Missing photos & finding hugs

Sometimes, situations come along that a technician would have to resort to drastic measures, just to keep their client happy, even when all hope appears to be lost.

Such a situation happened recently with one of our clients that was updating an iPhone 4 to iOS 5.  Long story short, the iOS 5 update went badly, Mac and iPhone locked up, and the client had to hard shutdown both devices. Mac came up fine....iPhone 4, not so much.

I was able to get the iPhone working, but 700+ photos were missing, and were never synced back to iPhoto, or backed up anywhere.  To put it plain and simple, the pictures were gone, and I was preparing to tell my very important client the terrible news.

Right before I made the dreaded "walk of shame" to my client, something grabbed my attention.  I was just about to unplug the iPhone from iTunes, when I noticed that the capacity bar, that shows what is taking up space on a connected device, kept fluctuating.  Seeing that change in size made me thing that there might be data on the phone that cannot be read/understood by iTunes and MAYBE there is data on the phone that did not get moved back to its proper location during the bad update.

So with nothing to lose at this point, I looked for a way to mount the iPhone and see the contents…without jail-breaking, of course.  I came across a freeware utility called iExplorer:

http://www.macroplant.com/iexplorer/

I was able to connect my client's iPhone to iExplorer and I started to dig through every folder on the device.  Sure enough, I came across a folder called "DCIM" that contained a folder called "100Apple."  Inside that folder, there were ALL of the missing photos from the iPhone!  I quickly copied that data to the Mac, loaded then into iPhoto, and re-synced them to the iPhone.

Now, instead of going to my client with bad news, I walked to the client with a smile, handed the phone back and said, "You won't believe this…..but I found the missing pics and they are back on your phone!"  The client's reaction was pure elation, and the hug that I received, ensured me that going the extra mile, even when there may be no clear solution, is 100% worth it.