How to Open Ithumb Files

By James Highland

The ithumb file format is used by Apple iPod devices to store photos. While they are designed by the manufacturer for use on an Apple hardware device only, it is nonetheless possible to work around this limitation thanks to a variety of third-party software. The .ithmb file extension denotes this particular format. Because these files are designed for use on a hand-held device, they are typically lower resolution than photos from something like a digital camera. Depending on the device, the resolution varies and can be as small as only 30 pixels.

Step 1

Investigate the software options for your operating system. Devices made by Apple are responsible for the creation of ithumb files, so most software designed to read these files is only available for MacOS computers. There are some alternatives available for the Windows operating system, but they are not usually free. XPlay is a program for Windows that efficiently manipulates all the files on an iPod. The software can be downloaded and demoed for free, but it requires a payment for long-term use (See References 3). MacOS users can use Keith's iPod Photo Reader for free.

Step 2

Download and install the appropriate software for your operating system. The process will vary depending on the program you choose. Double-click the downloaded file and follow the onscreen instructions to complete installation. Most programs that work with ithumb files are small and install quickly.

Step 3

Browse the computer or iPod to locate the ithumb files. XPlay integrates with Windows to make this process similar to general Windows file management. The program provides a common folder window view that lists all ithumb photos.

Step 4

Double-click an ithumb file to open and view the picture.

Step 5

To transfer the ithumb files between your computer and Apple device: If using XPlay, choose "Send to iPod" from the context menu of any file, including ithumb files. If using Keith's Ipod Photo Reader, first load the ithumb file onto the program's Work Bench. A sample image representing the ithumb file will immediately appear, which may look garbled. The program requires a perfect combination of settings to get this sample to display correctly. Adjust the image dimensions as desired, then, through trial and error, cycle through the options for the "endian" setting as well as the encoding method until the sample image appears correctly. Click the "Open All Image in File" button to process the ithumb file and open it.