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How to Repair a JPG File on Mac

If you have a JPEG (.jpg) file on your Mac that appears to be corrupted or damaged, you can try a few methods to potentially repair it. Here’s what you can do:

1. Open with Different Applications

Try opening the JPEG file with different photo viewers or image editing applications such as Preview, Photos, Adobe Photoshop, or GIMP. Sometimes, one application may be able to handle the corrupted data better than others.

2. Convert the File Format

Using an image converter or an image editing application, try converting the JPEG to another format like PNG or TIFF, then convert it back to JPEG. This process can sometimes eliminate corruption that’s causing the display issues.

  1. Open the image in Preview.
  2. Go to File > Export...
  3. Choose a format (like PNG) and save the file.
  4. Open the newly saved file and then convert it back to JPEG.

3. Use Terminal Commands

There’s a command-line tool called jpeginfo that can provide information on the integrity of JPEG files and can also strip corrupt data from them.

To install it using Homebrew (you’ll need Homebrew installed first):

  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. Type brew install jpeginfo and press Enter.

Once installed, you can check the integrity of the JPEG file by typing:

jpeginfo -c /path/to/file.jpg

And to try and repair it:

jpeginfo -c -o /path/to/newfile.jpg /path/to/file.jpg

Replace /path/to/file.jpg with the actual path to your JPEG file.

4. Use Disk Utility

Disk Utility can’t repair JPEG files directly, but it can be used to repair disk permissions and verify and repair the disk, which might indirectly fix file system issues causing problems with files.

  1. Open Disk Utility from the Applications > Utilities folder.
  2. Select your disk from the sidebar.
  3. Click on First Aid and then Run.

5. Restore from Backup

If you use Time Machine or another backup system, try to restore the JPEG file from a time when it wasn’t corrupted.

6. Try Online Repair Services

There are online services that offer to repair corrupted JPEG files. Be cautious with these services, especially if the image is sensitive, as you’ll be sending your data to a third-party.

7. Use Professional Software

There are professional-grade software tools designed specifically for photo recovery and repair that you might find helpful. Stellar Phoenix JPEG Repair and JPEG Repair Toolkit are examples, but they usually come at a cost.

Precautions and Considerations

  • Always keep backups of important files, including JPEGs.
  • If the JPEG is important, make a copy before attempting any repairs.
  • Avoid using the JPEG file and writing new data to the disk if you think you might need to use a recovery service, as this can overwrite the data and make recovery impossible.

Unfortunately, if a JPEG file is severely corrupted, it may be beyond repair. However, trying these methods can sometimes yield good results for minor corruptions.

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