View Your iPhoto Library From Your iPad [UPDATED]

by Matt Long

Announcing PhotoGrab for iPad! I wrote this little utility app that allows you to browse your iPhoto library shares across your wifi network and download and save either a hi-res version of your photos or a version resized especially for display on iPad. It features multi-download as well as a slideshow mode. Just share your photos from within your iPhoto preferences sharing tab and you will be able to access your photos across the network from your iPad.

I wrote the app because I don’t sync my iPad with the computer where we store all of our photos, but from time to time I like to grab a photo from the iPhoto library without having to sync.

I just submitted a new point release that fixes a few crashers and other bugs to the App Store, but go ahead and take a look at this one and let me know what you think.

Free Promo Codes!

Just for the readers of this site! If you’re interested in the app, send an email to promocodes at cimgf dot com with the subject line PhotoGrab Promo Codes. I will send an email containing a promo code to the first 50 I receive (since the Apple only issues 50 of them per version). Be patient with me as I will be responding manually as I receive the messages. It will be first come, first served. Otherwise, check it out in the App Store. Promo codes are only valid in the US App Store.

Update on Promo Codes

I have received a lot of email requests for promo codes and will be sending them to the first 50 by the end of the day today (06/23/2010). If you do not receive a code by the end of the day, you were not in the first batch. When the next release hits the App Store, I will have another 50 at my disposal and will send those to the next group. Thanks for your interest.


Andy W says:

Just downloaded it and looks very cool. However, doesn’t seem to work with password protected libraries, which isn’t mentioned anywhere. Fix on the way?

myoung says:

I love the idea of this app. However, I keep all my photos in Aperture libraries. My wife keeps photos in an iPhoto library. I wonder if a future release could extract photos from either or both. Thanks.

Matt Long says:


Unfortunately, Aperture does not support the iPhoto protocol so implementing this isn’t as simple as I would like. I am, however, planning to build an Aperture plugin that will implement the iPhoto protocol so that you can share between iPhoto, Aperture, and PhotoGrab.


myoung says:

Interesting. I should have thought that Apple would have an easy way to implement Aperture downloads. When you chose to synch photos on the iPhone or iPad, you have the option of all or albums from either iPhoto or Aperture, but curiously not from both. Hmmm.

timbeynart says:

I have scoured the developer documentation at apple.com and can find nothing on an iPhoto API or SDK. I want to learn Obj-C (I am a developer) and basically replicate your app, but am surprised at how little information there is for working with iPhoto. Do you have any hints? I assume I need to use Bonjour to connect, but after that I am clueless!

Matt Long says:

@timbeynart The iPhoto protocol is unpublished. There are no Apple docs for it.

timbeynart says:

Thanks Matt, that explains the dearth of info online. I will parse the library data directly from the filesystem and skip iPhoto altogether.

StuFF mc says:

Hey Matt I’m just stumbling upon this. As every developer probably ever heard at least once : “I had the exact same idea for an app” ;-) But as the same developer hopefully heard just after “I’m glad you’ve done it already” ;)

Would you have a promo code left for me? I’d love to speak about it on either my website http://pomcast.biz or my twitter @stuffmc – speaking on which, who are you on twitter?


Matt Long says:

@StuFF mc Unfortunately at the moment all of the promo codes for the current version have been taken or have expired. I will let you know the next time I have some available.

Best regards.

spikemusic says:

I have several iphoto libraries on a NAS drive, will this app work to ‘link’ them and thus allow me to choose which library i want to open on my ipad?

Matt Long says:


If you can share the library from the sharing tab in preferences, then PhotoGrab will be able to see it. However, iPhoto can only share one library at a time, so you wouldn’t be able to select a different library on the fly. Is that what you mean?


spikemusic says:

sort of,I have 4 or so libraries on my NAS, I would like for my wife to be able to open them on her ipad and choose photos, etc. it sounds like I would have to have my macbook pro on and open and specially share one library – is that right?

spikemusic says:

i have filebrowser and can ‘see’ the photo files perfectly but there is only chronological order to the folders, no albums or events, etc