I have exactly the same problem, with the difference that I use Aperture on MacOS. I found out that the apparently random sorting order in iPhoto on the iPad is the same that you can find in the photos tab in the photos application (where all the photos from all events and albums are kept in one place). Unfortunately the sorting there, and in iPhoto, does not follow any logical rule I could think of and I did not manage to find a solution to the problem. More people in the forums seem to be having it. I submitted it as a possible bug to Apple using their feedback page.
I use Aperture on MacOS and iPhoto on iOS and am frustrated by the same problem. The sorting order for photos displayed in iPhoto for iOS is so unhelpful that it might as well be random. It makes working with my photos very difficult indeed, especially with a library of many thousands.
I'm not sure whether this is intentional or a bug, so I have submitted an efficiency and workflow issue to Apple.
It would be great to see sorting, rating and comments all synced with Aperture and iPhoto for Mac OS.
Rant first, then a work-around.
This is incredibly frustrating to me and stupid for Apple.
Sheesh! Why have an app that provides a photo album when you cannot control the sort order of the photos?! All we need is a way to select, and hence change, the sort order on the iPad version of iPhoto. Who took that feature out of the specification? The software engineers and managers should be embarrased for being so lame.
The problem appeared for me because I had sorted the photos in an iPhoto album on my Mac. By rearranging the order in the album, the iPhoto app set the sort order to "Manually" (View -> Sort photos -> Manually). When that album was synced with my iPad, the photos in the album showed up in a different order (by date?). Apparently iPhoto on the iPad does not understand (or preserve) the manual sort order from iPhoto on the Mac. I guess that's a hard problem to solve :\
Here's a work around, though it appears to require abandoning iPhoto for the built-in Photos app.
Suppose you have an album on your Mac version of iPhoto and have sorted those photos in some order. You can control the sort order when the album appears on your iPad by checking the appropriate sort order in the View -> Sort photos menu on iPhoto on your Mac. This requires your sort oder to be something other than "manually".
My work-around is to rename the photos in my album so that sorting the photos by title gives you the desired order in your album, and then syncing to your iPad. This is far from perfect, and it has the side effect of permanently changing the names of the photos in your iPhoto library.
It's a bit of a chore, but here are the steps that worked for me.
- Sort the photos in the album in the iPhoto app on your Mac
- Rename the photos (change their "title") by adding a numerical prefix to the photo name. I used a four digit prefix, 0010, 0020, 0030, ... etc. Initially, the last digit in the prefix is 0 for all photos. I'm reserving that last digit so that I can insert other photos or make modest rearrangements of photos later without having to renumber all of the photos in the album. So, after adding this prefix to the manually sorted photos, the photos have names like "0010 IMG_0124", "0020 IMG_0042", "0030 IMG_1234", etc. The last part of the photo name is the original created by the camera, or some other name I gave the photo. The first four digits decide the sort order we'll use in the next step.
- In iPhoto on the Mac, select View -> Sort photos -> By titles. This should not change the sort order because the numerical prefix controls the order in which the photos are sorted by title, and you added that prefix only after you sorted the photos manually.
- Sync the album with your iPad.
- View the photos in the built-in Photos app
Note 1: The update to the album did not show up in my iPhoto app. I tried re-syncing the iPad. I tried deleting and then adding the album to the list of synced albums. I tried copying the sorted photos into another (similarly named) album.
Note 2: This work-around changes the names of the photos in your iPhoto library, which may or may not have consequences for other sorting you want to do in the library. To help with future photo management, I added a keyword to all of the photos in this album (in this case, the location of my vacation).
OK I figured it out! I didn't try this in Aperutre but here's how I did it in iPhoto:
* In iPhoto on my desktop, my sorted album is called "wedding photos". There are 200 sorted photos in it.
* I created a new album in my desktop iPhoto called "iPad wedding photos"
* I highlited all the photos in the sorted "wedding photos" album and duplicated them (in photos drop down menu) ((took about a minute))
* I then dragged the duplicated photos to the "iPad wedding photos" album.
* I then highlited all of the photos in the "iPad wedding photos" album and clicked on batch change (again, under the photo drop down menu)
* I set the date to Jan 01. 2011 (your choice) and clicked on "add 1 minute to each photo"
* I then synced my iPad to iTunes clicking on the "iPad wedding photos" under the photos menu in iTunes.
Voila! The photos are sorted by date and, consequentially, sorted the way I want.
(make sure you click on "sorted by date-oldest first in iPhoto settings on iPad)((the drop down menu where it shows the number of photos, just at the top of the grid))
P.S. The photos in the original desktop sorted album "wedding photos" still have the original dates and times AND even better, if you ckick the info button on the iPad, the original date, time and camera settings appear!
It's actually a lot easier to do than it is to read this!