Photos not uploading for specific observations

Platform: Pixel 3 and website

App version number: 1.19.8

Browser: Firefox

URLs (aka web addresses) of any relevant observations or pages:

Screenshots of what you are seeing:

Observations from Browser

Observations from iNaturalist phone app

Description of problem:

I have Automatic Sync off so I upload observations as batches, when I get home and my phone has a wireless connection. I uploaded my batch from July 1st on July 3rd. However, the observations online are missing all the pictures (see URL above for example). I uploaded more observations since and they uploaded normally (see, and my app has had a chance to sync everything, but the pictures are still not showing up on the observations from July 1st. Sometimes weird things happen but usually syncing it does the trick. Not this time!

Any idea how I can fix it? I am not going to go and manually upload the photos online.

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This happened to me yesterday. I was able to get the photos uploaded by editing the observation on the phone app, duplicating every photo, then resyncing. Another method that worked for me was deleting all of the photos in the observation, then reuploading them from the phone gallery (choose photo option). Somewhat tedious, but at least the time and place are still saved. Maybe someone has an easier fix.


Welcome to the forum!

I have had this happen to me recently as well. A friend would notify me every time it went through without a pic. I made the observation on the app also, and they took almost a month to finally sync to the website. And when they did go through, they had no pics. I ended up adding them manually through the website by editing.

Duplicating the photos worked, however they didn’t show as duplicates on the online obs, so I suspect they would pop up some time later like @allycouch suggests. Duplicating and deleting the other set right away doesn’t seem to work? Deleting the photos and reuploading them works fine. I just hope this doesn’t happen to me again when I get like 50 observations in a day!

The real goal was to avoid downloading all the photos to my computer, and adding them to each observation manually through the browser… ugh. Thanks!

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@sarahduhon @csledge this is a bug we’re investigating, I’m sorry it’s affecting you. Can you please describe, step by step, how you add photos to the app to make observations? It would also be helpful to know which devices you have. Thanks!


  • In the field, I take my photos with my phone normally, then select multiple and import to a new observation

  • The app used to automatically have a location approximation for me so refining it was quick, but now I have to hit location and wait several seconds for it to find me at 6-12m accuracy

  • Then I hit the checkmark and wait until home to identify and upload (sometimes I forget and do it a few days later)

I mentioned my phone is a Pixel 3, my computer OS is Windows 10

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Are you starting from within the iNat app and importing, or are you in your phone’s gallery and sharing to the iNat app?

My process is, create new observation (the + button), Choose Image, then that brings me to my recent images gallery where I select the photos, and hit “select”.

I can screenshot the process if it helps.

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No, that works, thanks! Unfortunately, in order to suss out the cause of this issue, we need log files from the app that record the observations’ creation, and we haven’t been able to obtain those from any user yet. The observations in question were uploaded too long ago for the logs to still be stored in the app, alas.

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If it happens again I can get you logs. Not sure how to though!

I use a samsung galaxy S10e. From the phone app, I create a new observation either from the menu or the round green + button from my observations page. Then, I almost always choose “take photo”. After the first photo, I then click the square button with the camera icon on the top left to add more photos.

I did a mass sync from the app of ~30 observations, and all failed to load photos besides one observation where I think I had recently cropped a couple of the photos. One observation had only soundclips and that synced fine. I synced them about two weeks after I initially created the observations.

I spent about 14 months with phone app stored only locally before I created an account and synced everything. All or nearly all my observations (~125 iirc) were made in the app.

When my phone did sync, it failed to upload or transfer the photos for the vast majority of observations—only the most recent 10-15 observations came through during the mass sync of the ~125. But more than that, the change delinked the photos from my phone and the iNat app. I’ve been matching the old photos to the rest manually for about two weeks now. (Another issue is that the phone was inconsistent about time zones for some reason, so some iNat observations are recorded local time and others are recorded GMT. This has complicated photo matching.)

My more recent uploads (~100) in the past two weeks have all gone fine, albeit a bit slow.

Caveat about this is that I’ve been using a Galaxy S5(!) with iNat for Android 1.19.8 (430). So the phone model may not be as useful for bug hunting, since it’s now 5 years old. (I’ll get a new phone this coming week.)