If you are a user of iPhoto and synchronize your photos to your iPhone or iPad via iTunes, at some point you will run into the frustration of the sync not working properly. Either iTunes will sit and churn f-o-r-e-v-e-r or the sync will simply not happen and you will get a lovely error message stating that the sync service could not be started. It can be frustrating, especially if you have a large iPhoto library. Fortunately there seems to be a way that is quick an easy to get around this problem by deleting iPhoto’s iPod Photo Cache directory. After the break I’ll go through the steps on how to delete the iPod Photo Cache in iPhone which I have found always seems to have fixed any sync issues I’ve had with iPhoto and my iPhone and iPad.
As with any how to, this is done at your own risk as you are deleting files on your system. Use this how to at your own risk and no claims against AlliOSNews can be made for it not working or for lost data. Always make a backup of any files or folders you are moving or deleting prior to beginning any how to tutorial.
The first and most important step is to make sure that both iPhoto and iTunes are shut down on your Mac. This is particularly important in Lion as these apps run in the background even when you tap the Red X. Go into each app and do Command+Q to really quit each app.
Second, open Finder and navigate to your Pictures directory. Here you will find a file iPhoto Library (that is the default name. If you name it something else you will still see the familiar iPhoto icon)
iPhoto Library Location (Click to Enlarge)
Next, Secondary Click (or Right Click) the iPhoto Library file and select “Show Package Contents”. Remember that the iPhoto library file stores all of your photos and videos that you see in iPhoto but also the master files for each of them, cache information (which is what we are interested in here) and file location information for the app itself. Think of it as a simple database.
Show Package Content on the Secondary Menu (Click to Enlarge)
When you open up the file content you will see several different files and directories. The one we are interested in is named iPod Photo Cache. Do not delete or move any other files or folders! Doing so could cause your iPhoto library to be corrupt an unreadable! Select the iPod Photo Cache folder and drag it to your trash.
Deleting iPod Photo Cache (Click to Enlarge)
So what exactly does the iPod Photo Cache folder do? Essentially it is the storage location of optimized versions of your photos for your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Now to be fair, this folder is actually created by iTunes in the iPhoto Library package when you chose to synchronize your photos with your devices. That means that if you use Aperture for example, you will find the same iPod Photo Cache directory in that Aperture Library just as you would in iPhoto.
Once you have deleted the folder, close Finder and reopen iTunes. Make sure that you have chosen to synchronize your photos and click Sync. Depending on the number of photos you are syncing, this can take several minutes or several hours. At this point iTunes will re-create the iPod Photo Cache folder in your iPhoto library, re-create the optimized images and sync them to your device.
Syncing pictures from iPhoto in iTunes (Click to Enlarge)
In my experience I have found this always solves sync issues with my devices and iPhoto. If you run into challenges, give this how to a try to see if it solves your challenges as well.