Android App suddenly can't access images from Camera

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Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Android

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings): 1.20.8 (439)

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

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages: NA

Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices:

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

Starting yesterday after 6pm, I could no longer upload any Observations using the Android App. I had done so successfully earlier in the day. The primary symptom is that the app can’t access any images any more.

There were updates to the phone over the past week, but nothing in the past 2 days, at least.

Steps to Reproduce

  1. View an image in Gallery.
  2. Select Share
  3. Select iNaturalist
  4. iNaturalist opens, but:

Problem Investigation

  • Camera and Gallery work fine on their own, and I can share to other apps on the phone, e.g.: text, with no issue.
  • Deleting and re-installing the app had no effect.
  • Rebooting the phone had no effect.
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Logout and login in the app?

What is your gallery app, and which device are you using?

I’m not able to replicate on my Pixel 3a and sharing photos from Google Photos. The photo and its metadata were imported.

The Gallery app is the one that came with the phone: Samsung Gallery. Version

Phone is Samsung Galaxy S10+, Model number SM-G975U

What’s weird is that this has been the primary way for me to upload observations for the two+ years I’ve had this phone. And it suddenly stopped working in the middle of the day. I had been using it earlier in the day.

The iNaturalist app is now completely unusable for me for anything related to adding or editing Observations.

Can you please try to share a photo to iNat again and, if it fails, send log files from the app to To send log files, go to the Settings tab in the app and tap three times on the version number. You will then have the option to email the log files to us.

You should be able to import photos into the app. Open up iNat, tap on the large green + button and you’ll have that option:

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The problem is the same whether initiated from Gallery or from iNaturalist. The images are not displayed, so there is nothing to choose from.

After a minute of that empty list, there is a prompt that “Files isn’t responding”, which doesn’t appear for any other app. I can click Wait, but nothing gets displayed even after several minutes.

Once it gets in this state, there is no way to return to iNaturalist. Clicking the “Return” arrow at the bottom of the screen also has no effect. I have to close all apps to be able to re-open iNaturalist. Here’s the empty Observation that results:

Logs sent, as requested. (I had no idea that was possible! Nice trick for collecting a support bundle.)

This doesn’t occur with any other app interacting with Gallery, e.g.: I can text or email images, initiated from either app, with no issue.


If you tap on the hamburger menu in the upper left-hand corner, are you able to access other folders in your device? Some users have said that’s working for them at the moment.

It doesn’t matter where I select from. In the pending Observation, everything is still greyed out.

It’s taken me nearly two weeks, but I’ve finally found a workflow that allows me to completely avoid trying to use the app. It’s cumbersome, and I can’t return to the pace I had before. But it’s the only way for me to upload anything.

I’m still catching up with Observations made over the past two weeks. I’ve had to stop taking new photos until I can catch up and figure out what my new, slower sustainable pace is.

There certainly is no longer any way for me to enter observations in the field. I’m no longer using the app at all until this problem is solved.

If you go to and download and install the apk file, that will put an older version of the app on your device. It would be helpful to know if that version works on your phone, then we can pinpoint the change that’s likely causing this.

Thanks. I will give that a shot. I uninstalled the app, so I can try just installing this directly.

P.S.: I’m a software developer by day, so I’m happy to help with problem isolation any way I can! I have no exposure to Android development, but I understand trouble-shooting.

P.P.S.: I’m xrisfg on GitHub


Downloaded and installed.

I can pick up images no problem. That is now working as it did before. I can initiate from either the image in Gallery, or from iNaturalist, and select additional images.

However, when I “share” from Gallery to upload to iNaturalist, the app isn’t picking up any of the location metadata on the images. It does work, however, when I “Add” a new Observation from the app, and select the exact same photos.

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Thanks, I’ve let our Android developer know and they’re wondering if you can now try builds 435 and 436 and see if it works for those as well. That will help us pinpoint the change that’s likely causing this.

My understanding is that changes to Android OS have no longer made it possible for us to import GPS data when a photo is shared to iNat, unfortunately. Does your gallery app back up photos into the cloud and remove full-sized versions from the device?

My understanding is that changes to Android OS have no longer made it possible for us to import GPS data when a photo is shared to iNat, unfortunately.

I was able to upload all my Observations from yesterday through the app. Sharing from Gallery also started working; location metadata started working again, for some reason.

Does your gallery app back up photos into the cloud and remove full-sized versions from the device?

Everything is kept full-size on my phone until I offload or delete it. I rarely upload uncropped images to iNaturalist, anyway. To start, most of my subjects are too small. Second, I’ve learned the hard way that the app sometimes deletes, or destroys without deleting, the images I share; this happened qwith several of the images I shared yesterday. It seems to happen when there is any interruption in the upload whatsoever. It’s extremely brittle in this way. So I never share the original in iNaturalist, for fear of losing it forever.

I’ve let our Android developer know and they’re wondering if you can now try builds 435 and 436 and see if it works for those as well.

I will try the two builds and see if there are any noticeable differences in behavior.

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435 didn’t work at all, whether initiated from the app or from Gallery. Just a blank instead of the image.

Uninstalling 435 and trying 436.

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Same with 436. Neither build works from either direction.

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I took a look at the release notes of the various recent pre-release builds. I installed 1.20.11 (442). This works when importing from the app, both for the image and location metadata. When sharing to the app from Gallery, the image shows up, but the location metadata are missing.

I’ll stick with this version for now, unless there’s another specific build they want me to try.

And now 442 picks up location when sharing from Gallery to the App. Weird.

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As you’ve found, we’ve had a couple of problems with media and location permissions resulting from targeting a more recent version of Android, but I think they should all be resolved in v1.20.11+442, which is the latest version in the Play Store. There are some lingering issues with image access for existing observations that we were unable to address (local URIs that we could access when targeting a previous Android version but can no longer access targeting a recent version), but they should go away after reinstalling the app.