Location Data in Observations Taken Outside the INat App

Hi All-

On a number of occasions, users have suggested I do observations with my regular phone camera app in stead of using the INat app. It’s faster and more efficient that way, they’ve said.

But when I do so, and upload pictures from my Mac Photos app to INaturalist, it does not include the location data associated with each picture. I’ve got to add it manually, which defeats the purpose of efficiency. It’s also less precise, because I have to pinpoint the place I took the picture manually on the map. The camera uses exact GPS coordinates.

The time data are captured by INat, but not location. Is there a way of making sure location data is included when I upload pictures?

Many thanks!


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Hi Raphie,

Can you describe your workflow in a bit more detail; the location metadata is being stripped at some point during the process.

When I take photos using my phone, I download them onto my computer (Windows) directly from the phone into a folder, then upload those straight onto iNat, and the location is preserved for me


Are you doing something to the photos in between? For example, are you using an app to crop them before uploading them to iNat? This can cause all the metadata to get stripped off.

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Sometimes Mac software intentionally strips location to help preserve privacy. Have you checked this post to see if any of it applies to your workflow?


This is a well known issue that has been going on a long time, and Inat will not recognize the bug. It tends to happen when you go out of service or on airplane mode for some reason. There is no fix. Its best to take one photo of the observation in the app and then take more photos normally and add them in, that way the location data will be there. You can delete the initial photo if its not good.

Sorry Inat wont take responsibility for this issue.

I don’t think what you’re referring to is the same issue - this is specifically about photos taken with the native camera app and synced to the Apple Photos app on a Mac computer. I suspect what’s happening is @raphael1c doesn’t have this preference turned on in Photos:


If you are out of service or have airplane mode on, your phone isn’t recording your location data, and iNaturalist can’t take responsibility.

In airplane mode iPhones do record GPS coordinates, although they may take a little longer to appear.

Ah, interesting, my Android doesn’t!

My android does. You probably just need to turn on (or give permission for) location services to be used by whatever photo app (iNat or otherwise) is capturing the photos.

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This was already asked but it would help if you outlined your workflow. Lacking that, I’ll guess that you are not exporting to JPEG, or if you are exporting to JPEG, the “Location Information” box in the export dialog is not checked.

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Ive seen the issue with both iphone and android, my permissions are obviously on since it works normally with service, ive already allowed etc. Seen alot of dissapointed faces when they realized all their location data is gone and they have to manually enter it. Safest way is just to go through the app, until they fix, or even acknowledge the bug.

Please make new topic in Bug Reports and answer the prompts in the template and we’d be happy to take a look. But it’s not really possible to investigate and fix a bug without specific details like screenshots, version numbers, and a set of steps we can follow to try and replicate it on our end.

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YES!!! This is the issue. Thank you SO much. I’m pretty sure this will solve it.


Thanks so much! The issue was resolved below: Just had to switch on “share location data” in preferences. Thanks so much for the help!