iOS 5 – iPhoto albums won’t copy to iPad 2

After upgrading all my iGadgets to iOS 5, I couldn’t sync a photo album of our trip to Peru ,with the iPad. There were pics from three different cameras (iPhone, Nikon, and Samsung) but only the iPhone images were transferring.

I tried a number of web recommendations without success.

  • Make sure the image file extensions were acceptable to the iPad. – All had .jpg extensions.
  • Restore the iPad using iPhoto. – I did this twice. First, including the restore from backup. Second, as a new iPad.

I decided that the problem wasn’t with the iPad, unless it was hardware which didn’t seem to fit. That meant, it must be with either iTunes or iPhoto. It should be noted that I had decided to upgrade to OS X Lion, earlier in the week. This upgrade added another variable to the troubleshooting. (Installing Lion included its own set of issues, especially with Mail. I’ll try to post some notes on that later.)

What finally worked was deleting the “iPod Photo Cache” folder from “iPhoto Library” package.

  • Quit iPhoto and iTunes.
  • Use the Finder to navigate to your “iPhoto Library”.
  • Control-Click on the “iPhoto Library” package and select “Show Package Contents”.
  • Remove the “iPod Photo Cache” folder. Move it to the Trash.
  • Restart iPhoto and iTunes.
  • Re-sync the iPad from with iTunes.

Although I haven’t fully research why this fixed my problem, I have a theory.

iPhoto and iTunes work together to keep track of what photos are on your iGadgets. This tracking information is maintained with the “iPod Photo Cache” folder and is intended to speed-up iTunes-iGadget syncing. Somehow, what was actually on the iPad vs. what iPhoto “thought” was on the iPad didn’t match. My guess is that it’s related to transferring my photos to iPad, using the SD card adaptor, and then importing them to iPhoto from the iPad. This is in contrast to the images from the iPhone being transferred directly to iPhoto.

Clearly, iPhoto figured the SD card photos were still on the iPad, when they had actually been removed. So, iPhoto didn’t need to transfer new copies.

What would be especially nice is for Apple to provide an option to “completely” re-sync all the photos on the iPad, including Albums and Events from iPhoto and imported SD card photos.. This may have been left out since “imported” SD card photos may not have been transferred to iPhoto. Of course, after importing iPad-SD photos into iPhoto, you’re given the opportunity to delete them. If you don’t, there doesn’t appear to be a good way to remove them from the iPad.

  • Start a new iPhoto Library, import the photos again, and delete when given the chance.
  • Delete them from within the iPad Photos app.

A side note: My iPad / iPhoto relationship was a bit schizoid in general. After importing photos stored on the iPad, and removing them, some would reappear on the iPad as shown in iPhoto. All seems better now though I’m not sure which of the “fixes” I applied straightened thing out.