Do pictures uploaded to iNat need to stay on my iPhone?

I exclusively use my iPhone 7 to take pictures. Early on in using iNat, I discovered that going through the process of taking a picture through iNat uses up a lot of battery power, and sometimes doesn’t work when wireless coverage is poor. So I take pictures with the phone and upload them to iNat in batches when I have battery support and/or Internet access. Now, my phone storage is getting full, and iNat has a big chunk of it. Did these picture files get duplicated and stored again on my phone? If I delete them from my pictures folder, will they disappear from iNat? I need to offload a bunch of pictures from the pictures folder to archive them and make room on my phone, and I need to know what will happen to my iNat observations.

There should not be any problem if you delete the pics from you phone. The photos are stored in a server once you upload them to iNat.

I think this can be solved by logging out of your account and the log in again, there should be a tread somewhere that explains this

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Your uploaded observations are not connected to original photos on your phone, but app can get a lot of size (look up You can even delete original photos, but be careful as iNat saves smaller size files than what your camera captures and there could be errors potentially resulting in loss of data, so you may want to keep them somewhere.


I did log off and back in and VOILA! the app has 21.2 MB and the data is 49.8 MB. Thanks for the advice, all! But I must concur with others who seem to be saying that keeping all this data on the phone is unnecessary.

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If you had an Android phone instead of iPhone, I should upgrade to Android iNaturalist version 1.23.18 (507) or higher. This version cleans UserData by deleting obsolete photos.

Total: 9.44Gb–>1.33GB (still over a 1 GB )
Userdata: 9.39GB–>1.27GB
Cache: 1.02GB–>1.02GB

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