Anyway to upload photo files from my own observations back onto my phone?

I recently had a problem with losing alot of my photos after my phone corrupted the files due to issues with space. It looks like i opened up the space i need to keep taking photos but it seems that i lost these files forever…some of these files i had uploaded onto inaturalist and would like to know how to reload them back onto my phone if that is possible.

Thank you…btw its a real shame because i lost some great photos that i necer got to share too…

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Click on the info icon (small “i” in the circle) at the bottom of the photo of an observation. There you can download the photo in four possible sizes (original including). Keep in mind that the “original” photo might not necessarily be in the same resolution as was your original photo on the phone, as iNat scales down too big photos. It’s not possible to download photos from the app, though (at least on Android).

I think it should possible to download multiple photos at once using the export tool or whatever it’s called.


Konrad is correct. The longest side of any photo uploaded will not exceed the maximum resolution of the system, that is 2048 pixels.

Anything larger than that number that is uploaded gets immediately ‘downsampled’ (pixel dimensions reduced) to this max and hence cannot contain as much detail.

Practical example: Your original photo is 4096 pixels wide. That many pixels could be used to make a decently crisp 12 inch print.

You upload that through iNat and it gets downsampled to half that pixel width and in the process 3/4 of those pixels get tossed.

It might still look very good on most screens. But if you compared the iNat ‘original’ with your original on a 4K monitor or TV on full screen, you would notice a lot of softening in the details.

Also, your maximum print size using the iNat ‘original’ would now be more like a 5x7 print.

And of course, if your original 4096 pixel picture had most of the detail in a smaller part of the image, and you were hoping to crop that for later use, you are out of luck (not to mention that you have likely frustrated more IDers in the process).

If you absolutely must try and regain a higher-detailed version, there are some AI-powered upscaling apps that MIGHT work.

There’s a lot of ifs-ands-buts in this process and no real guarantees. Let me know if you are desperate and I would be willing to try to help you do this for a couple shots and you could then decide whether the results are worth you going further with it yourself.

Just send me an observation link or two to test.


The export tool only creates a CSV file with textual data. This will include the url of the first image (medium sized), but obviously not the photo itself. A batch downloader like curl could be used to fetch the images via the urls. But to get the full set of original image urls for each observation, you’d need to use the iNat API to get a complete list of photo IDs (which aren’t always in numerical order). These IDs could then be used to reconstruct the required urls, which should all have this format: So: not exactly a simple task, but certainly doable.

(NB: before attempting anything like this, you should take note of the API Recommended Practices. In particular, the download limit is 5Gb per hour / 24Gb per day, and the API request rate should be no more than 1 per second, or around 10k per day).


Ah, ok. I never really used that tool, but assumed such a thing was possible. My bad. Then that leaves API.

You can still use the export tool to get links to the original photos. Then what’s left is, preferably, batch downloading them, one way or another.

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