2 July 2009 @ 19:49Email Full-Resolution Photos From the iPhone

Note: This tip is no longer necessary in iOS 4 or later.

I was searching for a way to send multiple photos from the iPhone in a single email, and what I found instead was something even better.

Every time that I wanted to email a photo, I naturally went to that photo and tapped the Share button, followed by the “Email Photo” button. This attaches a single photo to a new email. Then there were times that I wanted to attach another photo to the email. Instinct told me to click the home button and tap the Photos button. Unfortunately, this brought me back to my new message that had a single photo attached.

Then I had one of those “Eureka!” moments — “Copy and Paste!”

Copy a photo on the iPhoneYes, if you tap and hold on a photo in either album view or single view, you will get the option to Copy. So, I copied, clicked Home, then tapped Mail, tapped Compose, and pasted the photo in the body. Then I clicked Home again, tapped Photos, found another photo, tapped and held, Copy, return to Mail and pasted the next photo into the body. Finally, I filled in the recipient, subject, and body, and sent the email to myself as a test.

What I found was, the photos contained in the email were full-resolution 2048×1536 photos (from an iPhone 3G S (or 1600×1200 from the original iPhone), not the puny, downsampled 800×600 photos that get sent via the “Share” method. And yes, the EXIF data is still intact.

Yeah, and after this revelation, I had another “Eureka!” moment. I realized that there is a Share button in Album view that allows you to select multiple photos to email. Well, I feel a bit stupid. But wait! Those were full-resolution 2048×1536 photos that I emailed using the Copy/Paste method. I guess I don’t feel so bad after all.

The Copy method also sends full resolution videos at 640×480 vs. the Share method which sends at a compressed 480×360 resolution. These attachments can get pretty large and may not be accepted by some email servers.

Note: As pointed out by commenter Ryan, it is possible to use the Copy button in Photos to copy/paste multiple photos into an email.


Update: There is a WordPress bug that causes the full-size images to post sideways. This is due to WordPress not yet supporting EXIF orientation data. According to the trac entry, the EXIF orientation feature has been postponed from WordPress 2.8 to 2.9. Until this is resolved, photos should be re-saved or exported from an image viewer/editor at the proper orientation before uploading to WordPress.

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  1. Ryan | 03 Jul 2009 @ 12:34 #

    Here’s another Eureka! for ya…next to the Share button at the bottom of the Select Photos screen, there is also a Copy button. This allows you to copy as many pictures as you’d like which you can then paste in an email and send them at 2048×1536.

  2. James Poling | 10 Jul 2009 @ 23:41 #

    I think I’m the odd man out here. Whenever I try to copy/paste photos into mail, it still resizes them.

    I’ve tried one at a time, and selecting multiples and then copy. Both times it pasted in resized and sent them the exact size they are when they are sent from the gallery.

    Am I missing something?

  3. Jon | 11 Jul 2009 @ 9:38 #


    That is odd. I haven’t heard that from anyone else.

    First, are the pictures you are sending via copy/paste originals shot with the iPhone, or photos synced with an iPhoto album?

    Second, what are you using to verify the size of the sent photos? Photoshop? Preview?

  4. James Poling | 11 Jul 2009 @ 10:10 #

    I figured out what the issue was. It is in fact working. Great tip. Thanks for the follow-up.

  5. Jon | 11 Jul 2009 @ 10:14 #

    Glad you got it working, James.

  6. James Poling | 11 Jul 2009 @ 10:34 #

    You know what I can’t figure out with this though? The orientation. When I save it, the thumbnail looks like the top of the photo is pointing to the left and should be rotated. When I open it in anything on my computer (Picasa or Photoshop it appears with the top pointing up, in the right direction. This is frustrating because if I try to upload the photo it shows as sideways on my website.

    Does that make sense?

  7. Jon | 11 Jul 2009 @ 11:07 #

    I see what you mean. When I get info on both the down-scaled and the full-size photos, I notice that the full-size photo has the property “Orientation: 6 (Rotated 90° CW)”, and the down-scaled photo does not.

    If you were to open the full-size photo in Photoshop and make a change (or re-size) and re-save, that orientation data would be stripped, because it was saved at the “normal” orientation. This is essentially what the iPhone is doing when it down-scales the photo to 800×600.

    This is actually a WordPress bug, or rather a feature that has not yet been implemented (EXIF orientation compatibility).

  8. James Poling | 11 Jul 2009 @ 11:23 #

    Obviously something on the computer reads it wrong as well because it shows the thumbnail at the wrong orientation.

    Thank you for all your help though. It is much appreciated.

