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Fix Your Sideways Photo Problem

This is the origin story of Rotate Mailer, my iOS app that fixes a photo’s orientation as you email it.

Way back when the iPhone 4 was released, people started noticing a problem when they’d email a “portrait” photo. The recipient would see it sideways, if they were using gmail, yahoo, or hotmail.

The iPhone/iPod/iPad did not play well with these web-based email readers.

How could that be?

In the days of the iPhone 3, the phone would rotate the raw photo data so it looked correct to any viewer, regardless of how you held the phone when taking the picture. But with the iPhone 4 and later, the device no longer rotated the raw photo data. Instead, it simply added a little instruction in the picture that told the viewing software “hey, you need to rotate this picture in order to view it.”

Well, it turns out that none of the web-based email programs honored this instruction. Even though that cute picture of baby looked great on your phone, it was sideways when your mom opened it on her computer’s web browser.

So, I created Rotate Mailer. You simply choose up to 4 photos. They’re rotated automatically if necessary, and attached to an email draft, ready to send.

Almost all web apps have now fixed their photo viewers. But even today, hotmail, and WordPress 3 and older can show sideways photos.

If you’re someone that emails a lot of photos (perhaps you’re a real estate agent), you might find Rotate Mailer very useful.