Recovering photos from iPod


Q: After a hard drive failure, I used your tutorial to properly recover the songs that were on my iPod and copy them back to my Mac – thanks! Is there any way to do the same for photos which were synchronized with the iPod?

– Peter

A: There are a few different possibilities here. If you had checked the “Include full-resolution photos” option in iTunes’ iPod preferences, then each image in the iPod’s photo library would have its full-size version stored in (and easily accessible from) its “Photos” folder. If this is the case, simply navigate to this folder on the iPod using Windows Explorer or the Mac’s Finder, and copy the files to your computer.

However, if you didn’t have this option checked, you’ll have a harder time recovering your photos, and you’ll never get the full-quality versions back again.

When it synchronizes photos to the iPod, iTunes creates three versions of each image: one thumbnail for the iPod’s “Photo Library” menu, one sized for the iPod’s screen, and one larger one for TV viewing. Each of these files are stored within special databases which cannot be manually viewed. However, Keith’s iPod Photo Reader for the Mac can do it easily.

Simply point the software to your iPod’s “Photos/Thumbs” folder, and it will work to extract thumbnail and TV-sized images, which can be saved as PICT files. To convert them to JPEG or another format compatible with PCs, you’ll need to use another image editor, but the ability to restore anything is better than nothing after a massive hard drive failure. Good luck!

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Jerrod H.

Jerrod was a contributing editor at iLounge. He mostly wrote articles about iTunes and iPod accessories. He was known for his in-depth knowledge of both topics and was often able to provide readers with unique insights into the world of Apple products.