I keep being auto-logged out of iNat

Platform: iOS (iPhone 12)

Browser: Chrome

URLs: any iNat address

Description of problem:

  1. In Chrome 105.0.5195.100, I log into inaturalist.org using my username/email address and password.
  2. I used iNaturalist normally.*
  3. An in determinate amount of time later (it could be seconds, i minutes or hours after I logged in) I tried to add an ID (or view a message or comment) and am told I need to be logged in to do that.This has been happening regularly but sporadically for months.

I know there was an existing thread related to this last year but it was closed without any real resolution other than people saying an update had seemingly fixed it for them (unless I missed something in the thread).
@tiwane any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

If you use browser on a smartphone it’s normal to get logged off because its memory used for that is not enough.

Why doesn’t that happen for literally any other site with a login (I.e. eBird)?

some questions:

  1. what pages do you use on the website on your phone? (explore? identify? upload?)
  2. why do you use the website on your phone vs the iOS app?
  3. do you also use the Chrome browser on another device like a computer concurrently? (if so, do you see the same kind of issue on the other devices?)
  4. does this occur on the Safari browser in iOS?
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I have this happen at times, too. It is sporadic, but I associate it with switching between iNat screens on the iphone, the iPad, and the iOS computer. Sometimes, it seems to happens just if I use other open tabs on the same device. Ive never sorted out all the if-thens-buts, though.

  1. I use the website to explore, look at my profile, and to provide ID for others, and to refine and sort observation results for specific locations.

  2. I also use the app (not concurrently) largely for submitting observations and providing IDs. That said as the apps functionality is limited using the website is more convenient for many things (such as providing IDs for individual users or sorting observations at all in explore).

  3. No I don’t use iNat on a computer concurrently.

  4. I do not use Safari.

are you doing this in the observation detail screen or in the Identify screen or both?

i guess when i say concurrently, my definition for this means being signed in concurrently. so if you signed in on Tuesday on iOS Chrome and checked the option to stay signed in, and then signed into a computer on Chrome on Wednesday, and then came back to iOS Chrome on Thursday, i’m still considering that concurrent use. do you ever have a situation where you’re signed into two different devices at the same time via Chrome on both devices?

is there any particular objection to using Safari? if not, can you try using Safari, and note if you see the same issue in that browser? (knowing this may help to narrow down whether this is a browser issue or a device issue or something else.)

It’s done this to me twice in the last week, and I’m using Firefox on a Windows 10 PC, so I’m not sure this is specifically a mobile browser issue.

are you also logging in using an iNaturalist ID or e-mail? next time this happens, can you provide more information about the circumstances of your particular case? which page did you try to visit? was that the first iNat page that you visited that day? if so, in the previous session (look through your browser history), what pages did you visit in your previous session? did you clear history or cookies in between those sessions?

for what it’s worth, i’m not able to replicate the specific issue described and fixed in https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/im-being-automatically-logged-out-of-inaturalist/20332. so i assume that if there is a problem here, it’s a different problem.

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In my case, it occurs on the first visit to https://inaturalist.org after restarting the PC. Usually I’ll have been in “Edit my observations” as the last page in a session. Didn’t log out, no clearing cookies or history.

It doesn’t happen frequently, I only really noticed it because it happened twice in such a short time.

are you sure that when you’re logging in, you’ve checked the option to “Remember me”?


also, just to verify, are you using a regular browser window, as opposed to a private browsing window?

can you go to your Firefox preferences, and look at your “Delete cookies and site data when Firefox is closed” option? is it checked or unchecked?

does this mean that in each of those previous sessions, you loaded an observation? if you simply log in in session 1 without doing anything but viewing your homepage, and then restart your PC, will you then be prompted to log in when you begin session 2?

if you’re able to reproduce this consistently with a particular set of steps, please describe the exact steps you use to reproduce. just based on what you’ve described, i’m not able to reproduce the issue (log in on Firefox, go to the Edit observations page, restart my machine, go back to the iNat homepage).

additionally, it may be helpful to capture what your iNat cookies look like before and after you begin your new session. unfortunately, in Firefox, it’s difficult to capture the before state without using a separate SQLite tool. so before we go down that route, let me just ask… do you experience the same problems if you use a different browser like Chrome?


I’m pretty neurotic about ticking “remember me” boxes when logging in. :) And it stays logged in across many, many sessions before this issue spontaneously crops up. Standard browser window, no settings to auto-clear session data. I typically will check my dashboard, view any of my observations that have updates to them.

The issue isn’t a repeatable one: it basically happens at random (like today XD). I only really brought it up because it seemed unusual that it happened twice in such short order about the time the OP posted this thread.

when it happened, was it the first time you had visited iNat that day? or did it happen in the middle of a session?

look at your browser history. if it happened in the middle of a session, which iNat pages did you visit that day before this happened? if it was the first thing that day, which iNat pages did you visit in the previous session?

we need specific information, not generalities. from that specific information, it may be possible to identify a pattern that may help to figure out how to reproduce the problem.

just for example, it looks like you reported the problem occurring on 25 Sept, and on 17 Sept, you reported that it had occurred twice in the week prior. if you look at when you submitted observations, you did submit an observation on 25 Sept, and you also submitted observations 16 Sept, 14 Sept, and 13 Sept. could it be possible that those submissions occurred before and triggered something that caused the system to revoke your session and require you to log in again?