Why is my picture sideways?

This is the story of Rotate Mailer, an iPhone app you’ve never heard of, but one you may need.

Are you emailing photos from your iPhone? Are the recipients using the gmail, hotmail, or yahoo mail websites to read the email? If so, then they are likely seeing your pictures sideways. Huh? That’s right. The iPhone/iPod/iPad do not play well with these web-based email readers.

(If you want to skip the details and just get the app to fix sideways pictures in your email, click here.)

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 5, the device no longer rotates the raw photo data. Instead, it simply adds a little instruction in the picture that tells 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 honor this instruction. Even though that cute picture of baby looks great on your phone, it’s going to be sideways when your mom opens it on her computer’s web browser.

There are four ways you can hold the phone when taking a picture (imagine the home button on the bottom, left, right, or top). The only position resulting in photos that work everywhere is “home button on the right.” If you hold the phone with the home button down (a very natural way to hold it), then your picture will show up sideways.

I searched for an app that would allow me to email photos from my phone, and would fix the rotation for me behind the scenes. I found a lot of apps, but none of them were able to automatically rotate the image. Most of them let you rotate the image manually, and they weren’t very user friendly.

I wanted something very simple:

  1. Select a photo for attachment in an email
  2. Send the email
The app should rotate the photo without any awareness or action on my part.

Since I found nothing close to that, I wrote it myself. It’s called Rotate Mailer.

You simply choose up to 4 photos. They’re rotated automatically if necessary, and attached to an email draft, ready to send. You can find it in the App Store today.

Get Rotate Mailer now to fix sideways pictures in your email