iPhone 7 plus with latest iOS.  To the best of my knowledge, I have never disabled location services for Camera or Compass.  I’ve taken many photos and most have GPS tags embedded. But today, I took 22 images of gravestones in a cemetery on a partly cloudy day with very few trees, and none of them have GPS tags.  At one point, I looked at my compass app, which also shows lat/long and it was showing believable values.  Checked the settings, and location services is still enabled for both apps.

What would make an iPhone intermittently NOT add location data to photos?


1 Answer 1


Turns out it's not iPhone's fault.  When you copy one or more photos from Photos.app to a Finder window by dragging, the GPS data is discarded.

To keep the GPS data (and who knows what else¹), you have to use the menu bar, File→Export→Export unmodified original for xxx items.

¹I think it was a stupid design decision.  Your opinion may vary.

  • Your question doesn‘t mention a Mac at all, made it a bid hard for others to answer this.
    – nohillside
    Dec 6, 2023 at 19:21
  • That's correct. It doesn't mention Mac because the photos were taken on iPhone. The answer refers to Mac because when first asked, I had no way of knowing that the Mac had done the damage.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 7, 2023 at 1:10
  • The fact that you looked at the photos on the Mac might have been useful in analysing the issue. But glad that you found the cause.
    – nohillside
    Dec 7, 2023 at 4:51

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