Can't share audio to iNaturalist app from Merlin app

I use Merlin app, on Android, to record and identify bird song.

I then want to share the observation here, using the app.

When I try to share the audio file, I am bocked with the notification:

Forbidden - The app you shared from creates photos that are not suitable for observations because they do not represent evidence of your experience with another organism, because they include inappropriate branding or commercial content, or because they violate our Terms of Service in other ways.

Why is this, when I am the creator of the audio? Can the restriction be overcome? It refers to “photos”, but that is not what I am sharing.

There’s probably a more sophisticated way to do this, but I move the Merlin file to my laptop, then upload that .wav file to iNat. That method does allow me to use VLC to snip the .wav file down to just the good bits before posting.


I’m pretty sure we prevented this because Merlin would send along its representative photo of the species as well as branding as part of the graphic, which would be copyright infringement if posted and also not evidence of the individual organism you observed.


Ah, that makes sense!

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That does not make sense.

If I share an audio file, that is all that I am sharing - not the observation, not an image, not a logo.

I can share the audio files with my email app, and only the audio file is attached to the draft email, for example.

I don’t have this problem when sharing to the Android app. Can you add some screenshots/recordings of your workflow?

Thank you; yes, I can do that. But that is not what I am asking about here.

  1. Navigate to “Sound ID”/ “My Sound recordings” in Merlin app
  2. Select individual recording
  3. Select “share” icon
  4. Select “iNaturalist” app
  5. See notification as described above

That’s what I do and I don’t have that problem. I’m running iNat 1.28.19 (572), and I’m a beta tester. Maybe sending data logs to the developers would help. (Tap three times on your version number in About.)

I’m running iNat 1.28.19 (572)

I have the same.

Maybe sending data logs to the developers would help

I cleared my logs, repeated the above steps, and tried to share the new log. “No log files found”.

Well I’m not sure if clearing logs helps, but this is a bit beyond what I’m able to diagnose.

I came across this “problem” some time ago but didn’t think much about it.

Now that you ask how to overcome the restriction to only upload your recording, I just tried this:

  1. Select “VLC” app (I guess you can probably use any similar app as nowadays most apps have the share option)
  2. Go to your playlist
  3. Select again your desired recording
  4. Share and select iNat app

That leaves you with the recording only and you have to complete the time, date and location info…

FWIW, I’m still able to share directly from Merlin “My Sound Recordings” to iNaturalist using my Pixel 7 Android phone. It only sends the audio recording.


Thanks. I don’t regularly use an Android device, nor do I use Merlin. But I did make some recordings today and used the method you described and was able to share the sound to iNat. iNat version 1.28.10 (563) and Merlin 2.1.4 (722-2022.0), on my pixel 3A running android 12.

I’m not sure what’s going on with your device but a screen recording might be helpful.


Thank you. I have VLC installed, The Merlin app does not list it, in the apps to which I can share audio.

A much simpler way is to just go to files, then audio files, and share it from there

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That is not “simpler”, when I am already looking at my list of audio recordings in the Merlin app, where it lists the species heard.

I use an iPhone. I have not yet tried using the Merlin app recording as my sound file for submission to iNat. But I’ll give that a try based on the steps mentioned above. The quickest work-around for me is, once I’ve verified the song ID via Merlin I jump into the iNat app and make a separate recording for submission. That’s assuming the bird is still singing.

On this same topic, did you know that, on Merlin, you can hold your finger on the spectrogram and drag it to highlight just the bird song you want to share - thus sharing a 5 second audio instead of a one minute one (or however long it was)? Once highlighted, hit the share button. I email it to myself and later on my home computer I can download the file and then drag it to iNat or eBird.


It’s not possible to share files from one place into the iNat app in iOS, so I wouldn’t expect it to work. This should only be possible in Android.