Reader O.A. may be in for a measure of disappointment. He/she writes:
My hard drive recently erased and I found your article concerning music recovery from an iPod extremely helpful. I now have the even more important task of recovering my photos from my iPod. I can see that there are photo files when searching the iPod as you explained, the problem is they are in a format I have never seen before and I don’t know how to extract them. I was hoping you could help me or give me some advice on how this can be done.
I can, but let’s start with the disappointment I alluded to.
Unless you configured iTunes to back up full-resolution copies of your photos to your iPod (you’ll find the option for doing so in the Photos pane of iPod preferences) the photos on your iPod are at an extremely low-resolution—good enough for viewing on the iPod but hardly at the resolution of the original images. If you did enable that full-resolution option, you’ll find your photos inside the Full Resolution folder within the Photos folder at the root level of the iPod.
If not, and you’d still like to recover these substandard images, you’ll need a special tool to do so.
One such tool I’ve had success with is Henrik Dalgaard’s $15 File Juicer. In addition to converting the iPod’s thumbnail files to TIFF it performs a variety of file-extraction jobs, including recovering images from erased flash cards and pulling images and text from PDF files.
If you don’t need such a broadly capable tool, you can save $2 with Findley Designs’ $13 iPod Access Photo. Unlike File Juicer, it’s a one-trick pony, but if the only trick you require is getting images off an iPod, it does the job.