iOS app crashing

Platform: iOS 12.4 (wow I’m way behind :wink:)

App version number: 3.0.4, build 607

Description of problem:

Preface: Earlier today, I added a new photo to an old observation, but the observation wouldn’t upload, so I updated the app.

Than I noticed others were having issues with the app crashing due to a new format, so I followed the steps outlined in that thread. By deleting the app and re-downloading it.

When I redownloaded the app I signed in, and everything appeared to work normally…

I went out to make some observations today, the FIRST observation uploaded successfully!

However than I clicked on add picture for the next observation which was successful, when I selected choose from library the app crashed. I repeatedly tried clicking new observation, and it when I selected choose from library, it continued to crash each time.

So I decided to try deleting the app again, like the first time, ONLY the FIRST observation uploaded. After that I ran into the same issue as before.

I took a screenshot video of the issue, but am unable to share it here.

I have probably 100 observations from today that I am eager to upload!

Can you send the video to with a link to this report?

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Just sent the video to that email

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Thanks for the video. What sort of photo access permission does iNaturalist have?

I’d also recommend updating to the latest version of iOS if you can. Is your device too old to run iOS 14?

Photo Access, is Read and Write

I tend to like to hold off on OS updates in general, though I am probably due to move up to 13.


Thanks. I would recommend updating your device and seeing if it’s still not working.

Is there anything we can do with it still on iOS 12.4? I talked to apple about upgrading to 13.7, but they said you can only get 14.1 at this point, and I’m not ready to make that jump just yet.

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I don’t have an iOS 12 device anymore, but I can debug iOS 12 is with the iOS simulator.

I’ll follow your steps tomorrow and see if I can reproduce and fix it. I’ll check in tomorrow either way.


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Hi Jonah,

I haven’t been able to reproduce your crash, but I did find a crash report that seems to be related to the Gallery 3rd party library we’re using as a photo picker (which is used only in pre-iOS 14 devices). Curiously, the crash only happens on iOS 12. Since the problem seems to be between this 3rd party library and iOS 12, the fix isn’t immediately obvious.

Since I cannot reproduce the bug in the simulator, I was wondering if you’d be willing to beta test one or two builds of the iNaturalist iOS app to help me debug & fix the problem? If so, please email me at and I’ll send you instructions.

Best wishes,


First of all, I’m more than willing to beta test, I sent an email earlier this morning.

Second, I just found another complexity to this issue. After editing a picture of a great blue heron, I wanted to update the picture on an observation from earlier this week.

So on my iPhone XS with iOS12.4
1st: I clicked on the observation of the Great Blue Heron (
2nd: I clicked edit
3rd: I clicked the add picture button
4th: I clicked from camera roll (IT DID NOT CRASH)
5th: I clicked the photo, than done
6th: The photo saved

Now to make sure the whole app hadn’t just started working again, I decided to try uploading an observation. It CRASHED in the same place it normally does.

So essentially I have now found two conditions at which you can upload photos into the app,
#1 being: only the first observation after download
#2 being uploading a new photo to a previous observation

Have you updated to the latest version, 3.0.6? It has more crash fixes. If a specific action causes a crash, please provide a detailed bug report so we can investigate it.

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But how do i know that the udate is not worse than what i have now ? I have IOS 13.4 and now iNaturalist 3.0.6 but will not use the app not that much these days. But if i do it should just work and not crash. That is the only thing i have interest in. New features not really necessary

It seems the expolr is much faster than the old 2. version

If you turn off automatic app updates on your device, you can get notified when new versions of your apps are available to download, then read the release notes.

By “worse” I assume you mean it has bugs and crashes. There is no way to guarantee this. We do test on our own devices before releasing an update, but there is no way to know how the app might interact with everyone’s device or specific use case. We certainly have no intention of releasing an udpate that will cause issues, but they do happen. If you find a bug, make a bug report here and be as specific as possible when filling out the bug report. The more details we have up front, the better we can investigate the problem.

@jis3898 has your original problem been fixed?


The original problem is fixed, though while I was on the beta I noticed a few other issues which I emailed to @Alex on 10/20/20 along with a video of the "photo deletion issue"

This is what I wrote in that email:

An update on the beta testing,

Overall seems to run smoothly, though I did notice a few issues today,

  1. It crashed while it was trying to load the photo library while in the field today, when I reopened the app it loaded to the point where it crashed and I was able to continue.

  2. Loading of the photos library does tend to be a tad slow (10-30 seconds)

  3. This just started happening in the last hour or so and it may be related to a new topic on the android app. It won’t let me delete photos from an observation, (it lets you delete it, but it doesn’t save to the database) Video below.

Of note I haven’t experienced issue #1 again but issues #2-#3 are constants (the amount of time it takes to load the library can be quite a pain when uploading 60ish observations because it takes much longer to go thru the process), there some other weird issues related to the managing photos with in past observations within the app too. But they are quite sporadic, and hard to reproduce exactly.

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Unfortunately, this is unavoidable. In order to allow multi-photo selection (a very commonly requested feature) for iOS versions before 14, we have to use a third party library photo picker. It does seem slow with larger photo libraries, but I’ve looked and I cannot easily change the performance of this third party photo picker. The problems are architectural and fixing them would be a serious undertaking.

As you know, iOS 14 has an excellent native photo picker that is very fast and supports selecting multiple photos. If this performance is important to you, I encourage you to update to iOS 14 - it also brings many benefits like improved privacy controls over your photos.

I will look into the issue of changing photos in an observation, I’ve heard this from other folks as well.



First of all, I think the forum and moderation team makes a great effort to keep discussions productive and keep them from devolving and getting off topic, and I think they’re doing an excellent job.

Second of all, if you want more information about new features in iOS 14, like the introduction of the new photo picker in iOS 14 with new privacy controls, there are untold numbers of resources on the internet that cover what’s new in every version of iOS. I would recommend starting with Apple’s own release notes.

Third of all, I am happy to hear that you don’t want to be a beta tester. If you wish to follow the github, it’s at You can create a github account and watch/star the repo and get notifications about all checkins and changes to the codebase. Please note that github issues and comments are strictly for development and implementation details, not for general feedback or advice. That’s what this forum is for.