Picturing Your Photos on the iPod
Note: this article is taken from iPod: The Missing Manual, Fifth Edition by Jude Biersdorfer ISBN: 0-596-52978-3 Copyright 2006 Jude Biersdorfer. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher, O'Reilly Media
Who needs an overstuffed wallet with cracked plastic picture sleeves to show off your snaps? If you have an iPod or iPod Nano, you can quickly dump all your favorite shots from popular photo programs like Photoshop Elements or iPhoto right onto the iPod and view them on the iPod's glossy color screen. (And even if you don't use a photo program, you just need to tell the iPod where to harvest the pictures on your computer.)
The picture-perfect fun doesn't stop there, either. Both the regular iPod and the Nano can also display your photos in mini-slideshow form, right in the palm of your hand. And if you have the full-sized iPod, you can plug it into the television set with a special AV cable and fire up those slideshows on the living-room screen. This chapter shows you how to do everything except microwave the popcorn for the big show.
What You Need to Put Photos on Your iPod
You should remember a few other things when adding images to your iPod. For one, you can't import pictures off one of those photo CDs from the drugstore or a backup disc you made yourself-iTunes needs to pull the photos directly from your hard drive. Photos stored on DVDs or CDs won't cut it.
The iPod allies itself with one computer when it comes to photos. Unlike manual music management, where you can grab songs from several different computers and drag them onto your iPod yourself, synchronizing pictures can happen only between one iPod and one computer. If you want to load photos from a different computer, all the photos currently on the iPod will be replaced with ones from the new machine.
You also can't dump photos directly into the iPod from your digital camera-you need to go through iTunes, unless you have a gadget like the iPod Camera Connector (available for $29 at
Getting Pictures onto the iPod
But first, you should set up your iTunes and iPod preferences to copy the photos you want to carry around, like so:
If you don't use any of the programs listed in the "Sync photos from" menu, and just want to copy over a folder of photos on your hard drive, select "Choose folder" from the pop-up menu and then navigate to the desired folder. You can sync just the photos in your chosen folder, or include the photos tucked away in folders inside your chosen folder, too.
Select the "All photos and albums" option if you want every single image in your photo program's library to get hauled over to the iPod. (If you don't want those bachelorette-party snaps to get copied, opt for "Selected albums" and choose only the collections you want from your photo program.)
Now, whenever you connect the iPod, it syncs the photo groups you've designated and also picks up any new pictures you've added since you last connected it. During the process, iTunes displays an " Optimizing photos…" message.
Don't let the term " optimizing" scare you: iTunes hasn't taken it upon itself to touch up your photographic efforts. The program is simply creating versions of your pictures that look good on anything from your tiny iPod screen to your TV screen. Then it tucks away these copies on your hard drive before adding them to the iPod.
Digital Photographer Alert: Storing Full-Quality Photos on the iPod
Just follow these steps:
After you sync, full-resolution copies of the photos sit happily in the Photos folder on the iPod's hard drive. (The Photos folder also has a subfolder called Thumbs that's full of iPod-optimized images all scrunched up in special .ithmb files; you can safely ignore these.)
Viewing Pictures on the iPod
The iPod pops up a screen filled with tiny versions of the pictures in the group you just selected. Use the scroll wheel to maneuver the little yellow highlight box, and then zoom along the rows until you get to the picture you want to see. If you have hundreds of pee-wee pix to plow through, tap the Previous and Next buttons to advance or retreat by the screenful.
Here are some other navigational tips:
Playing Slideshows on the iPod
Start by choosing Photos -> Slideshow Settings. You'll see a slew of options to shape your slideshow experience.
Once you've got your settings just the way you want them, select the album or photo you want to start with, and then press the Play/Pause button on the click wheel to start the show. Press the Play/Pause button again to temporarily stop the show; press it again to continue.
Your choice of music, transitions, and time per slide all match what you chose in the Slideshow settings. If you get impatient, you can also use the Previous and Next buttons on the click wheel to manually move things along.
Playing Slideshows on a TV
Now, cue up a slideshow on the iPod and press the Play/Pause button. Your glorious photographs-scored to the sounds of your selected music, if you wish-appear on your television screen. (Because television screens are horizontal displays, vertical shots end up with black bars along the sides.)
Your preselected slideshow settings control the show, or you can advance it manually with your thumb on the click wheel. Although just one photo at a time appears on the TV screen, if you're driving the iPod, you can see not only the current picture, but the one before it and the one after, letting you narrate your show with professional smoothness: "OK, this is Shalimar before we had to get her fur shaved off after the syrup incident…"
If you're showing a video, select the file you want to display on the TV from your Videos menu, and then press Play/Pause.