About the Bug Reports category - please read before posting!

Are you experiencing a technical issue with iNaturalist? This category is the place to report it.

By “bug” we mean that something is not working the way it is intended to. This is not a place to make a feature request (there’s a separate category for that), nor is it a place to start a discussion about how iNaturalist does things - you can do that in the General category. As well:

  • Incorrect or missing translations can be fixed on Crowdin: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/translate
  • Missing species of taxonomic issues should be flagged on iNaturalist instead of posted to the forum. Go to the taxon page on the website, click Curation, then Flag for curation, and a site curator will take a look.
  • Please note that iNaturalist’s Guides feature is presented “as is” and will not be updated further.
  • If the bug relates to the Android app, it’s often helpful to send a log file to the development team to assist in diagnosing the issue. Right after the bug occurs, go to the About page in the app and tap 3 times on the version number. You will then have the option to email the log file to help@inaturalist.org
  • Only one bug per report please.

Non-urgent bugs are generally distributed to the development team on a weekly basis.

When you make a new bug report, you will see a template similar to what’s below. This will help us investigate the bug, so please fill it out as thoroughly as possible. Thank you!

Example Bug Report

(example answers for each section below)

Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Android

App version number, if mobile app issue. This is shown under “About” on Android and :gear: (Settings) on iOS: 1.15.1 (386)

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc): Firefox 72.0.2

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38062313

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices: https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/):

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: Go to https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38062313

Step 2: Write a comment and click “Done”

Step 3: No matter what you write, it saves as “I am a zombie and I will eat your brains.”

What happens next?

If a staff member can replicate a bug, they will make an issue on iNaturalist’s GitHub repo, where our developers will see it. When a fix is released, we’ll update the report on the forum and close the bug report here after forum members can confirm the fix works.

In order to make bug reports easier to sort and follow, we’ll try to use the following tags:

staff-can-replicate = a staff member can consistently replicate the bug, which is often crucial to fixing it.

github-issue-made = an iNat staff member has made an issue for the bug on GitHub.

staff-cant-replicate = iNat staff members cannot replicate the bug based on the details provided, making it difficult to investigate further and fix.

fix-released = staff have released an update that should fix the bug.

Things that will make a bug more likely to be fixed:

  • it makes using iNat difficult or impossible
  • it affects iNat’s core functionality or mission (e.g. posting observations)
  • it affects many/all users across different platforms
  • staff can reproduce it
  • there is a safe, quick, and easy way to fix it (Note: things that seem safe/quick/easy may not actually be safe/quick/easy!)
  • it can be fixed as a “package deal” with other related issues
  • it affects a network node

Things that will make a bug less likely to be fixed:

  • it is cosmetic or causes minor inconvenience
  • it affects few users or only one platform
  • it can’t be consistently reproduced
  • the fix is unknown or would be difficult/time-consuming
  • fixing it would/may cause other downstream problems
  • the cause is not iNat (e.g. internet service provider, browser extension)
  • it affects something that is already being overhauled (e.g. the iNaturalist mobile app)

Here’s a helpful video from Coffee Stain Studios about why some bugs and feature requests are prioritized and sometimes not dealt with. Different software, obviously, but the basics are analogous to iNat and most software.