When my mom sends me photos of our dog w/ her iPad 2, they always come to me upside down. So clearly, I'm going to flip them 180 degrees. Then when I post them on facebook, some people see them rightside up, but some people see them upside down. This is a bug.
Setting a rarely used EXIF data field to flip pictures upside down w/ irregular results is something that should have been thought about. Even though it wasn't, once this bug was identified, someone could've tweaked the iOS update and re-released it in under a day.
I feel compelled to re-post what crh24 posted last year on 10/30/11 verbatim, so here it is (see my comments at the bottom):
-- As quoted from crh24's old post:
"It is not a bug in the iPhone, it is a bug in the viewing software and there have been several threads about this 'problem' in the last couple of years. The explanation is rather simple.
The EXIF metadata spec contains a field which defines how the image should be rotated for proper viewing, i.e. 'which side is up'
Along about version 3.13 or so of iOS the software was changed to utilize that field of the EXIF spec--likely to facilitate faster photo saves from the camera. Prior to that time iOS devices with cameras physically rotated image data so that the rotation value field of the EXIF metadata could be set to zero. This allowed the images to display properly on those apps that were (and many still are) brain dead, i.e. they ignore the EXIF rotation field assuming it is zero, but that practice greatly increased the image to image time because rotating the image is CPU intensive and is better left to systems with fast CPUs.
So, the problem does not lie within the iPhone, it lies within the other apps that have so far failed to recognize and/or support the EXIF standard properly. Don't complain to Apple, complain to those companies with brain dead software--and there are quite a few still in the dark ages of image presentation. As a previous poster stated even Apple's own Safari doesn't handle it correctly (or at least it didn't earlier this year...I haven't checked lately).
I have suggested to Apple that they provide a switch to enable the old practice of rotating the image prior to saving but that has never happened. If set to ON one could be notified that image to image time would be increased and the user could then decide to use it or not. I suspect it wasn't added because the explanation of the function it provides could be confusing to non-technical users but I have nothing to support that suspicion.
It should also be noted that virtually all high end cameras set the rotation field, they do not rotate the image prior to saving."
1) Apple has decided to conform to the EXIF standard that older s/w applications have not yet done. By doing so, perhaps Apple knew there would be issues with PC users, as many Windows applications have not yet moved to this standard.
2) Recent Mac platform applications (and Adobe applications) do not have this problem because they read and use the EXIF orientation feature.
3) The latest Safari does not conform to the EXIF standard, so Mac users can test this for themselves.
4) If you are an iPhone user that sends photos to Windows PC users directly from the iPhone (i.e. email), then do the following:
-) Take only landscape photos with the home button on the right (yes this means the "shutter button" (volume buttons) are NOT on top, but the bottom. Bummer for those of us that like to use a "shutter button" like a normal camera.
- -) There is no way to take a portrait photo because it will show sideways, one way or the other.
5) If you really want to orient your photos the way you want with the iPhone (or some high-end digital cameras), then you'll have either of the following:
-) Download the pictures to iPhoto or Lightroom on your computer, then export them to your disk, then send the exported photos to PC users. The exported photos re-set the EXIF orientaion to zero, and re-map the pixels accordingly.
- -) Upload them to an on-line service where they do honor the EXIF orientation information, then provide links to your Windows PC friends.
6) This issue is common to modern digital cameras too, including Canon and Nikon.
7) I think Apple believes this is NOT their problem, as evidenced by the fact this is not considered an issue on the Apple Support site. After all, they've decided to honor the EXIF standard (which is NOT driven by Apple, but by the IPTC standards committee).
It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how many times people post the facts of the issue, some fanbois still refuse to accept that this is very definitely a design flaw on Apple's part. My understanding is the Apple have in fact made it known that they intend to include a "fix" in the next release of IOS.
I don't understand why there are so many morons out there that are unable to understand that EXIF is just information and metadata that is saved together with the picture or video.
I will say it once more - NO PROPER IMAGING SOFTWARE AUTOMATICALLY ROTATES IMAGES THAT WERE TAKEN UPSIDE DOWN - PERIOD. Why? Because when a photographer takes a picture upside down, then he INTENDS TO DO SO!!! Don't believe me? Fine... grab you normal (slr maybe?) camera (not the crappy iphone one) and take some upside down pictures... then open them in a real photo viewing/editing software... are they reversed? no... why? because you shoot them upside down for a reason...
Oh, and have fun taking upside down videos with the iphone crap and then trying to rotate them...
Read the earlier posts...
The reason this is so confusing and frustrating are as follows:
1) Too many people that post on this site attack each other instead of trying to be helpful
2) The issue is complicated due to the IPCT standards which specify the orientation parameter in the EXIF metadata
3) iPhone and many high end cameras set the orientation EXIF data parameter the same way, thus the iPhone isn't broken or designed incorrrectly according to the IPCT standards
4) When I take portrait or landscape photos with my Canon 60D, I have the same upside down and sideways issues when reading the downloaded, raw pictures with older image viewing software that doesn't correctly use the orientation EXIF information. The older s/w (and yes, this includes older Mac applications including the current Safari version 5.1.3) assumes an EXIF orientation of zero (0) and just doesn't account for any other value.
In my opinion good image veiwing s/w will respond based on it's intended use. For instance Flikr, Picassa, YouTube, Facebook, etc. appear to orient the images automatically, taking into account the EXIF orientation value. On the other hand, high end image editing s/w will have the flexibility to present the image as the photographer intended, but allow for re-orientation if that is desired (again, based on the EXIF information).
I do agree that if iPhone 4 users have a problem with image orientation when presenting their photos to others, regardless of whether the design is correctly following IPTC standards, it is Apple's problem. They need to make it work even if doing so is incorrect according to the IPTC committee. Being technically correct is not the same as being socially or "user friendly" correct.