Bug 207088 - Uploading photos from iOS photo library strips EXIF data
Summary: Uploading photos from iOS photo library strips EXIF data
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: WebKit
Classification: Unclassified
Component: WebKit Misc. (show other bugs)
Version: Safari 13
Hardware: iPhone / iPad iOS 13
: P2 Normal
Assignee: Nobody
URL:
Keywords: InRadar
Depends on:
Blocks:
 
Reported: 2020-02-01 00:49 PST by Henry
Modified: 2021-11-01 03:09 PDT (History)
12 users (show)

See Also:


Attachments
AirDrop settings to include EXIF data (730.17 KB, image/jpeg)
2021-04-16 06:15 PDT, Henry
no flags Details

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Description Henry 2020-02-01 00:49:16 PST
In earlier versions of iOS, photos uploaded via Safari retained their EXIF data. In iOS 13, all EXIF data appears to be stripped out.

There does not seem to be any settings or options that allow the EXIF metadata to be included in the uploaded file - even if a user chooses to upload the 'Actual Size' image. Without EXIF data, it is impossible for a user to have a proper backup of their photo. It is also impossible for web apps to do even the most basic photo management, such as sorting uploaded photos by the date they were taken. 

Stripping out EXIF data also leads to the ridiculous situation where photos no longer have the correct orientation (https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=203482). 

Currently, for a user to upload an iPhone photo that includes EXIF data, they need to first transfer it to a computer via AirDrop or ImageCapture, and then upload it via a desktop web browser. 

If EXIF data is being deliberately stripped out for privacy purposes, it seems like there could easily be an option to include this data if the user wants to. Users are already able to select the size of the file to upload ('Large', 'Medium', 'Small' or 'Actual Size'), and this screen seems like the perfect place to give the user an informed choice about including EXIF data.
Comment 1 Radar WebKit Bug Importer 2020-02-01 17:46:07 PST
<rdar://problem/59091354>
Comment 3 Henry 2020-07-18 22:50:22 PDT
Is this a WebKit problem or a Safari problem?
Comment 4 Henry 2021-04-16 06:15:58 PDT
Created attachment 426214 [details]
AirDrop settings to include EXIF data
Comment 5 Henry 2021-04-16 06:37:47 PDT
Comment on attachment 426214 [details]
AirDrop settings to include EXIF data

This is still a huge problem for us. Users are trying to upload their photos to our hosting & backup service, but under the current setup, it's very problematic. 

Users are choosing to upload photos at 'Actual Size', but are disappointed to find that the EXIF data has been removed, and their filenames are replaced with useless UUIDs. This leads to many problems for the users, and for us:

1. Users have no way to sort their photos, because there are no dates, and no filenames.
2. Users can't reconcile or find photos, because the filenames are not the same as the ones shown in Apple Photos or in Finder.
3. Users don't have a true backup of their photos, because lots of important data has been stripped out.
4. Duplicate detection is not possible because the filenames have been replaced with UUIDs.

At the moment we recommend users don't upload via an iOS device, but instead transfer their photos to a computer (via AirDrop or ImageCapture), and then upload the files via a desktop browser. Obviously, this is a horribly inconvenient workaround. It would be much better is users could upload their iPhone photos direct from their iPhone.

I assume this is done for privacy reasons. However, I feel there should be an option for users to include this data when they want to. AirDrop already features a similar setting, which allows users to 'Include All Photo Data' (see attachment). I believe Safari on iOS should have a similar option. Safari already has an option that allows you to select the image size (Small, Medium, Large, Actual Size), so adding a setting in here would make sense. A nice way might be just to add another option into the size list, something like 'Original File', with an explanation that this option includes the filename and meta data.

It would also be good if this setting is 'remembered' for each origin or Home Screen Web App, so that users who frequently use the site are not having to change the setting every time they upload another batch of files.
Comment 6 Henry 2021-07-08 03:01:05 PDT
Hi, just wanted to know if anyone at WebKit or Apple had any insight into this issue? I would be happy to work up designs for some of the possible solutions I've  proposed in previous posts if that helps, but I obviously don't want to waste my time if there is some internal policy that states EXIF data can only be shared via native apps. 

Just to reiterate my previous posts - I think there should be an option (opt-in) that allows users to include EXIF data when they upload photos from iOS devices. The many benefits of this feature, and possible design solutions are described in previous posts.
Comment 7 Aditya Keerthi 2021-07-21 11:03:00 PDT
(In reply to Henry from comment #6)
> Hi, just wanted to know if anyone at WebKit or Apple had any insight into
> this issue? I would be happy to work up designs for some of the possible
> solutions I've  proposed in previous posts if that helps, but I obviously
> don't want to waste my time if there is some internal policy that states
> EXIF data can only be shared via native apps. 
> 
> Just to reiterate my previous posts - I think there should be an option
> (opt-in) that allows users to include EXIF data when they upload photos from
> iOS devices. The many benefits of this feature, and possible design
> solutions are described in previous posts.

Hi Henry,

I am looking into this issue.

Can you confirm that you're still seeing all EXIF data stripped out on iOS 14.5 (or later)?

I'm seeing location/date/model data being removed, but the orientation data is preserved.
Comment 8 Henry 2021-07-23 19:00:21 PDT
Hi Aditya, thanks for looking into this.

Please note there are 2 separate issues. There is the orientation bug (#203482), and then there is the general EXIF and filename stripping issue, which is this bug (#207088). 

Regarding orientation, I can confirm that the problem still exists in 14.5.1. If you select 'Actual Size' for the upload, then the orientation EXIF is retained. If you select any other size (e.g. Small, Medium or Large), then the orientation information is stripped out. Please see my comment from last year https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=203482#c9

Regardless of which size photo you choose to upload, all other EXIF data (Date, Location, Camera Settings, etc) is stripped out. It is my hope that an option can be added to include this data, as well as the filename.
Comment 9 Henry 2021-09-29 20:32:54 PDT
Hi Aditya,

Just wondering if you can provide any update on this issue? Any information you can give would be helpful for our product development decisions.

Thanks
Comment 10 s7g2vp2 2021-11-01 03:09:30 PDT
+1 for having access to the EXIF data.