Sideways iPhone Photos

Taking a portrait (vertical) mode photo from the iPhone 5s, sharing it to a Mac, and then uploading it to WordPress reveals a frustrating problem – WordPress displays the photo 90 degrees rotated left (on its side).

Rotating the image within the WordPress photo editor does not fix the problem. Although the image can be rotated right, to the correct portrait position and saved, this appears to only fix the Mac desktop view. When I view the posted image from the 5s, it now displays sideways.

Although this affects the 5s and WordPress 3.7.1, the issue appears to be an old one, running back to iPhone 4. I’ve found many complaints describing the problem and not many solutions.

The problem stems from the fact that Apple now relies on some meta information, XIFF orientation flag, to inform a media player whether a photo should be displayed in portrait (vertical) or landscape ( horizontal) mode. It’s up to the app or program displaying the photo to honor the metadata and display the image correctly.

Here are some further details :
JPEG Rotation and XIFF Orientation

How To Fix It

  1. Wait for WordPress to honor the metadata
  2. Take photos with the iPhone held sideways (with the home button on the side)
  3. Use an app like Rotate Mailer

Although Apple could go back to the pre-iPhone 4 days and physically save photos in the original orientation mode, I don’t think it’s realistic that they will. It’s up to the software vendors and devs to honor the XIFF orientation flag so that photos display correctly. (Are you listening, WordPress?)

The Rotate Mailer app works well as a temporary solution. You take a picture on the iPhone, fire up the app, and choose up to four photos to email to yourself or someone else. The attached photos within the email can then be saved and uploaded to WordPress – fixing this sideways problem.

The developer has more details here:
Rotate Mailer App

I hope that this is useful for you, because I’m pretty sure that this problem extends well beyond WordPress.

Oh, you are holding your phone the right way.

5 Responses

  1. Thank you! I have had this problem since upgrading to i-phone 5. I have taken my issue to WordPress who won’t help me because I’m self-hosted. I will try the app to fix the problem. Thanks again for your post!

    1. You are quite welcome! I know how frustrating this problem is, but the Rotate Mailer app is really easy to use – although it should be an unnecessary step. However, I find more and more sites honoring the Apple way of saving photo orientation now. Hope this works out for you and thank you for the share!

    2. I don’t believe bmp files hold exif data, so if you convert the image to bmp, you should then be able to reconvert from bmp to jpg and have no exif data. I just had to do this for a site. I converted 40 images with irfanview on the pc and then reconverted to jpg and uploaded. Cleared wp cache and all was fine. Just a though.

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