Reduce clicks to make it easier to take multiple photos in app

Am I missing something or at the moment you’re forced to have three clicks between every photo you want to add to an observation? Why not make it so you can photograph on repeat as you would if saving to a normal camera app ?

This is really a dealbreaker if trying to photograph moving objects like invertebrates in situ, as you have limited time before they scurry away.

The clicks involved also seem pretty superfluous to me - they could just be stashed elsewhere without breaking the continuum a live observation needs.

After taking a single photo, you have the following clicks before you can take another.

CLICK ONE = Retake / Use
Personally I would rather just automatically keep, then have better ability to edit afterwards, to limit need for the click… but maybe thats just me.

CLICK TWO = Plus button to add more photos
Again I would rather be taking more photos by default and choose to step out of that screen than be forced out of camera mode and have to choose to reenter by default.
The other issue with this click is having the cancel button next to the add photograph button.
Maybe I’m clumsy, but I also accidentally press the cancel button when trying to add a new photo at times. This is especially annoying when trying to photograph moving objects as the photos are then completely lost.

CLICK THREE = Camera roll / Camera
A recent update I think(?), which is useful, but just doesn’t need to be offered between every live shot.

This issue is likely exacerbated for me as I’m trying to shoot inverts with a loupe gripped next to lens which kind of needs three hands to do anyway…but still…

If people are really into having these three clicks as they are, then I guess this is a feature request to have a kind of “continuous mode” option like you would on a DSLR.

I approved this, but a) I’m not sure if it’s technically feasible and b) I feel pretty strongly that if you want/need to take a bunch of photos quickly, it’s best to use the default camera app. The camera app is accessible from the lock screen anyway so it will always be quicker to access. I’d rather development time for iOS be spent on functionality that is unique to iNat (eg improving Explore, adding Messages, etc).


I agree with the recommendation to use the camera app for multiple photos. At this point, I use it for all my iNat photos, not just because it’s faster, but because it gives me more control over the photo than the camera functionality exposed through the iNat app.

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thanks @tiwane and @tpollard

I guess when I started writing this it was more of a question if I´m missing something…
(I wasn´t even sure whether to make it a feature request) …and maybe thats it - I just need to upload afterwards. Fair enough!

I still think the UI design could be bettered though at some point.
If you are going to have a camera option within the app, it may as well be as good as it can be. The three click navigation and some button positioning as it is atm seems suboptimal.

A similar design issue to the cancel / plus button proximity is that once you´ve pressed the “use photo” button, your finger /thumb is then over the share button - which often leads me to accidentally share observations before I´ve added a suggested name. I´m usually quick to fix an “unknown” but I imagine newer users might not be, which could also add unnecessary work for identifiers in that pool.
Not a huge deal either!
But yes…just could be polished I think.

Will try out just using camera then uploading.


First off, I apologize for my somewhat cranky response, it wasn’t necessary. I do think the ability to take multiple photos easily within the app would be a nice to have, but I’d say it’s a low priority and I’d prefer we focus on other functionality for now.

Just talking with Alex, this would not be a trivial addition to the app but it would be possible. We would have to create our own in-app camera (right now I think we’re using code from a third party library), then we could look into this. If you have concrete ideas or examples of how a UI flow to support this functionality would work, please share them, but this would be down the road addition.

This hasn’t happened to me, but I do notice there’s a lag between tapping Use Photo and the app registering your tap, which could lead to multiple taps and an accidental tap on the Share button. Is that what’s happening to you?

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No worries! But maybe my initial post or title makes this sound more complex than I meant it.
I´ve editted the title / content to try and make it a bit clearer.

I was pretty sure the camera roll vs camera option was a new additional click added within the last few weeks(?) This is what prompted this post. If so, this can´t be innate to however the third party library is used. Or is this just my memory playing tricks on me?

If I understand your comment, the issue you are referring to with Alex is more of a true continuous mode a la DSLR as I mention at the end. Which I get would be more complex with caching the images or whathaveyou. My original intent was more just to say that it would be helpful I think to reduce back the number of clicks between shots, as its become a bit cumbersome.

So, not necessarily reducing it down to zero clicks which is effectively continuous mode… but just anything less than three.

But, yes, maybe just my memory playing tricks with me anyhow!
Will experiment with using the iphone camera app.
Totally get that minor UI tweaks might not be a priority… :)

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I agree in that I get frustrated with the difficulty taken consecutive photos within the app, but using the camera app is a much better solution for now. My only worry about using the camera app is that I won’t get the feedback immediately about the accuracy of my GPS.

I guess the best working flow is:

  1. Take photos with the best camera app you have.
  2. Create the iNat record in the iNat app immediately thereafter making sure the GPS data is correct.

