Reclaim first identification of my observations

I posted several observations from my phone, without choosing an ID, intending to come back later on my Mac where I can see larger and better pictures for guiding my choice. By the time I’d gotten a chance to do that, another user had swooped in and put in initial ID’s for my observations, several of which I question. How can I “reclaim” my observation and put in the ID I think is correct?

Hi, welcome to the iNat Forum! You can add an ID to your observations at any time. Under the list of current comments and IDs, click Suggest an Identification:

If you need to, you can reject community identification (under the map on the right side of the page), but usually these things are sorted out through other people weighing in on the observation.

I do this as well—I upload observations from my phone and then switch to my computer to add IDs. One thing that helps is to turn off auto-upload in the app, then wait to press upload until you have your computer open, ready to go. Even still, sometimes people swoop in with IDs before I’ve had a chance to add my own. :)


Good idea! Does this mean I can use the smartphone app in airplane mode?

1 Like

Yes! I do this on “big” iNatting days to help save battery. GPS works fine when your phone is in airplane mode too.


FWIW, I don’t use the smartphone app. I just take pictures with my camera and then upload them later using the web app. This has two advantages: first, minimal use of technology in the field, and second, complete control of the eventual observations.

You can’t edit other people’s IDs but you can enter your own at any time (which was already suggested).

Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose you could configure the smartphone app to upload in “stealth mode,” that is, don’t show your observations to others until you give the green light. Then you could take the time you need to make the initial ID.

1 Like

There’s a “draft mode” feature request


Are you concerned with being first on the list of IDs, or just that you think the other IDers are in error? I’m sure if you add a disagreeing ID and a few remarks, the other people will probably revise their position, withdraw, or at least start a discussion on why they ID’d how they did.

I suppose if being first on the list is very important to you, you could duplicate every observation, putting your IDs on the duplicates, and then delete all the originals. That sounds like a lot of work to me though and it certainly wouldn’t prevent people from disagreeing with you after the fact.


I do appreciate the community aspect of INat very much – not trying to squelch that. I just think that making the initial selection of a possible ID is more than half the fun! Looking through the suggestions, thinking about the type of site for the observation, checking with, putting things in context. When someone else makes a suggestion first, it seems to derail some of that thought process. Later corrections or additions are very welcome, especially if they include comments as to what they based the edit on.


the more people vote for the draft mode feature request @bouteloua linked above, the bigger the chances we’ll ever get it

1 Like

Ah yes I have always been a fan of the draft mode idea

The problem with waiting for the observer to go first is that observations in the “Unknown” category (which is where these end up if no one makes an ID) pile up and the more days that go by with an observation labelled “Unknown” the less likely it is that anyone will ever ID them. That is because relatively few of the observations in “Unknown” are cases like yours where the observer intends to research before making an ID. There is no way that an identifier can tell that you intend to do so unless you add a note to your observation when you upload it, and even then the idea of the community is that anyone can add an ID or comment to any observation. Even if you add a note and identifiers want to wait for you to add one of your own, they may just mark it “reviewed,” which would mean that they won’t see it again to add a second ID or confirm your ID later and it could be stuck in “Needs ID” forever. So turning off the auto-upload on your app until you are ready to review them all, and then uploading when others identifying in your region are likely to be asleep, seems like the best alternative for you, if you really want to be the first to make an ID other than a more general ID of your own.

1 Like

I don’t let the app auto-upload so I can control the 1st attempt at ID. Mostly just because it’s fun for me too. It’s not a huge deal but I savor the little things.


Ok, a more specific question related to this thread. When I go to one of my observations that another user put in the first identification, I don’t see how to get to the “Suggestions” that INat will do when I first upload a picture. Is there a way for me to get to those suggestions, so I can make my own judgement about what I think it is?

You can compare your own image to their choice.

Or you can click identify and get a list of suggestions. To force a compare view, you can add a higher taxon.

OK, @dianastuder is right of course, but to be a bit more specific, in case that helps at all:
and then
image ,

or simply clicking here will do the same thing.

I’ve read here recently that clicking in the empty ID box will act differently if there is already an initial ID by somebody else, but I can’t confirm that from my own experience.


I prefer the empty box method because the compare tool only suggests species, not genera or subfamilies or families.

1 Like

I’ve seen the Compare feature offer genera and families – though it’s been in situations where a relevant species hasn’t been recorded for that location. I suppose the more accurate way to put it then would be that the Compare feature only offers the lowest possible match for the selected taxon level.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.