Eye-Fi unbrick their X2 cards to give us what we should have had in the first place

Sep 1, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Eye-Fi unbrick their X2 cards to give us what we should have had in the first place

Sep 1, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Several weeks ago, you may remember a post about Eye-Fi’s decision to “End of life” a bunch of their products. It’s not uncommon for companies to drop support for their older products, no matter how popular they may be. The problem with their decision, though, was that it would’ve basically bricked all of those products from September 16th, making them completely useless.

Ok, so you could still use them as regular SD cards. Although, who would use an overpriced Class 4 8GB card these days when fast 128GB UHS-I cards are so cheap? In a surprise email I received this morning, Eye-Fi have announced new software for those older cards. This software removes the need for online connectivity to activate or configure the cards.

They’re finally giving us the cards that the Eye-Fi should have been since day one.

Update: September 1st, 2016 – Windows version of the software is now available for download, see the bottom of the post for details.

Here’s what the email says.

NEW X2 UTILITY

This notice is to inform you that Eyefi has started work on a new desktop software utility – the X2 Utility (X2U) for the PC and Mac – that will permit cards impacted by the EOL continue operating beyond the deadline of September 15, 2016.

As a reminder, after September 15, 2016 Eye-Fi Center desktop software will no longer have the ability to configure Eye-Fi X2 and other cards impacted by the EOL.  Customers wishing to use the X2U will have to uninstall Eye-Fi Center from their computer prior to installing the new utility.  Once the X2U is installed and activated, cards impacted by the EOL will have ability to continue transferring images to a desktop computer.

The X2U will be provided to users free of charge as-is and without warranty or helpdesk support.  We will publish knowledge base documentation on how to set-up and use the X2U.

This is basically the best response anybody could’ve hoped for from Eye-Fi. It’s pretty much the only one they could have made to fix the situation.

Many users swore off ever buying any more Eye-Fi products as a result of their previous announcement. People felt like they were being forced into parting with more cash for no good reason. They also didn’t want to continue buying into a company that could brick their products at a moment’s notice.

One line in the email, shortly before the new software announcement I found very interesting. I thought maybe Eye-Fi had finally learned what their users had always wanted. What they still want with their current model products.

Note:  Eyefi Mobi and Mobi Pro customers are not impacted by this EOL process.

Turns out, probably not, no. In fact, the “Highlights” list for the new software specifically states…

Support for Pro X2 and all earlier generation products with the “Eye-Fi” branding as well as 3rd party branded cards from SanDisk and Visioneer

So, it won’t work with their current Mobi and Mobi Pro cards.

Perhaps ironically, I think this will make their older “obsolete” cards more popular than their current ones.

Most of the people I know who use Eye-Fi cards are event photographers. They will often shoot RAW+JPG to cameras with dual cards slots. Raw files go to one card, JPG files go to the Eye-Fi in the second slot. From there, they are beamed to viewing stations. They’re not gunning it at 10fps, so for them, the older, slower, Class 6 cards are perfect.

Activation and set-up of cards to transfer images to a PC or Mac via an infrastructure or direct network connection

Having to be online to activate & configure them has always been the biggest complaint I’ve heard from those guys. Many take their own routers to events to increase range. They aren’t online during the events, but they needed to be online while configuring the card to log into them.

With the new software, those cards will work exactly how many photographers wanted them to. For those that don’t automatically upload their images to “the cloud”, it actually increases functionality, even over their newer cards.

Transferred images will be saved to a directory of users choosing but will be organized in a date based chronological order

I do wonder, though, if this might be too little, too late.

If not for the severe backlash received resulting from their last announcement, today’s would probably never have happened. They should have figured this out before calling EOL on their products. That they didn’t suggests several things, the most obvious being that they just don’t care.

So, Eye-Fi were still willing to brick the products of tens of thousands of their customers. Despite the new software, that fact leaves a very sour taste, and many have already sought out alternatives.

I’m one of them. I’ve already switched over to using the “poor man’s Camranger“, using a hacked TP-Link router. It’s works flawlessly for me. It may be a little more cumbersome than simply popping in an SD card, but the functionality and super fast speeds are worth it.

So, even though this makes Eye-Fi’s X2 range of cards work they way they should’ve done from the start, I can’t see myself going back to it full time. It will be very welcome news to some, who’d invested into several cards and rely on them at jobs.

The X2U Utility is now available for Mac and you can download it here. An ETA for the Windows version has not been announced. In fact, their wording suggests that there might not even be a Windows version.

If and when the Windows version is available, it can be accessed at the same location.

This is entirely speculation, but I would imagine they want to see how the public receive this news before putting more time into the software than they have to.

