Working with an Eye-Fi Card
PhotoPhile can now work as a target for your Eye-Fi card. It is easy to add both ProX2 and Mobi cards, and you can add as many cards as you have. PhotoPhile will also help you to set up your iPad to talk to the Eye-Fi cards’ networks, and to recover your normal network afterwards. You can choose to store the incoming photos in either the iPad’s Camera Roll or within PhotoPhile itself, and you can also choose how to split the incoming photos into Albums or Collections.
If you create a Publisher – or even several of them – you can automatically upload incoming Eye-Fi photos to a web service either as they are (i.e. the actual RAW or JPEG file that came from your camera), or as a screen-scale JPEG, or as a watermarked JPEG.
Adding your Eye-Fi Card
Before you can work with an Eye-Fi card, you need to tell PhotoPhile something about it. All of the controls regarding how Eye-Fi cards work are in the Settings tab, so first go there and swipe down to the Eye-Fi section.
First, we need to add the card details. Eye-Fi cards are very security-conscious and will refuse to work with an app that doesn’t already know about them. This works slightly differently depending on what type of card you have.
This type of card must be registered with Eye-Fi’s servers before it can be used. The instructions for doing this come with the card; in short, you must install some software on your desktop PC or Mac and use that to create an Eye-Fi account, then register the card to that account.
Once you have done this, enter your Eye-Fi account details into the “Account” and “Password” boxes in PhotoPhile’s Settings page and tap “Get Cards”. All ProX2 cards that are registered to this account will be added automatically. PhotoPhile stores the account details in an encrypted form (in the iPad’s Keyring) as a convenience but does not use these details except when you tap “Get Cards”. You can remove the details from the Keyring if you wish by clearing the Account and Password boxes.
Tap the Password box and enter your Eye-Fi account password.
Tap Get Cards to retrieve your ProX2 card details from Eye-Fi.
This type of card does not need to be registered with Eye-Fi before it can be used. Instead, it comes with a 10-character “activation code” on a sticker on the back of the SD-card case. This is all you need to set up the Mobi card in PhotoPhile.
To add a Mobi card, again go to the Eye-Fi section of the Settings tab. Next tap on “Add”. In the dialog that appears, enter a card name (which can be anything) and your card’s activation code. Tap on Add when you’re done and your Mobi card will be added. The activation code is checked as you type it in, and will be shown in red if it is not a valid code.
Tap on the Card Name box and enter a short name for your card.
Tap on the Activation Code box and enter your card’s activation code, from the sticker on the back of the box.
Tap Add to add the card details.
For both types of Eye-Fi card, after you add a new card you will be taken out of PhotoPhile and into Safari. This is necessary to add the Eye-Fi card network details to your iPad. Just like any other WiFi network, the cards need a network identifier and a network password before they will allow you to join their networks. By adding a network profile to your iPad, the network details are all set up for you.
The Safari browser will ask you to install this new network profile. It is shown as “unsigned”, which means that it has not been verified by an internet-based security provider. This is because the profile has been created specifically for your cards by PhotoPhile. It contains only the details of the Eye-Fi networks and their passwords and is safe to install. Tap on “Install” and then “Install Now”, and you will be returned to PhotoPhile. Your iPad should now be able to connect to the Eye-Fi card networks automatically.
Adding this network profile makes no changes to any other settings on your iPad, or to any existing network connections.
Restoring your iPad Network
There is a configuration problem between the iPad and an Eye-Fi card caused by the power-saving features of both devices. This normally means that when you use an Eye-Fi card with an iPad, with any app, you need to delete your normal home or office WiFi network details from the iPad to prevent it from disconnecting from the Eye-Fi card every few minutes. This is noted at the bottom of this article on Eye-Fi’s website.
To save your camera’s battery, the Eye-Fi card powers off it’s internal network after a few minutes. You can use the desktop Eye-Fi software to override this and make it keep the network on indefinitely, but this will drain your camera’s battery much more quickly than normal. When the network disappears, your iPad will automatically try to reconnect to any other available network that it already knows about. If you’re at home or in your studio, the normal WiFi network will be available and this reconnection will work. From this point on, to get the iPad to reconnect to the Eye-Fi card you would normally have to go into the iPad’s Settings app and select the Eye-Fi network by hand, as described in Eye-Fi’s setup FAQs.
The workarounds for this with other Eye-Fi apps, including the official one, are these:
- Delete your normal network details and then re-add them at the end of the session. This is a pain if you have a secure WiFi password.
