iPhone 3G doesn't mount as a camera any more
July 9, 2009 9:13 PM   Subscribe

iPhone 3G doesn't mount as a camera any more (contains list of things already tried)

My iPhone (upgraded to 3.0, but has worked fine between the upgrade and this problem) doesn't do what it's supposed to do for iPhoto, or other software, to see it as a camera and import the pictures. In all other respects it seems normal.

Here's what I've tried so far:
  • soft restart
  • hard restart
  • different computers
  • different operating systems
  • different USB cables
  • different photo-import software
  • a full restore
I'd really appreciate any suggestions.
posted by AmbroseChapel to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Does /Applications/Image Capture.app recognize it?
posted by secret about box at 9:55 PM on July 9, 2009

Response by poster: No, sorry, that was one of the things I tried under "different photo-import software" but I didn't spell that out.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:19 PM on July 9, 2009

Try restoring while in recovery mode. Power the phone off, then connect it to your computer whilst holding down the home button.

It could also be that the .ipsw (iPod software) files on your computer are corrupted. Locate and delete them and the next time you attempt to restore, iTunes will download them again in their entirety. Alternatively, use another computer to restore the phone.
posted by fearnothing at 1:24 AM on July 10, 2009

Try doing a backup, and then a reset without a restore. See if that works. You can always restore later.
posted by mkultra at 5:50 AM on July 10, 2009

First thing I'd do is try to isolate whether the problem is with the iPhone or with your computer. This is easy enough--plug it into another Mac and see if iPhoto/Image Capture recognizes the iPhone the way you expect. If it does, then it's your computer. If it doesn't, then it's the iPhone.

If it's your computer, you should try deleting the "com.apple.ImageCaptureApp.plist file located in ~/Library/Preferences. It will rebuild with default settings when you relaunch ImageCapture or iPhoto. There's also a similarly-named file in ~/Library/Prefrences/ByHosts that you might try deleting.

If it's your iPhone, then you should do a software restore on the iPhone (after backing it up). If it behaves as expected with a fresh version of the iPhone software installed on the iPhone, then you know the issue lies somewhere in the software config that you just removed from the iPhone, and then you can weigh your options: restore from backup and risk moving the corruption back to the iPhone, or rebuild your iPhone profile (photos, movies, music, Apps, etc.) from what's stored in your iTunes.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 7:37 AM on July 10, 2009

There's a free program called Cameras which gives you much better control over what happens when you plug a camera (or iPhone or iPod Touch) into your Mac. It's probably worth a try before doing anything more difficult; if it doesn't help then I second mrbarrett.com's advice.
posted by nowonmai at 4:48 PM on July 10, 2009

Response by poster: mrbarret.com -- posts like yours are exactly why I posted the way I did, being very clear that it had tried some things already, and listing them carefully.

Everyone else, thank you. I'll report back.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:25 PM on July 10, 2009

"posts like yours are exactly why I posted the way I did, being very clear that it had tried some things already, and listing them carefully. "


With all due respect, your question is not nearly as clearly stated as you believe.

1) You say you've tried another computer. Do you mean another Mac? If so, running what version of Mac OS X? (Yes, it could matter). "Different versions" doesn't mean much. What OS version. What version of iTunes? Differing versions of iTunes? Differing versions of iPhoto?

2) You say you've done soft and hard restarts. Of what? The iPhone? The computer?

3) You don't say if this occurs under another freshly-created profile.

4) You don't say if this occurs with other iPhones or camera devices on your Mac?

5) Nowhere do you state that you've done any deeper-level troubleshooting or problem-isolation. I suggested that you remove/rebuild some .plist files related to the operation of the detection of camera devices. Have you tried this (ostensibly a fresh profile will tell you the same thing).

6) You don't say if you've tried back-grading your iPhone to an older version of the iPhone OS. Nor have you explicitly stated that you've even tried an iPhone OS restore/reinstall.

You have not "listed carefully" what you've tried, despite what you might think, so don't ask for help, then receive free and qualified advice trying to help you resolve the problem, and then insult the people attempting to help you.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 9:01 AM on July 11, 2009

Response by poster: I'll post this for posterity -- the only thing that worked was to do a full "Erase All Content And Settings", which you find under Settings/General/Reset.

This is, according to an Apple technician I got on the phone, the rough equivalent of reformatting the disk and reinstalling the OS. It's irrevocable, it takes about an hour, but that gets you a truly "as new" iPhone. More so than just doing "Restore" from iTunes, which as astute readers can tell, I'd already tried.

So anyway, doing that made the "mount as camera" function return.

And restoring my data and settings from backup? Made it fail again.

One day when I get some spare time, I'm going to do it again and rebuild the whole thing from scratch i.e. Erase All but then not restore from the backup but treat it as if it were a new iPhone, putting all my music and photos and apps and whatever back manually.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 12:12 AM on July 13, 2009

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