16 July 2009 @ 10:12Large Images FUBAR the iPhone Camera Roll

I showed you how to email the full-resolution images from your iPhone, but what happens when you find a large image on the web that you want to save to your iPhone or iPod touch? Naturally, you would tap and hold the image until the option appears to “Save Image” or “Copy”. Tapping “Save Image” will send that image to your Camera Roll.

PixelatedNow, go to your Camera Roll and open that image. Blurry/pixelated, isn’t it? Woah! So are all the other pictures in the Camera Roll. Zoom in and see all those pixels. Commenter York brought this to my attention.

A little testing

I tested this with an image from Matt Mullenweg’s site where he posts a lot of beautiful high resolution photographs from his Nikon D3. If you look at the image details, there is a link to the original 2832×4256 file.

I opened the full-size image on the iPhone 3G S, tapped and held, tapped “Save Image” and also tapped “Copy” while I was there. Then I went to Mail and opened a new message, and pasted the image into the body, and sent it to myself. Next I went to the Camera Roll, and to the newly saved, pixelated photo, and then copied and paste that one into a new message to myself as well.

The results: The image copied from the web arrived as a high-quality JPEG at 882K with dimensions of 2832×4256. The image copied from the Camera Roll arrived as a high-quality PNG at 1285K with dimensions of 2832×4256. Both images looked the same, but were saved differently based on how/where they were copied.

Subsequent attempts to open the Camera Roll to view photos resulted simply in a blank screen. I’m assuming that the dimensions of the image, not the file size (since the iPhone photos are approximately the same file size), are causing problems for the Photos application.

I’m not sure where the threshold is in pixel dimensions for causing this problem. I have also tested this with a photo with dimensions of 1932×2576, and it didn’t cause the above mentioned problems, so somewhere between 1932×2576 and 2832×4256 the Photos application/Camera Roll starts to get wonky.

The “Fix”: No, this isn’t a fix for the pixelated images. The fix to get your Photos application working again is to restart the iPhone, open your Camera Roll, delete the offendingly large photo, and restart the iPhone once again. Quite a dance, huh?

Let’s hope that Apple will fix this bug in the next iPhone OS update.

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Posted in bugs, iphone, ipod touch | Link to this


  1. Sam | 05 Sep 2009 @ 10:32 #

    Your right, the default viewer is crippled!

    Here is how to view high resolution images clearly:

    1. To get the image into phone, either email it to yourself, or get it from a webpage. Touch and hold on the image and click Save. It will save to the default photo library. DO NOT use iTunes to sync the image, it will downsample the image to a blurry mess.

    2. The default photo app will make the image blurry, so use an app like “Full-Res” from Big Air Software (as a disclaimer, it’s my app) to view the image. It will be displayed at the full resolution with the ability to zoom all the way in to see the details and read the text.

    I hope this helps…


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