Is there a simple way to sync starred photos from Picasa to my iPhone/iPad? I don't want to sync entire photo library and I definately do not want to share them online.

So far I've been using the "Export as HTML page.." with a custom template to export starred pictures to a folder and the syncing that folder with the iPhone. However this requires some manual steps and takes a while (exporting will copy and resize pictures).

Another approach I tried is to create symlinks to starred photos in a folder (like this) and sync that with the iPhone. This also requires some manual steps but it's a bit faster to generate the folder. However, syncing with iPhone via iTunes takes a lot of time because iTunes will resize the pictures (actually it rebuilds some sort of "iPod photo cache").

I keep hoping there's a simpler way to do this!

  • Not sure this is going to be possible as you describe. Might be time to rethink your workflow—how to sync those images to your iOS devices before they go to Picasa. The more information you provide, the more help we can be.
    – jaberg
    Mar 21, 2012 at 17:59
  • @jaberg - The images come from various sources: existing photo library, several cameras, downloads. I use Picasa to manage my entire picture library and I'm very fond of it. I mark my favorites as starred and I would like to have these with me on the iPhone/iPad too.
    – Vlad
    Mar 21, 2012 at 21:01
  • Good luck. As I said, I don't think you're going to find an answer using Picasa as the central manager.
    – jaberg
    Mar 22, 2012 at 1:03
  • @jaberg - See my edits!
    – Vlad
    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:11
  • I have to confess that I've previously thought of Picasa as a web service (which I've used) and not as desktop software (which I haven't.) Unfortunately, I still don't have a simple solution for you, beyond a different workflow, but I am slightly more optimistic that what you're trying to do is somehow possible. You may have some luck automating your existing workarounds. Again, good luck.
    – jaberg
    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:29

2 Answers 2


You could set up the symlink script to run daily (or however often you possibly sync your device) to at least generate the symlink folder automatically. If you are uncomfortable writing the plists for the LaunchDeamons, you can use an app like Lingon to generate them. At this point, they may not even need to be symlinks, just a copied 'export' if you will, using the same logic.

Either way, you are still stuck doing the 'iPod Photo Cache'. I think the only reason this is slightly faster when using Aperture or iPhoto is due to them having various thumbnails and other sizes rendered, but it still takes time to process, especially the first time.

Assuming smaller files would actually process faster, you could also update the script that exports the stared items with symlinks to actually copy the files elsewhere, and then resize them using a tool like sips.

For example, sips -Z 1024 image.jpg would resize the image down to 1024x768, retaining the aspect ration (more examples can be found on this blog, or elsewhere online).

You may have to find which process works best for you and your workflow, and where the bottle neck would be. Again, if this export could be daily, outside of the actual sync to your device, that folder could always 'be ready'.

Then, you just keep your iOS device sync the same, but it can process smaller files, and you have automated most of the process. The iPod Photo Cache may also be incremental, so if these files stay the same, and then just have new ones added, only the new ones are added to the cache as well.


So far it seems the best way to do it is to run the following bat script (Windows 7) periodically:


CD \

RMDIR /S /Q starred

MKDIR starred

PUSHD starred

@FOR /F "tokens=*" %%a IN    (%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2\db3\starlist.txt) DO @(
    ::ECHO %%a
    CALL :get_path "%%a"


GOTO last

:: get file path
SET _path=%~p1
:: get file name and extension
SET _name=%~nx1
:: remove trailing backslash from path
SET _path=%_path:~0,-1%
:: trim path
CALL :trim_path "%_path%"
IF NOT EXIST "%_path%\" (MKDIR "%_path%")
PUSHD "%_path%"
MKLINK "%_name%" %1
GOTO :eof

:: get file name from a path returns the last folder
SET _path=%~nx1
GOTO :eof


This will leave me with a folder full of symlinks (C:\starred\), neatly organized in subfolders, which I will sync with my iDevices.

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