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iPhone Photo Rotation – Broken in Lion

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I had a solution, but now it’s broken. Before we get into that let’s review what we’re talking about.

If you email portrait (vertically) – oriented photos from your iPhone your recipient is likely to view them sideways, especially if they open them using a browser-based mail service like Gmail.

The solution I was actually using: Email the files to myself first. My Mac would receive the photos and run an AppleScript triggered by the email subject. The script rotated the files, stripped out the exif tag that caused the problem, and mailed them back to me. I could then use that copy for sending to other people. It was relatively painless as I could email the photo right from the Camera app which kept the number of steps reasonable.

But a couple things aren’t working with Lion. The part of my AppleScript that pulls the attachments out and saves them to a folder in the Finder isn’t working. Others have the same problem. Further, the Automator action that sent the email back out isn’t working either. I’m not alone on that one either.

So, I looked at alternate solutions. Like uploading to Dropbox. Dropbox uploads a full res version of your photo. So I created a folder action script that handles the rotating and exif tweaking as soon as my Mac sees the file. That works fine. The problem is that the Dropbox app on my iPhone doesn’t download the full res version, it pulls down a version I consider too small.

I didn’t give up right away. The iOS Safari Dropbox DOES open a nice big version of the photo. From there I can save the photo to my camera roll and email it out. Recipients get a correctly oriented version of the photo, big enough to see.

So now the problem is the number of steps and apps involved. I could use something like Instagram but sometimes I just want to send a photo in an email, straight-up.

I don’t understand why Apple has made this an issue. iOS used to rotate a different way. Their own browser on the Mac isn’t going to display the photo correctly because of the way they’re handling the rotation, with a tag. Why browsers can’t read the tag – I don’t know.

Anyway, I’ve got a solution for when I need it, but I don’t see myself using it much. Too many steps.

11/2011 Update:  I have this working again.  My Automator workflow fails at the step where it sends the email.  So I’ve updated the AppleScript with a command to send it.  I’ll post the updated script shortly.

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