  9. York | 15 Jul 2009 @ 18:14 #

    But how do u save a hires of a web to the saved photos album?

  10. Jon | 15 Jul 2009 @ 20:06 #


    Load the hi-res image in Safari, then tap and hold the image. You will then get the option to “Save Image” or “Copy”. Choosing “Save Image” will put that image in your photo album.

    I tested this by saving a 2576×1932 image from the web, then copied it from the album, and pasted it into an email. The sent file was the same 2576×1932 image.

  11. York | 16 Jul 2009 @ 2:31 #

    Tnx for the quick reply. All true what you’ve wrote but the thing is about saving it to the phone, not emailing. If i save a pic higher res, the preview thumbnail on photo saved album is all fuzzy so youcant even use it for wallpaper. (ipod touch 2g 3.0)

  12. Jon | 16 Jul 2009 @ 7:04 #


    I see what you mean now. I found a larger image to save to the iPhone and when I returned to my camera roll to view it, the image was pixelated. What’s worse is that all the images in the camera roll were pixelated as well.

    The only way I found to restore the clarity to my photos was to delete the large image and restart the iPhone.

  13. York | 16 Jul 2009 @ 12:27 #

    I c, hope it gets done in the next update I guess..

  14. eduard | 19 Jul 2009 @ 23:10 #

    yeah cool. at first i was also receiving only 800×600 images in my gmail inbox, so for me the epiphany was that i had to maximize a given image on the iphone screen (i.e. via pinchy-squeezy whatever) before copying & pasting it. but now that I’ve figured that out, the images arrive in me gmail at full-res (namely 1600×1200 on my now old-skool 3G)

  15. Justin | 27 Jul 2009 @ 17:36 #

    You can now do this to send full res videos as well, but the max of 15MB attachment in the mail app restricts you to about 30 second clips at full res.


  16. Jon | 27 Jul 2009 @ 18:14 #

    Justin is referring to the iPhone OS 3.1beta having the ability to copy/paste videos. This will not work in iPhone OS 3.0.

  17. Justin | 27 Jul 2009 @ 18:27 #

    Errr… Yeah, sorry I forgot to mention that.

  18. iPhone Email Dude | 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:32 #

    Oh my gosh! This is so wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to explain this. I have been going nuts for the last two week not being able to sen full res photos from my iPhone.

  19. Jon | 29 Jul 2009 @ 10:37 #

    You’re welcome, iPhone Email Dude. I’m glad this tip has helped you and many others.

  20. mitchell | 14 Aug 2009 @ 11:25 #

    I tried doing the copy with a video I had taken with my iphone 3gs (OS version 3.0.1). I went to camera roll, clicked the bottom left icon, selected the video, I clciked copy and it checked it. I then clciked Home, opened a new email message, did a paste but nothing pasted in.
    I am interested in doing this not jus because of the improved video res.( 640×480 original versus 480×360 after it is compressed for email), but I have seen that the volume on an iPhone 3gs video is lower after it is played on a computer. This is after it has been sent by the iphone and compressed after doing the Share.

  21. Justin | 14 Aug 2009 @ 11:47 #

    @mitchell As Jon pointed out, I forgot to mention in my original comment that I am on 3.1, so you will have to wait until this comes out in the next few weeks.

    Also, I’ve found there was a 15MB limit on emails sent from the iPhone independent of the email account limit (for pictures or videos). That comes out to about a 30 second video clip at full resolution making it not as useful as I hoped.

  22. mitchell | 14 Aug 2009 @ 11:50 #

    Thanks. Have you seen or hear anybody else talking aobut the volume thing I noticed. It occurred on different computers after the emailed iphone 3GS video was emailed. I didn’t know if that had to do with quicktoime, the aac audio format, or a fluk of my iphone.

  23. James | 13 Sep 2009 @ 9:36 #

    Is there any way for me to open video/media pictures without going to the Internet and entering a convoluted user ID and password. With Verizon, the pic was immediately available for viewing and I find AT&T’s process annoying…HELP

  24. RJ | 06 Nov 2009 @ 13:02 #

    My phone shows 1035 photos but when entering it then i only can view 993. Wonder why?

  25. Stephen Mok | 28 Nov 2009 @ 21:18 #

    I was getting so frustrated at being unable to upload full-resolution photos with EXIF and geotagging, and now I know how to do with multiple photos at a time too!

    Brilliant tip — thank you!

  26. ben | 30 Nov 2009 @ 21:31 #

    i must be missing something because any way i try it i’m still getting a tiny upload. i tried the full screen image copy and paste and still no good.

    i have 3g iphone.

