Europe holiday over, back home, time to see if I can transfer photos from iPad

Written by Gary on November 1st, 2010

Well, my holiday to Europe is over and I am back in Australia.

Readers of my previous posts will note the saga with issues with the Apple iPad which had hoped could be used to backup my photos as well as browse them.

I connected the iPad to my home computer, iTunes booted up as expected and although one can only view low resolution photos on the iPad, the iTunes reported 34Gb of space used in the Photos section, this would equate to all the original RAW and jpeg files which perhaps the iPad imported from the SD cards and cameras, if this is so, it would be a pity that you could not view the original resolution jpegs on the iPad, but one cannot tell what is stored in the photos section of the iPad using iTunes.

Next step in iTunes was to look at the photos sync section, so I turned this on and selected only one folder on the computer to sync with and iTunes kindly displayed a warning to this effect – new photos detected on iPad, if you select sync photos, the iPad photos will be deleted and replaced by the sync photos.

Now that is NOT what I was hoping for, so I turned off the photo sync.

Time to run iTunes sync, and as previously, it has to run backup first – readers will remember that with almost no data on my iPad but a few apps for travel, the backup process before I left took about 48 hours to run!

Well, iTunes sync has now been running almost 48 hours and step 1 of 4 (backup) only 50% complete – unbelievable!

Google search for solutions was not helpful – I had already tried all the “solutions” last time and they did not help, nor does Apple’s online manual or support docs, although they do specifically indicate that media including photos are NOT included in the backup process – the iTunes backup process only backs up settings, notes, SMS messages, contacts, application data, etc.

The simple solution is to do a factory reset of iPad to hopefully get iTunes sync/backup back to manageable times but that would not only delete all my photos and music, but all my settings I had painfully installed.

Time to look at options other than iTunes to backup the iPad.

A replacement for iTunes:

A quick Google search revealed the following options which work on Windows and are compatible with iPhone as well:

iPad backup Software:

  • the iPad File Transfer and Converter Suite appears to cost ~$US25 although when one clicks on the Buy Windows link, you get a link to buy iMac software, so I am not sure what is happening there, but you can download a free trial version and then upgrade to full version later.
  • “Can easily transfer any types of files including photos,messages, videos, contacts, and all other files”
  • “fast backup”


  • this company produces several products including iCopyBot which allows one to copy files to and from the iPad (ie to actually do a backup without using iTunes) as well as iVideoBot video converter and iYouTube for downloading and converting YouTube videos for storage on the device.
  • prices range from US19.95 to 34.95 for each product
  • the iBackupBot product does not actually do a backup but helps you read and edit the backup files created by iTunes.
  • there is also a pList Editor for viewing and editing Mac plist files in a Windows system
  • these products are for Windows only, there is no Mac version.

Emicsoft iPad Converter Suite:

  • this suite of products will cost you $US35 but includes a DVD to iPad converter, iPad video converter, and an iPad to PC or Mac file transfer for backing up your iPad files
  • alternatively, you can just get the iPad Manager Suite for $US25 which seems to include DVD, video conversion as well as file copy and iPad backup/restore functions, and ringtone creation
  • they also sell a YouTube/Vimeo video downloader for $US25

Now which one to choose?

Perhaps I will wait and see how long this backup actually takes .. stayed tuned!

Finally! …

The backup finished after 4 days!!!

So I uninstalled all the apps and backup returned to its normal 1-2 minutes, I have now installed nearly all my apps except the travel apps and the book/reference type apps, and so far, so good, backup is less than 2 minutes!


The iPad is not showing as a drive in My Computer on this Vista computer, so I still couldn’t see what photo files were actually stored 🙁

I went into the Computer Device Manager and all seems to be working fine with the Apple USB drivers installed and working.

Found the original camera photo files at long last!

I then connected it to my old XP laptop and lo and behold, the iPad did show up as a drive, and all the camera RAW files were there as well as original camera jpeg files – but jpeg files from the camera were NOT there if a RAW file had been captured at the same time!

Unfortunately, scrolling through the files in detail mode (not thumbnail mode even) crashed the instance of the computer drive window, forcibly closing down the process using Task Manager, disconnecting iPad and reconnecting resulted in no iPad showing up as a drive in My Computer!

Time for a reboot of the computer!

… seems life was not meant to be easy!


After I rebooted the computer, the iPad did show up in the Vista My Computer as a drive, and all the photos were there in individual folders which corresponded with the iPad Event structure which in effect was date photo taken.

Furthermore the original jpegs and RAW files imported from the camera and SD card were all there, and were NOT deleted by selecting iTunes photo sync to be ON.

Perhaps the iPad does make an OK photo backup system after all, although it seems very temperamental in showing up in My Computer as a drive, and this is really the only way to access these files to transfer them onto a computer.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Traciatim says:

    “Now which one to choose?”

    Get rid of the locked down toy and replace it with an actual photo backup tool and/or a netbook for portable computer usage.