- Return to the iPad Settings app periodically and manually reconnect to the Eye-Fi card, and then transfer all the photos that have built up since it was last connected. This means, of course, that you don’t get realtime updates and it’s also a pain to have to do this a few dozen times in a session.
- Set your Eye-Fi card to never power down it’s network. This works but reduces your camera’s battery life significantly.
Ideally we would be able to simply tell the iPad not to automatically reconnect to the normal WiFi network for a while, but Apple don’t allow this on networks that have been discovered and joined. PhotoPhile can work round this restriction by creating a special network definition for your own WiFi network that does allow you to tell it to not connect automatically. By doing this, the only extra steps you need to take are to mark your main WiFi network as “Join Manually” at the start of the session and then mark it as “Join Automatically” when you’re finished. In the meantime, the iPad will reconnect to your Eye-Fi’s network automatically and without any intervention.
To create this special network, go to the Eye-Fi section of the Settings tab and tap “Save WiFi”. A dialog will appear showing your current WiFi network name and SSID (this is a unique network identifier). You will need to enter your WiFi access point’s password. PhotoPhile has no way of checking that this password is correct, but you can repeat this process if necessary. Tap “Create” once all the details are in place and you will be asked to install a network profile. This contains the details of your own WiFi network. Tap “Install” and then “Install Now” and you should be returned to PhotoPhile.
Tap the WiFi Password box and enter your WiFi access point’s password.
Tap Install Now.
To test the new network, exit PhotoPhile and go to the iPad’s Settings app. Open the WiFi section and tap the blue “i” (for iOS 7) or the blue arrow (iOS 5 and 6). At the top of the network details page there should now be a switch labelled “Auto-Join”, set to On. You can move this switch to “Off” anytime you like. The network details will stay in place. You can join the network manually by tapping on it in the “Choose a Network” list, or switch it back to “Auto-Join” to make it reconnect automatically.
PhotoPhile does not store your WiFi network password anywhere itself. It is used only to create the new network details and then immediately forgotten. Adding the new network in this way is no less secure than having a normal, join-automatically network. The iPad remembers the password and will use it to re-join the WiFi network when needed.
If you do want to remove this network definition, you can remove it using the iPad’s Settings app.
Tap Profiles near the bottom of the General Settings.
Tap the profile, listed under “Configuration Profiles”, for the network definition you want to delete.
Tap the red Remove button.
Tap Remove again to confirm that you want to delete.
Configuring your Card
Now that you have at least one Eye-Fi card set up, you can choose how PhotoPhile will work with it.
|Enable Eye-Fi Server||This switches the Eye-Fi server feature on and off.|
|Store Eye-Fi photos in Camera Roll||Choose whether to store incoming photos in the Camera Roll, or within PhotoPhile.|
|Files to Accept||If you have a ProX2 card, PhotoPhile can tell the card that it will only accept particular filetypes. Mobi cards are only able to send JPEG files.|
|Folder Structure||Choose from several different folder layouts which include the card name and date. Albums or Collections are created automatically as new photos arrive.|
|Geotag Eye-Fi Photos||As new photos arrive, they can have the iPad’s current location added. This works regardless of the type of Eye-Fi card.|
|Geotag Accuracy||Geotagging needs the use of the iPad’s Location Services. Enabling this will mean that the iPad will switch on it’s GPS or, if it has none, the WiFi radio, to track it’s current location. This will mean extra power consumption. Increased accuracy means that it needs to update it’s position more frequently, so more power is needed. Use this option to choose how accurate your location is, and therefore how much power is used.|
Working with the Eye-Fi Card
Once you have the card correctly registered and the Eye-Fi feature is switched on, you can try sending the first photos from your camera. To activate the Eye-Fi network, take one photo and wait for 10-20 seconds. The network should now appear in the iPad’s Settings app, under the WiFi section.
You may need to disable or remove your normal WiFi network as described above. Either way, you can always connect to the Eye-Fi card network by tapping it in the list of networks when it appears. Once the network is active, return to PhotoPhile.
The Eye-Fi symbol on the tab-bar should soon begin pulsing. It may take another 10-20 seconds for this to happen because the card needs to accept the iPad’s connection first. Once the symbol is pulsing, a file is being transferred. When it has been fully received, a new folder may appear in the Collections Tab, depending on your settings. You can see the new photo by selecting the collection that is has been put into.
New photos don’t appear automatically in the grid as they are received. This is to avoid disrupting someone working with older photos. You can refresh the grid display by re-selecting the appropriate collection. If you would like photos to be displayed full-screen automatically, switch on the “Show new photos immediately” option in Settings.