Incorporate basic image editing tools (crop, rotate)

We did have a bug that affected profile pics and project banners, which was recently fixed. I believe image rotation might have also been affected by it.

Just as a test, this is one of my uploads that has a photo rotated incorrectly (the photo should be landscape-oriented, not portrait):

I hit “rotate left” yesterday and I’m still not seeing any change.

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Maybe a caching issue? It’s landscape for me.

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Interesting. It surely must be a cache issue then, as it is still portrait for me!

You might want to try a hard refresh. Here are instructions for how to perform a hard refresh:

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That used to work for me actually. But it doesn’t seem to anymore.

I’m in favor of allowing the option to crop, zoom, and/or rotate photos, both prior to uploading (as part of the upload process, similar to Instagram), and afterwards. The value of this function would be especially valuable for the mobile app, but also for the desktop version. As some images are automatically resized by iNat, it makes all the more sense to be able to crop and make the best use of space. And presumably, having less visual clutter would also help Computer Vision develop better suggestions.


FWIW, the latest Android beta release (version 1.17.0) has an image editor. You’ll need to edit an obs and tap on a photo to open it. If you’re not in the beta program, you can join at


Yay! Two comments: the tap to edit isn’t super intuitive, are you definitely keeping it that way or might you change it? Second, the default aspect ratio is “Original”, but I think “Free” is probably the more expected option – at least, that’s what I was expecting.

Amazing! Thank for this valuable addition the app.
The caption for “Bearbeiten” in the German localisation is a bit cut off:

I have scaled a picture and the preview in the app is now very blurry. It’s fine though when I click on the picture. I guess it’s some kind of a caching problem in the app.

What’s intuitive to you might not be intuitive to me, so it would help me out a lot of you could describe the problem in more detail. Were you expecting an edit option somewhere else? If so, where? Was there some other issue?

Any other opinions here? Personally, every single time I crop a photo the very first thing I do is set the aspect ratio to “original” or “square.”

Can “Edit” be translated as a shorter word in German? I suppose we could also just get rid of those text labels.

I’m having trouble replicating this. Can you provide a list of steps I can follow to reproduce this problem? E.g. it would help to know if this is an obs you just made in the app or one you made on the website and are editing in the app, whether the photo came from your device or a cloud service like Google Photos, etc.

Is the eventual plan to also add it to the “photo review” screen, such as to the right of the blue check-mark button? I’d expect an “edit photo” button there.

I pretty much always free crop. I rarely specific-ratio crop, e.g. if I’m printing photos for my grandma :) Almost never “original” crop. Free crop is the default in most image editing apps I’ve used.


No. When you take a new photo in the app, the app is just calling out to the operating system and saying “hey, I need a camera here” and the OS either asks you to choose a camera app or launches one based on what’s available or your prior preference. We don’t have any control over what that camera app looks like or how it behaves. All we know is that it’s going to let you take a picture and when it’s done return a photo file to the iNaturalist app.

We could launch some kind of interstitial screen when we get that file back that let’s you edit, but IMO that would be more annoying than helpful, since it would add an extra step to the observing flow that is generally unnecessary.

We could also build our own camera instead of relying on external ones, but I guarantee that would not be satisfying for the majority of users. To my knowledge, most manufacturer-provided cameras use undocumented APIs or hardware assistance that aren’t available to 3rd party developers like us, so a Google camera on a Google phone or a Samsung camera on a Samsung phone is always going to be better than any other camera app you might install. I guess I should say that’s been my experience, and I assume that’s why, but I have never been able to verify the claim.


Right, thanks. And yeah, definitely agree another screen asking if I wanted to edit it would be annoying. Strange that Google (Pixel 3) doesn’t have some sort of edit option built in there.

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I don’t load much from my app but did join the beta program. Took a couple of shots at the feeder through the window, back lit, needed cropping. It was pretty straightforward to edit the image in the app, - cropped them, changed the brightness, changed the contrast, uploaded and both reached Research Grade within one hour - 1 Spotted Towhee, 1 Dark Eyed Junco. I usually use a DSLR so the initial image quality was not great (limited by the phones hardware) but I have submitted worse images produced by the DSLR. I liked having the edit capability within the Android App. This flexibility will definitely help with my app uploads - probably encourage more.

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It was an observation which I have duplicated via the browser.

In the app I’ve edited then the first picture and preview stayed blurry.

I don’t remember anymore how I’ve uploaded the original pictures. I guess via the app

I’ve checked now again and preview pictures turned out to be fine now. It was white today before synchronization ;)

“Editieren” could be used.
And I also think the the captions are not necessarily needed. The symbols are self explanatory.

how about adding an edit button to the observation photo detail when not in editing mode?


I’m into it, but maybe table for a later release:


For my own observations, I try to do all my destructive image editing (cropping, rotating, and other edits) before uploading. My iNat usage is website(95%) and iPhone app(5%), so to be honest I’m indifferent to incorporating these tools on the mobile app. I’m more interested in having access to some of these photo manipulation features for other people’s observations (such as you’ve done by allowing us to adjust brightness). In that context, zooming and rotating, like brightness, can be very helpful for making IDs. For now, I’ve started using the following Firefox add-on for zooming and rotating images: Works great in the Needs ID modal.

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If we could zoom in on the image, instead of waiting forever for the full image to load - that would be a vast improvement.

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