Why is Inaturalist no longer picking up the date and time from my photos?

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Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: I upload a photo and and it does not take the date. I have to manually enter the date which is burdensome and less accurate.

Step 2:

Step 3:

Hi @willbike, welcome to the iNaturalist Forum! Please fill out the bug report template, including platform, app version number if relevant, screenshots, and examples. Thanks!


It would also be good to know where your photos are coming from. I’ve found that editing them removes the metadata.

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Most editing softwares have an option on whether to keep or clear the Exif data when exporting, so that may be an issue.


I’d also add that I use photos on a Mac and dragging and dropping to the desktop removes the metadata, but exporting them to the desktop preserves it. It wasn’t an issue with the older iphoto, but the past few years it has been due to the change to Photos (I think). I’m not sure how it works for other photo editing software, but perhaps something like that might be happening with you.

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Dragging and dropping to the desktop also drastically reduces the image quality. From Photos, use the File menu to Export the images, and open the Options dialog to specify that resolution be retained. Fortunately, Photos will remember this setting! Preview can be used to check the metadata (it’s found under EXIF) and resolution

It seems kind of random what causes metadata to be lost on a mac. Like exporting .heic files to .jpg is fine but I seem to have problems exporting the .heif photos (live photos). Also I don’t think things saved from seek or most photo apps other than the camera app preserve metadata correctly.

Hopefully the web uploader gets around to supporting .heic files soon, it adds a huge amount of time to the iphone/mac uploading workflow to download them onto my mac, import them to photos, export them to .jpg, and then upload, and messes with my available hard drive memory until I can delete them because the process makes like 3 copies and in particular the .jpg files take up way more memory at the same resolution than .heic.

Some of your recent uploads have all the original metadata stripped out (e.g. here, here, and here), but there are others from the same day which haven’t (e.g. here and here).

That suggests you are processing some of your photos differently to others (but apparently not by cropping/resizing them).


I have a workflow that eliminates many of the redundancies. I use the iPhone camera app for my observations because it gives me more control and it seems (anecdotally anyway) to take better photos then the iNaturalist camera interface. I have the camera Format setting on my iPhone at “Most Compatible” so it saves photos in JPEG.

When I process the photos on my Mac, I download my observations from iCloud to a folder I setup on my Mac for my iNaturalist observations. Then I use Adobe Bridge to review the photos and decide which ones I want to upload to iNaturalist. Adobe Bridge doesn’t import the photos into it’s own folder so there is no duplication of files. It does create a cache of thumbnails for all files in the folder. The thumbnail process is quick since it only has to do this for new files added to the folder. I don’t do much editing of my photos but if I want to, I just double click the thumbnail in Bridge and it opens the file in Preview where I can do basic editing. For more sophisticated editing Bridge will open the file in many other photo editing applications.

Then I just drag and drop the photos I want from Bridge to the iNaturalist upload page. The full file with all the metadata is uploaded to iNaturalist. After that I delete the photos from iCloud since I don’t really need to see them on any other device and it saves space (and money) in iCloud. I end up with one file on my Mac and a backup in the Time Machine. And the best thing is that Adobe Bridge is free.

thanks for your feedback. I am still baffled but will try to look for any differences in the way I process them.