I need to collect photos from all my friends, some of whom use iPhone. (I have no Apple devices btw). Usually, I send people a link using which they upload all their photos to my cloud through a web browser, but iPhone removes all metadata from the photos, including date and time taken and GPS location, making a huge mess in the photo collection.

Is there any way they could send me their photos in full quality and without losing EXIF metadata. I needs to be simple enough so that iPhone users would actually be willing to send me their photos from an event.

  • 1
    Which cloud service do you use? I selected a photo in my iPhone Photos library, tapped Export, and from the export options chose Google Drive. Opening the photo in Google Drive and clicking on the "i" button showed partial metadata (e.g. manually added caption was there); however, if I download the photo to my Mac desktop, I can see that all the EXIF and IPTC metadata is intact. So it's obviously retained when exporting from iPhone to Google Drive.
    – MacEater
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 15:53
  • Thanks, will try exporting to Google drive. I use Nextcloud, but my friends don't have the app installed so I send them a link to upload the photos through a web browser. Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 12:53

2 Answers 2


I managed to figure it out.
(The test device was not in English so the button labels might be different. Feel free to correct me in comments)

  1. In Photos, tap "Save to Files" and save the photo somewhere to files - it will be saved as .heic file with all the metadata and with full quality.
  2. When uploading to a website through safari, choose "Upload files" instead of "Gallery" and select the .heic photos from Files.

The photo files are sent without any modifications - original quality, all the metadata, but also in .heic format which you might have problems opening on other devices.


If you're in their presence doing an Airdrop the files to one another. It's a pretty surefire way to get the file transferred and retain all the metadata. The file attributes can carry over too, but I've had somewhat inconsistent results with the OS file attributes at times when Airdrop has a snafu. Double check the received files display as expected, you may need a MacOS device to view this data if that matters to you. It may show up in the Files app, I haven't checked that myself.


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