Are you unable to access JPEG photos stored on your Mac disk or volume? Are the JPEG files in iPhoto on Mac show grey triangle or the pictures appear distorted?

JPEG is a popular and most convenient image format. It occupies less space and is easy to transfer across various storage media and platforms. Most important, the compressed image format doesn’t degrade the photo quality.
These are the reasons, JPEG file format is considered ideal for storing photos, especially by home users.

But technical hiccups are unavoidable.

You may have stored hundreds of family and friends photos in your Mac Photo Library. And suddenly one day you find the pictures in the carefully created folders on Mac are greyed-out, color damaged, unreadable, grainy, or throw JPEG errors. These signs indicate your JPEG photos have corrupted.

Naturally, you are frustrated, as who wants to lose his or her precious photos.

So why all of a sudden, JPEG files get damaged?

Stored on Mac disk or volume, JPEG files can get corrupt due to several reasons. Quiet possible, your camera SD card or pen drive is virus-infected that corrupted the JPEG photos. A sudden interruption during photo transfer from camera or SD card to Mac can also damage the JPEG file header.

Here are some of the common reasons for distortion or damage in JPEG file:

  • Photos did not transfer, download or copy completely.
  • Sudden shutdown during file transfer or download.
  • Removable media or disk is corrupt.
  • Mac drive, SD card, USB, or memory card etc. is physically damaged.
  • Firmware corruption

How to repair corrupt JPEG files on Mac

Photographers always rely on a professional photo repair tool, when it comes to repairing of corrupt image files. A photo repair software is an assured solution that can fix unlimited corrupt JPEG files on Mac.

There are plethora of JPEG fixing tools but not all show the desired results. Carefully choose a professional photo repair tool that is capable to fix JPEG corruption in your photo.

Method 1: Repair corrupt JPEG with a professional photo repair software

Using a software repair is a best approach to fix corrupt JPEG files on Mac. There are several JPEG repair tools available online but not all support macOS. Here we recommend Stellar Repair for Photo. It is an advanced JPEG repair software available with a Mac version, which can fix all kinds of issues in JPEG file including the complex corruption cases.

You can repair corrupt JPEG file header, corrupt data, invalid JPEG file structure, invalid JPEG marker etc. and make the unreadable, distorted, greyed-out, color damaged, pixelated, grainy or JPEG errors giving photos perfect again.

In case your JPEG pictures are severely corrupt, the software automatically recommends ‘Advance Repair’. This feature on Mac, uses a sample ‘healthy’ JPEG file from the same camera as the corrupt file to fix the complex corruption. The photo repair software also extracts thumbnails from the corrupt photos.

It works on corrupt JPEG images from all types of cameras — DSLR, GoPro, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.

Further, you can repair multiple damaged JPEG files at a time using the software.

Steps to repair corrupt JPEG files on Mac using Stellar Repair for Photo

  • Download and launch Stellar Repair for Photo on your Mac.
    Stellar Photo Repair Software
    Figure: Main interface of Stellar Repair for Photo
  • On the main interface, click Add File to add corrupt photos from Sony A9II.
  • Click Repair.
    Selected corrupt images list appears in software
    Figure: Selected corrupt images list appears in software
  • Preview the repaired photos and click Save Repaired Files. Save the repaired photos at a desired location.
    Figure: Save the repaired photos

The software repairs corrupt JPEG and RAW files from the Sony mirrorless camera and saves them in JPEG format

Method 2: Repair corrupt JPEG files using Hex Editor on Mac

Hex editor software can repair corrupt JPEG file header. The tool displays the binary data of the image file, byte by byte. You can compare the binary information of a corrupt JPEG file with a healthy file and fix the photo corruption issue.

However, unlike a photo repair software, they are not so simple. In order to repair damaged JPEG photos with any Hex Editor, you should be proficient with hexadecimal and binary digits in a file.

Some common Hex Editors for Mac that you can try are, OxED, and Hex Fiend.

Tips to protect your JPEG files from corruption on Mac

  1. Frequently use Disk Utility on your Mac. It checks and fixes the issues related to macOS volumes and removable disks. The program even suggests replacing the disk if the disk or volume can’t be repaired.
  2. In case Disk Utility detects an error in a disk, without delay back up your photos on it to prevent photo corruption or loss.


Damaged or distorted photos are best repaired using a professional photo repair software. You may get baffled by too many JPEG repair tool options online.

But always pick the one which is safe to download on your macOS. It should be efficient to repair the corruption issue of your photos. Henceforth, it is recommended to always first go for the trial version of the software.

Software like Stellar Repair for Photo provide free trial online, wherein you can preview the repaired JPEG file even before saving them. Once satisfied with the JPEG repair results, then only make the purchase decision.


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