I’m sorry, I suppose I was confused by your feature request, I thought you were asking for the ability to take a bunch of photos at once before getting to the Observation Details screen. That would be pretty complicated, but cool.

Regarding the new chooser:

I was definitely the one who pushed for it to be implemented in version 3 of the iOS app. I can’t tell you how many emails we’ve received over the years from people who were utterly confused by the previous workflow. So many people had no idea they could import existing photos into iNaturalist, all they saw was the camera that popped up when they tapped on Observe. So I pushed for the iOS app to use the same workflow as the Android app has for a few years.

There are trade-offs to either approach, but I feel pretty strongly that making the options clear to everyone is an improvement. To me there’s always the option to use your phone’s camera for more complicated situations or situations requiring quick action. Unless you’re keeping iNaturalist open all the time, opening the camera app will always be faster. Location can always be determined after the photos have been taken.


Ok gotcha. And yes, I agree, a necessary update - I struggled with accessing camera roll before… so totally understand.
I just think it doesn´t need to be asked inbetween every single shot.

Instead of

  • select + button
  • choose camera / camera roll
    - take photo
  • choose use photo / retake
  • select + button
  • choose camera vs camera roll
    - take photo
  • choose use photo / retake
  • select + button
  • choose camera vs camera roll
    - take photo

why couldn´t workflow be more like

  • select + button
  • select camera vs camera roll
    - take photo
  • select retake / + button / use photo
    - take photo
  • select retake / + button / use photo
    - take photo

stashing the camera vs camera roll choice just for the initiation
and absorbing a plus button choice into the use /retake screen


That’s a good suggestion, thanks! I’ll see if I can figure something out.


ok nice! thanks for getting back directly @alex, much appreciated :)


Still disappointed with new interface. It is slow, requires more clicks, and glitchy. The use photo button lags quite a bit. The projects tab is quite faulty and actually quits out of the observation for no reason which is bad because if you are filling out the sections before saving, then you lose all data and the observation. Sure would like option to go back to old iPhone interface. I hear your reasons for the update, but the new one is frustrating/disappointing and does indeed make it slower to take photos of moving organisms.

That sounds like several bug reports. We’re working on getting the issues with version 3 fixed and detailed bug reports would be really helpful for that. A lot of the glitches have been fixed in the last few updates (version 3.0.6), but obviously there are still others that need fixing. I know of a few issues with projects, I’ll make a bug report on GitHub today.


Much better to use a real camera, thus allowing some post-editing facilities and much better control of zoom, depth of field etc etc. I find a phone camera OK for static species such as plants but pretty useless for anything that’s moving and/or at a distance. Upload to iNat later in the day. There are several excellent compact cameras that you can carry with you when out and about.

I would be interested in hearing your recommendations. I cannot go around with much weight on my neck, so the more lightweight the better. thanks for any ideas.

I have a DSLR I use regularly at home. A Lumix GH2 with a 105 Sigma lens and others…
But when travelling abroad I don´t necessarily take it.

I am thinking of getting a TG5 for travel though…I know this is a compact many people recommend for inverts.

But regardless, I´m really interested in how the limits of a phone can be pushed, with loupes, clip on microscopes, etc… so this doesn´t really apply in my case. I´m super interested in how iNaturalist opens up recording to the general public…and what the boundaries are for recording invertebrates…and how far they can be pushed. I´m amazed at what detail you can get just with a cheap 10x loupe and an old iPhone 6 for example :-

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I agree, and I use the default camera app more than the iNat app for taking photos. But using the iNat app allows you to immediately get an accurate location (and know exactly how accurate it is), which is important. I’ve definitely been burned by taking photos quickly with the camera app while in the field and not having any location data, or highly inaccurate location data, recorded with the photos.

For non-smartphone camera discussion, please check out

For a discussion about smartphone macro lenses, please see:


yes, have read the smartphone lenses discussion! … and waiting to get a recommended one - Olloclip. So far, actually more impressed by a loupe than the cheap clip on lenses I´ve used though. But maybe ones like Olloclip are another level.

I tried using the in phone camera app again yesterday, and will definitely use for really fast moving objects… but i´ve got to say, I´m still more into using the camera inside the app - just such a wonderfully seamless workflow (bar the excess clicks). So easy to spend more time at home processing DSLR shots than time in the field itself…its refreshing to be able to maximise time outside, even if the resolution is limited.

My vote is for this too. The extra click that is necessary every time in the present interface annoys me quite a bit. Would be great if the camera remained at the zoom setting it was on for the previous photo also because between insect photos, usually taken using only one hand, you have to press camera buttons AND zoom back in again between each shot. The good thing is that the sudden shutdown of the app when taking a photo issue seems fixed so if you “retake” you don’t lose the previous photo any more. Can the camera setting be remembered between photos like what happens when you “retake” now? Thanks for the great app and addition to my life.