Photos rotated after adding to observation, date and time not imported

Android 11
Samsung Galaxy S10e
iNaturalist version 1.23.7 (496)

Problem summary:
When adding an observation from the app, selecting photo from the device gallery and importing, image is rotated (90 degrees counter-clockwise), and date and time are not present (but location coordinates are present). I first observed this on July 7th, the previous observations from June 30th having had no issues on the same device. The device software is up-to-date. I have since updated the iNaturalist app to the latest version, to no effect. I also discovered that my iNaturalist Account Settings (on the web interface) showed my time zone as Hawaiian time, which I reset to Eastern time, though that also doesn’t seem to have solved the issue either.

Example (with steps and screenshots):

  1. Here is a photo from my phone gallery, showing image with correct date, time, location, and orientation on device:

  2. Here is the iNat app observation page:

  3. Choosing (+) to add an observation, I then select “Choose Image”:

  4. I choose the image and hit “Select”:

  5. Which shows “importing” and returns the observation Details page.
    Note the rotated image, the lack of date and time information, and the presence of location information:

  6. Opening the image icon shows the same rotated image:

Sorry if I left out anything important, and let me know what else might help figure it out. Thanks!



Could you share the original photo?

This is definitely an issue when sharing photos from the gallery to iNat rather than importing the photos into iNat from within the app. It’s usually related to situations where the photo is backed up in the cloud rather than the original file being on your device. Are your photos being backed up in the cloud?

Either way, if you can try again and, if the same issue pops up, can you please send us log files from the app? To send log files, go to the About tab in the app and tap three times on the version number. You will then have the option to email the log files to us. Please make sure to refer to this issue when you email the log file to

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The photos on the phone are continuously backed up to Google, but they are also stored locally, which is where the iNaturalist app seems to be importing them from. The issue is very consistent at least, so highly reproducible. I’ll send log files shortly.

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Does this work?

Yes. I asked for the photo because I wanted to do some testing and see if the problem is reproducible on a different device.
The photo doesn’t seem to contain any EXIF data at all, not even the coordinates. When uploaded either via the app or the website, no data about the location, date, etc. is loaded. It doesn’t get rotated though.

Images uploaded to the forum are modified so you’ll need to email it to or upload the original elsewhere to share.


Okay here is a link to the file uploaded to Google Photos (hopefully with metadata?).

Okay, log files sent! Just to clarify, this issue affects all observation imports as of July 7th (and none before), not just random ones, so either my device software or settings have changed somehow, or the iNat app or settings have changed. Or possibly something with Google… Anyway, thanks again for the help!

The app was updated on July 6th, so maybe indeed something has changed in the app.

Btw, the photo you uploaded on Google Photos is modified too.

I’m confused. Accessing my photos on the device or on Google Photos shows location, date, time, and correct orientation, so where exactly is the “original” file and how do I access the metadata (and share that information)?

ETA: Can you view the info in this copy?

Okay, possible solution here (at least clues): Looking through settings on phone, noticed that under “Settings/Apps/Camera/Camera settings/Format and advanced options/” the toggle for HEIF pictures was set to ON. I turned it OFF, snapped a picture, recorded the observation, and it seems to work as normal. Looking at the files on my device, everything since July 2nd is in HEIC format instead of the typical JPG.

I can provide screenshots if helpful. No idea how the setting got changed, but it looks like a file format issue. (I blame Google :) )

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The link seems to be broken.

Anyway, I see the problem is solved… more or less :)

Seems like a bug with the way we read HEIF photos, I could replicate on my device. Made a bug report here:

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The image rotation issue might only be for images originally taken in portrait orientation, and they are just defaulting to landscape. Haven’t tested it.

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I also have a Samsung S10 and I share the same issue. I have adapted by rotating and cropping images after uploading them to iNaturalist. If the picture is not cropped than the image would replicate 3 times horizontally. Notablly, I have the same issue with images being flipped horizontally on a social media account. I figure that it has to do with a Samsung camera or gallery update that happened earlier in the summer.

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Same issue here with HEIC only. However, I’ve been using HEIC and only in the last couple of days has it done this. Not really wanting to turn off HEIC. Cropping a photo on gallery makes a jpeg, then all is well, but I don’t always crop. On the full website you can’t upload in HEIC either. I never do on the fly observations because I want to curate my photos first. Samsung Galaxy S10+, iNaturalist app version 1.26.3 (533). Thanks.

By the way, also when uploading photos via the web site, some of them get rotated by 90°.

I’m having the rotation issue too.

Can you provide some more info to help diagnose the problem like in the previous posts?
What OS, device, and app version are you using?
What format are the pics in and how are you importing to the app?
You can also trying posting a link to an example file that triggers the issue as other users did previously.