Recovering photos from iPod

Q: Does anyone know how I can open the photos from my iPod on my PC? I had to reformat my computer and lost all my pictures! I have them on the iPod but can not open the ithmb files! I have tried Tansee iPod Transfer Photo however the pictures are not very good quality (the pictures were not stored in Hi Res on the iPod).

– Jesse

A: Tools such as Tansee iPod Transfer Photo and Findley Designs iPod Access Photo will work to recover photos from your iPod back to your computer, but chances are that Tansee is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing and the quality you are seeing is about the best you are going to be able to get from your iPod.

iTunes “optimizes” photos before transferring them to the iPod in order to save space, pre-resizing the photos to resolutions appropriate for the iPod model in question.

On iPod models without TV output capabilities, such as the first and second-generation iPod nano, the photos stored on the iPod will be too small to really be of any practical use, since the 1G/2G iPod nano had a very small, low-resolution screen. The full-size iPod models (iPod photo, 5G iPod, and iPod classic), as well as the third and fourth-generation iPod nano models all support TV output capabilities, and therefore store photos in a resolution of approximately 720×480, although the actual specific size depends on the original aspect ratio of the photo.

To put this in perspective, however, a 720×480 photo works out to about 0.3 megapixels—far lower than even most of the very earliest digital cameras.

iTunes does offer the option to Store Full Resolution photos on traditional iPod models, in which case an additional exact copy of the photo is stored on the iPod that can later be recovered by accessing the iPod via Windows Explorer or Mac Finder as an external hard disk. If these photos are present, they will be located in a FULL RESOLUTION folder under the main PHOTOS folder on the iPod itself.

However, unless you chose the option in iTunes to store full resolution photos on your iPod before you lost the original photos, the resized 0.3 MP photos are going to be all you can get back from the iPod.