Trouble with Google not uploading location along with photos/Google stripping location data from each photo?

I’ve tried different things to fix this issue but i still have photos that upload without the location and it asks me if i still want to upload the photo. I had heard it was because Google strips photos of location data (i do allow location on my Galaxy S23 Android phone but not on my computer), liability on their part? when a photo is moved from the file into iNaturalist. It still does it even after closing the iNaturalist App. Do I need to get another version of iNaturalist i heard here that fixed this issue (and is it free, where/how do i access it?) or is it a Google thing?

BlockquoteEx of a missing location with photo

I have an S23+, infrequently I will find that some of my photos don’t have any location data. Maybe I took 60 pictures of some moths in the evening or something over like 20 minutes, I’ll find that small pockets of photos might be entirely missing location data, even if I’m just stood in the same place (and still have signal, etc.). I think this is a bug with the S23, not sure what causes it to happen specifically, it’s been the case for as long as I’ve had the phone (6 months).

If you’re finding that all photos lack location data when you upload from Android, then you may be experiencing something like the big mentioned in this thread (which also discusses a workaround):

If you’re finding that it’s just some of your photos that lack location data, then the problem is with the photos and availability of location data at the time they were taken.

Let us know which scenario you’re experiencing, and people can try to help troubleshoot.

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For what it’s worth, someone wrote in to help@inat about a similar issue. They said an update had changed some of their privacy settings. Not sure if that’s what’s affecting you, but it might be worth double checking.

See also:

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Yeah, I have the issue where some pics do have the locations and others don’t. Thank you so much for your input here, Joeb! it’s one puzzle piece put in place at least on this issue.

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I tried to find the both the “browse” and the “Remove geo location” on my google photos app and it didn’t come up as options on my phone. I’m not sure if I should look at google photos from my phone or when i log in on my computer. But thank you for your help as i investigate this and hopefully it gets fixed!

Are the updates to iNaturalist automatic? I checked my privacy permissions and I allowed everything with iNaturalist while i’m using the iNaturalist App. The other option is to “allow every time”. Would I need to do the latter? Thanks!

I have the issue where some photos upload with a location but others don’t. And it seems random; can’t figure out if there’s a pattern to it or not.

Thank you thomaseverest, I checked out the link! I still will investigate this since I’m not sure what the specific situation with my phone & Google Photos & iCloud are.

Just a note, you can reply to multiple posts in one post. Just select the text you want to reply to an click on Quote.

It depends on how you set up your device, it’s not something iNaturalist has any control over. Also, I was referring to system updates in my post, not iNaturalist updates.

Are you sharing photos to iNat from your gallery, or are you importing photos from within iNaturalist? A screen recording of your process would be really helpful. If you don’t want to share it publicly you can send it to

Not sure if this applies to smartphones, but with most GPS recording systems, there is a setting where you can choose whether to stop recording the location when you’re not moving for a certain length of time. This makes sense if you’re using the GPS to record a track, but absolutely not if you’re using it to geolocate photos! As I said, not sure whether this might also happen with the geolocation on a smartphone, but this would certainly explain the phenomenon you describe. Could be worth taking a dive into the fine settings on your S23.

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I understand this is an issue on your smartphone, with the app, because most of my pictures have no location and I never had any warning on my PC.

My experience is that editing the photos can occasionally strip location (and other Exif data, like date, etc). Most of the time it’s fine, but depending both of the photo editor used and sometimes even the edition itself, these tags are lost. I usually have no issues with basic editing, e.g. resize/reframe/luminosity/contrast…
But all this happens before the upload!
On a computer, I don’t see how Google could strip this data from the picture when uploading on iNaturalist. Googlemaps code/API would be mostly/only used to locate and give a name to the place and country, and show this location on the map, AFTER the coordinates have been retrieved from the picture by iNaturalist server/app.

On an Android smartphone on the other hand, it’s all Google code, also to save the image and location, it would be surprising that there is some incompatibility? Or maybe with older pictures, shot with an older version of Android?

Try to attach a copy of your screen with the error message, it might help…

I don’t know about Google stripping the metadata from the photo, but the current Android photo picker doesn’t share location data with apps - iNat is using an old Android photo picker that still includes location data.

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I experienced that using the Garmins for fieldwork since I used it to navigate also. Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve fiddle around with it but nothing seems to work and i’m not even sure what fine settings to look into.

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Oh man, yeah this makes sense! Before my Galaxy S23, i used a cheap walmart galaxy phone and there weren’t any problems with the location data not getting picked up on my old phone!

Oh ok. I wasn’t sure if maybe inaturalist itself updates automatically or if after a while, it comes out with a new version.

Yes, I’m using photos from my phone’s gallery, but i’ve also used some from Google Photos. I’ve never uploaded photos from inaturalist,

Thanks for the tip! Yeah, i’m not saavy on alot of that kind of stuff on forums. I haven’t used a lot of forums.

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Sorry! i thought it did that when i posted a blockquote from my original post above. whether it’s a photo or screenshot, im not able to post a pic here (either by link or image icon above) on my laptop from my phone’s gallery or google photos. I’m not sure how to best to do this because I"m not getting the option here to upload photos or screenshots from my phone to here in this post.

I just posted here the url of an image from one of my observation photos I uploaded on inaturalist. Im not sure if this at all will help or be what you had intended, i apologize in advance if it isn’t.

I usually haven’t edited the photo (ie cropping), but since the pic will often upload upside down, I do use rotate; although BEFORE uploading the photo from my phone gallery or google photos.

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I see almost no EXIF data in the photo: So it was almost certainly stripped before it was imported into iNat.

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