Well, as probably one of the loudest disgruntled customers after the previous announcement, I say well done Eye-Fi. Everything else aside, you listened to your customers and are doing something to try and make it right.

If only more responded that way.

So, question time. Have you already replaced your older Eye-Fi cards with the new ones? Do you feel you’ve now wasted money on the new cards now that you ultimately didn’t need to? Did you switch to a different wireless solution entirely? Will you go back to Eye-Fi if you left? What do you think of Eye-Fi’s response? Is it just an attempt to save face, or did they simply not realise how popular their previous products were? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Update: 1st September, 2016 – The Windows version has been released today

So, Eye-Fi have now released the Windows version of the software. Remember, you’ll need to uninstall your existing Eye-Fi Center desktop software before you install the new Eye-Fi X2 Utility. You can find an index of articles on the Eye-Fi website regarding the new utility here, but the important ones are below.

This post was originally published on 10th August, 2016.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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25 responses to “Eye-Fi unbrick their X2 cards to give us what we should have had in the first place”

  1. John Frisbie Avatar
    John Frisbie

    why does the article pop open the App Store?

  2. catlett Avatar
    catlett

    “This is basically the best response anybody could’ve hoped for from Eye-Fi. It’s pretty much the only one they could have made to fix the situation.”

    I would hope for the software being open sourced because of their later statement that they are clearly willing to brick everybody. If they remain in control of the software they could still do that with an update so basically if someone decides to use that software they need to keep copies of original installs just in case they upgrade and are bricked again.

    There really isn’t anything they could do to get me back as a customer. They have already given me all the information I need to know that they are not trustworthy and have no loyalty to their customers. Changing an action is no indication that they have changed the way the decision makers in the company think.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Yes, that’s a good point, open sourcing it would’ve been nice, although always unlikely. If insecurities were discovered in the code, it may compromise their current, and fully supported, cards.

      I don’t think them suddenly deciding “nah, screw it, we’ll brick them anyway” in a future update will be likely. Even if they did decide to do that, with the removal of the online requirement, there would be nothing forcing people to install a future update. Word would spread pretty quickly.

      I’m inclined to agree with the last bit, though. I don’t think I’ll be buying more Eye-Fi products either, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

      It may have been a “screw ’em” attitude that caused the previous announcement. Or it may simply have been that they really underestimated how many people are using the cards.

      Most of us I don’t think used their online services, and simply went either Direct Mode or over LAN to transfer to a local machine. Given that, they would’ve seen very little online activity from the older cards, because people simply weren’t using the online portion of their capabilities.

      That being said, if that were the case, one would think they’d have offered a better replacement deal if they thought they might only be screwing over a small number of customers.

      The “if and when” bit on the mention of the Windows software does suggest a “Let’s do it on the Mac and see how loudly they moan about not having a Windows version first before we spend more time on it” kind of attitude.

      I suppose all we can do now is wait and see if they’re able to build up that trust again.

  3. Fredhu Avatar
    Fredhu

    At least, I have to say that this “ultimate solution” is working flawlessly on a mac … Seems even speedier than before (…) but just my impression. Yes, a shame they didn’t come first with this solution. I hope that Win users will have the same fix soon …

  4. Chris Avatar
    Chris

    they must have seen Canon coming with their own version of the card

  5. John Imig Avatar
    John Imig

    I had always heard so many horror stories about EyeFi cards, that while I really wanted them to work, I stayed away.

    Now my workflow wouldn’t really be enhanced by the EyeFi cards anyway: shoot, cable tether to ipad mini, pull RAWs into Lightroom, quick tweaks, post to flickr/FB/IG/wherever.

    With shared albums on FB, I can shoot a band, and push into THEIR album that THEY own before the night is even over. :)

  6. jagigen Avatar
    jagigen

    Sorry Eye-Fi. I dont care about you any more.
    When they bagan pimping over priced cards and services I lost interest.

    I threw all my Eye-Fi cards away and went with Toshibas FlashAir instead.
    Great price and LUA-scriptable to play around with automatic uploads/downloads and other nice things.

  7. Naeem Ahmed Avatar
    Naeem Ahmed

    hi a question on how these work – can you set up the software on multiple pc’s or mac’s and have the eye-fi card sync with all of them? – I mean specifically this x2 utility and x2 cards / Sandisk branded eye-fi

  8. The Peak Oil Poet Avatar
    The Peak Oil Poet

    How I saved my Eye-Fi X2 Pro from uselessness on Android

    http://thepeakoilpoet.blogspot.co.nz/2016/10/how-i-saved-my-eye-fi-x2-pro-from.html

  9. Daniel Yanev Avatar
    Daniel Yanev

    Thanks for the info. Work with my Sandisk EYE FI 8GB cards

  10. brandy8 Avatar
    brandy8

    It claims “X2 and earlier generations” but I just tried it with my Eye Fi card that I bought in 2011 and it thinks it’s a mobi card and won’t work with it. I’d been wondering why it had stopped working, I thought it was because I’d gotten a new computer. Nope, just haven’t used it since before Sept… I guess I’ll be looking into other brands!

