iPhone Photo Library Weirdness

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Leeland's picture

Why the hell would a modern device come with a sync option that starts by ERASING everything on your device? A hard disk crash or simply buying a new computer means death to anything synced to your iPhone.

When you mount the iPhone it gives you a USB drive. Marvelous! Except that drive has nothing that has been sync'd to the phone. All the music and pictures that were sync'd to the phone are hidden off in a randomized name location in a non-retrievable file format; with no way to export them back out to the originals.

This came up because I synced a small set of pictures from my office computer to my iPhone, all very well. Then I went home and wanted to put those pictures into my home picture library. Oops I hadn't set iTunes on my home computer to sync any photos. So I click on the sync button and it popped up a dialog saying "all your photos will be replaced with the photos from this computer." Um that doesn't sound like a "sync" to me. In fact this is what happens with everything else iPhone related.

This is a serious "Huh? How is this even possible?"

After a lot of research, forum crawling and pulling in bits of data from various source I come to this conclusion. The Apple iPhone to iTunes forced link is seriously flawed in design. If you fail to properly set up all the computers and the iPhone from the start you are in for serious pain. Heaven help you if you have a disk crash, or buy a new computer without proper preparations.

Now back to the iPhone "Photos" which are NOT the same as the iPhone "Camera Roll" (which is very nicely provided as a disk mount with readable files and everything.

The address of sync'd photos on the iphone is: /var/mobile/media/photos/thumbs

In the thumbs folder are a number of other folders which contain the sync'd photos. However, the synced pictures are converted to jpg files (which is one saving grace, kind of) and not kept with the same name (which would be logical). This is the same as any music you put into iTunes (which is why I avoided iTunes for years). I have my entire music library laid out in folders with good names, good structure, and good file names. Just like my pictures. When I first tested iTunes the first thing it did was wipe out months of work and locked me into it for access to any of my music. It seems they are still playing this "hey why would you use anything else to get to your media, thought processes." The result is all the folders have seemingly random names and the file named in the same manor such as:

F00 F01 F02 F03 etc

and then each picture file with the folder will be titled with some random letters such as:

AHFH.jpg BZYF.jpg CPUH.jpg etc

The problem with this is that you can't create a new folder or move pictures about without the ability to edit the "Photo Database" which keeps track of all the F00 folders and the CPUH.jpgs within, ensuring they all go to their appropriate parent folder when viewed via the camera roll.

I couldn't fathom why someone would take the time to completely destroy any organization and naming scheme in place with something entirely new (while still tracking the old scheme) just means there is twice the work to be done for everything (and I might add makes the system totally NOT friendly to other third party apps).

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