How do I transfer a specific album from my iPad to my PC?
August 31, 2012 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Trying to transfer a single photo album from my iPad to my Win7 PC. Why is this so freaking difficult?

I was on a trip and transferred a ton of photos from my SD card to my iPad 3 with an awesome $6 multi-card reader that plugs into the device. Thing worked perfectly, photos are on there.

Now I want to grab a specific album that I designated for my wife's photos to copy to my computer (there are a couple hundred photos and a few videos in it). After searching around endlessly, I can't find any solutions. I tried one of those free wifi transfer apps but it just kept crashing on me.

Thinking I might be able to access them directly, I try to go to the iPad as an external drive, but nope--the contents of the DCIM folder isn't organized by album, it is jumbled with lots of random folders like "843PCOLJ" and other assorted randomness. Seriously Apple, why does this have to be so fucking difficult? USB Memory Sticks solved this problem over a decade ago--it's called drag and drop!

So, I beg you hive mind--please give me an easy solution (which must be free) to grab a specific album in its entirety off my iPad onto my PC running Windows 7. I don't want all my other albums on there, and I certainly don't want everything from the other albums all mashed together after I spent all that time sorting them out.
posted by Elminster24 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Filesystems are as much a problem as a solution. The iPad's "filesystem" for photos is a relational database that allows photos to be "filed" in more than one album, which is why it doesn't map to the discrete drag/drop of standard file/folder storage. (Example: want an album that's just photos of Paris, and an album that's just photos of your kids, but want the photos of your kids in Paris to be in both?)

Do you use Dropbox on Windows? If so, you can upload the contents of an album via the iPad app and they'll show up on your PC.
posted by holgate at 10:23 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Do you use Dropbox on Windows? If so, you can upload the contents of an album via the iPad app and they'll show up on your PC."

Can I do an entire large (several hundred photos and a few videos) album at once with it?
posted by Elminster24 at 11:53 PM on August 31, 2012

The paid Photo Transfer app has been bullteproof for me for moving pictures and videos between my Win7 computers and my new iPad and vice versa.
posted by imjustsaying at 1:42 AM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Dropbox has a free 2Gb limit, so that would be a great option. You can also connect the iPad to the PC and itunes will sync the photos.
posted by frizz at 10:02 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I tried Dropbox overnight last night, and it is painfully slow and didn't complete. Doing this over wifi is not an option now--it just takes too long as I have too much to transfer.

How do I get the iPad to just sync the photos that are on it and copy them to the PC when I have it sync with a new folder I create? I don't want to put new photos on my iPad from my PC and I can't figure out how to get it to go the other way.
posted by Elminster24 at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pull all the photos off with Windows' native photo import (described here and sort them out by EXIF tags like creation date and the camera used? Yeah, it means re-sorting to some extent.

Use Cloudy Exporter to push the album to iCloud, then use the iCloud Control Panel for Windows to sync that way?
posted by holgate at 12:11 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry if this does not help much in the short term, but the reason it is hard, I have concluded, to do this sort of thing, having recently given up on Apple for this reason, is because of lock-down. Once the device is jailbroken and you get the right apps, things become much easier. Just get an app like Ifunbox and you can simply plug your iphone into the computer, see all the files on it, find the pics, copy them over like copying files from a thumb drive, and there you go.

Album files? I don't know, Apple may use some proprietary format. Another layer of lock down.

The time and frustration you've been through on this is the cost of a lack of freedom. The restrictions that apple puts on apps in the store are quite extensive and limit things a lot more than you'd realize. I personally have concluded based on experience, that most of the gap between what computers can do and what we can get them to do reasonably, is due to lock-down. It's why I not only decided to switch to Android, but am looking for a phone that plays nice with CyanogenMod, the even free-er and opener version of android... The more free and open, the less frustration and time wasting I always find myself suffering from.

Ironically, the reason I even tried the iphone was it's reputation for "just working". However it only "just works" when you do things the way apple has planned out for you, with their software, their way... if you can.
posted by Nish ton at 6:00 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have used DisAid successfully for transferring files and photos from my iPod. It seems to work also on the iPad - they (apparently) have a free version to try.

Based on my own experience, I'd recommend this app. It was the only way that I found to retrieve videos and photos recorded on my iPod. It also provides an "interpreter" that makes sense of the strange filesystem used by the iPod (and presumably the iPad). This does not require a jailbreak, which makes it worth using, in my book!
posted by Susurration at 3:39 PM on September 2, 2012

Whoops - that should have been DiskAid.
posted by Susurration at 3:40 PM on September 2, 2012

Album files? I don't know, Apple may use some proprietary format.

For what it's worth, the format they use is SQLite, which is public domain; Android also has a SQLite implementation available for developers. Would it be nice if Apple added something to iTunes for Windows to translate that SQLite into a pseudo-filesystem? Probably, at least for these kinds of situations.
posted by holgate at 10:27 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Why does my shell stick to my egg?   |   The rest of the world has moved on to tablets, now... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.