  11. Jonathan Langdale Avatar
    Jonathan Langdale

    I am not even able to activate with the X2 utility. Completely abandoned.

    1. Daniel Avatar
      Daniel

      Same here! What they did should be a crime…It was not just about dropping support but rather rendering the cards useless.

  12. Joeski Avatar
    Joeski

    The eyefi.com domain is dead along with all of the links. Find the Eye-Fi X2 Utility here: http://download.freedownloadmanager.org/Windows-PC/Eye-Fi-X2-Utility/FREE-1.1.1.html

      1. Daniel Avatar
        Daniel

        I can’t download from any of those links. Is there any other source? Currently my eye fi x2 pro is worthless. Tks a lot for the help!

        1. Daniel Avatar
          Daniel

          No problem, got it from this site: http://eye-fi-x2-utility.software.informer.com/download/#downloading

          Still, can’t register the card…

          1. Joeski Avatar
            Joeski

            Good find. Yeah, the registration server is down forever :( You could try to put in a fake code. Check here: http://thedobberfiles.blogspot.com/2017/07/eye-fi-x2-julyu-2017-update.html

  13. Scott-99 Avatar
    Scott-99

    As I’ve said before, this is really about going from a product based revenue model to a subscription based model. The old products did not include a subscription for basic services, so the new owner of Eye-Fi bricked them. The new products are tied to subscriptions and cannot be used without them. Many companies like Adobe and Microsoft have switched to subscription based services, but they didn’t send out an update disabling products purchased before the subscription models emerged like Eye-Fi did. The fake story about bricking the cards because the old cards had security issues was an attempt to cover up the greed with lies. For that, Eye-Fi deserves a corporate Darwin award.

  14. SauChi Avatar
    SauChi

    Shame on these people involved in making these sick business decisions…
    Eye-Fi was founded in 2005 by Yuval Koren, Ziv Gillat, Eugene Feinberg and Berend Ozceri.[19] Jef Holove became the CEO in September 2007,[20] with Yuval Koren taking over in May 2011. Matt DiMaria became CEO of Eye-Fi in April, 2013.

    Arthur Reidel Chairman of the Board Jeda Technologies Inc. 66
    Robert Coneybeer Member of the Board of Directors Shasta Ventures —
    Carl Showalter Member of the Board of Directors Opus Capital —
    Madeline Duva Member of Advisory Board 3jam, Inc. —
    Frank Baillargeon Member of Advisory Board Jondo, Ltd. —
    Toshiya Otani Member of the Board of Directors TransLink Capital —
    Paul Norris Member of the Board of Directors Immersion Medical, Inc. 55

  15. Ricardo Cunha Avatar
    Ricardo Cunha

    Hello everyone , I missed this Eye-Fi X2 Utility software . Any one know where can I download it again?
    Regards
    Ricardo

  16. Erin P Van Beveren Avatar
    Erin P Van Beveren

    I know it’s 2020 now, but thank you none the less for keeping this info posted. I have a eye-fi connect X2 in my camera/PC setup in my studio, that I use solely for passport photography, loving the quick photo transfer, helping me getting the job done quicker and easier, plus no kids tripping on a USB wire. :) . It used to work fine until two months ago, when I had to replace my PC. I also had to reset my WiFi thanks to Verizon changing the router settings and passwords without notification. Anyway, I am having difficulty getting this to work again and I am having positive vibes now, after reading this post and I just downloaded the fix utility. Going to install and try tomorrow when I get home. Thanks, Erin (Henrico photo)

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      I’m glad it’s still coming in useful! :)

    2. Edward Spielzeug Avatar
      Edward Spielzeug

      Hi, I’m from 2020 too! Did you manage to resurrect your Eye-Fi card using this method?
      Cheers

      1. Erin P Van Beveren Avatar
        Erin P Van Beveren

        Hi Edward, no I did not manage to get the cards wifi to work, so I gave up. I purchases a Chinese card instead, one that works slightly different, but it works.

        Ez share card. Installed in camera, it sends a wifi signal to the PC, connect to this and a screen pops up with the photos and can be downloaded to the SSD in my PC.

        So I do have to disable my regular wifi or Ethernet connection, but that’s not an issue for me, since I only use Ethernet for updating software on this PC.

        The ez share was not expensive, I think about $25 on Amazon.

        I have “forgotten” about my eye-fi. :)