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Looking at the album index in the Photo app, it seems that the photo used as the album cover is picked randomly. Is it possible to change the picture that is used as the album cover?

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In my experience, the cover photo is simply the first photo in the album. When you're within an album, hit the button in the upper-right corner to manipulate the photos; then tap and hold a photo until it "inflates," at which point you can drag it to move it around. You'll just have to be happy with your album cover being the first photo in the album.

(Edited to clarify the tap-and-hold gesture.)

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I don't seem to be able reorder the photos on an iPhone 4S or iPad 2. I can only tap to select which would let me add the photo(s) to a new or existing album. –  Rebecca Chernoff Nov 22 '11 at 5:30
    
I'm using an iPhone 4 with iOS 5.0.1, and since those devices ship with iOS 5, they ought to be able to do it. –  L2G Nov 22 '11 at 5:37
    
Understand that when I do this, I have to tap and hold a photo until the thumbnail "inflates" slightly, which is the cue that it's ready to be moved around. It's similar to moving icons around on the home screen, except I don't have to hold a photo for more than a moment before it lets me move it around. –  L2G Nov 22 '11 at 5:42
    
That's what I've been trying, but it doesn't inflate. If I tap, then it gets the checkmark and becomes selected, but tap+hold doesn't do anything. Hrm. –  Rebecca Chernoff Nov 22 '11 at 5:57
    
I think I figured out the problem. You can't reorder "Camera Roll" photos. Only photos in albums you've created can be reordered. The "Camera Roll" cover photo will always be the newest photo you've taken. –  L2G Nov 22 '11 at 6:01
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Hold down the photo you want to be the cover, copy, then paste over the top of the first photo in the album to make it your cover.

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Your albums that are synchronised with your iPad are also in iPhoto. Open the album that you want to change the photo cover for and reorganise your pictures so that they are how you want them to be displayed in your iPad. Your iPad will display the pictures in the same order as they are listed in iPhoto.

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