and on-screen display. The other image sizes are for thumbnail display purposes and sending photos via the e-mail application on the iPhone. Although the native screen resolution of these devices is 320×480, as you have surmised the “zoom” feature necessitates the larger-sized image.
In fact, the iPhone did not offer any TV output options until the v1.1.1 firmware was released in late September. Therefore, originally the 640×480 image was stored and used only for on-screen display. When TV output capabilities were introduced, the existing 640×480 image was simply used for this purpose as well.
More information can be found in our article, The Complete Guide to Displaying Photos on the iPod and iPhone.