Photo resolution on the iPhone

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?

– Patrick

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.

Photo resolution on the iPhone

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.


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