Tonight I plugged in my iPad, and got this error:

The iPad "pPad" cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (-50).

Error -50

  • I tried a different USB port and a different cable, but no luck.
  • Interestingly, my iPhone was fine -- no complaints.
  • Eventually, after a bunch of Google herring, I found a couple people who got this error while trying to synch photos to an iDevice.
  • I turned off all Photo synching, and the error went away.
  • Then I re-enabled Photo synch, and enabled my photo albums one by one until I found the problematic album.
  • Unfortunately it contained 584 photos, but being able to cause or avoid the problem meant I was going to fix it.
  • I created 2 new albums, A & B.
  • I copied all photos from the problematic album to A, leaving B empty.
  • I left the real (problematic) album deselected, and enabled synching for B.
  • iTunes was happy.
  • I added photos, one event or fraction of an event at a time, from A to B, and deleted them from A.
  • Eventually iTunes complained -50 again, and I started moving photos from B back to A until it was able to synch again.
  • I now knew which photo was tripping up iTunes. I don't see anything special about it -- it's just some flowers from my SD800 -- but it's here in case someone can figure out why iTunes/iPad is allergic to it.

troublesome flowers