  27. Jon | 30 Nov 2009 @ 21:52 #


    What are the dimensions of the image that you emailed via copy/paste?

  28. Eric | 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:34 #

    That rocks! Thanks, you solved 2 things that were bugging me in one quick solution!

  29. Jon | 14 Dec 2009 @ 11:40 #

    Glad you found the hint useful, Eric.

  30. Lorene | 25 Dec 2009 @ 14:46 #

    Thanks! I was able to send several pictures at Christmas time quickly.

  31. Terri | 13 Jan 2010 @ 12:58 #

    I have the 3GS and cannot send video via email. I mean, the email goes thru but then when I open the email the video is a scramble. Any ideas??

  32. Jon | 13 Jan 2010 @ 13:14 #


    Are you trying to view the sent video on the iPhone or in an email client on a computer? I just tested video sent via Share and via Copy and both worked fine.


  33. CeceS | 12 Feb 2010 @ 17:16 #

    Maybe this will help? It is called Mail Photo 2 Group. It can mail multiple photos to groups, edit photos name and size.


  34. Carl | 22 Feb 2010 @ 13:41 #

    Thanks much for this tip! As a new iPhone owner, having had multiple smartphones over the years, I never expected this one to resize photos without notification. I still don’t understand why there’s not an option to do this differently, but whatever…at least copying takes care of this in the meantime. I did find that selecting multiple images via the Album view still sent them as the ridiculous VGA resolution, though.

  35. Kenewayne | 11 Mar 2010 @ 10:58 #

    I was wondering how to send a video in an email. Or at least, how to compress it to be able to fit in an email…I took a video that 1 minute 45 sec and it says it that the file is to big! I don’t want to ‘chop up’ this video just to send it. Any suggestions??

  36. Jon | 11 Mar 2010 @ 11:07 #


    I don’t have a solution for you. It seems that the iPhone will only allow us to email about 1 minute of video.

  37. Kenewayne | 11 Mar 2010 @ 11:13 #

    Thanks Jon..I’m gonna keep searching! :O)

  38. E.J. Ambrose | 18 Sep 2010 @ 11:22 #

    When sending pics from iPhone 4 they come out 90 degrees tilted to the recipients e-mail.

  39. Jon | 18 Sep 2010 @ 12:50 #


    That’s because the copy/paste method sends the unaltered photo that only contains EXIF data pertaining to the image orientation. Some programs aren’t able to read and display the correct orientation. When you use the “Share” option on the iPhone, it crops and saves the orientation sans EXIF data.

  40. Mo | 25 Sep 2010 @ 12:36 #

    I was having problems with the photos on my replacement 3G,(3.1.3) they were very blurred. Took it back & they replaced it again however i find the same problem again. Photos on camera-roll are ok, not blurred, but if i email myself a photo from camera-roll then drag it into iPhot it’s VERY blurred.

    However, once i plug in iPhone to sync in iTunes the photos are still blurred until i put them in one of my folders(Mo & family) then they are fine & can be emailed with no blurring at all?

    My son found this http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1802430&start=0&tstart=0
    but this was way back in 2008-2009 only difference is the photos in my camera-roll are NOT blurred like the people on that discussion! I’m finding it very confusing & strange…
    Anyone got any idea as to what’s going on please?

  41. ahrimanpob | 13 Sep 2011 @ 22:32 #

    Awesome info, I had been cursing like a sailor everytime I wanted to attach and e-mail more than one pic from my iPhone.


  42. Driver | 25 Oct 2011 @ 10:22 #

    Yes, this DOES still apply in iOS 5 and for the 4 and 4S. Becasue some people don’t know how to attach multiple hi res images to a email, and because the MMS/iMessage option sends pictures smaller than full size.

  43. Scrappy | 09 Nov 2011 @ 21:41 #

    Question with the iPhone 3 GS/ what do I need to do to stop
    my pictures taken from my iPhone saved on my computer by itunes and then sent to online print service(pick up in store) to not turn out so blurry. The phone takes awesome pictures but look horrible when printed – getting very frustrated!
    Is there something out there easy I can do or do I need photo-shop?

  44. Scrapper | 28 Dec 2011 @ 16:20 #

    Does anyone know to get better resolution pictures(when printed) from your 3 GS I phone. I was thinking it use to be a certain printing place that I went and had pictures printed. BUT….I’m find the same message at different places about low resolution onsome pictures… I need help…..Please….It’s driving me NUTS on how these awesome looking pictures from my Iphone will NOT print good looking pictures…

  45. Kirsten | 08 Oct 2012 @ 18:14 #

    Ok I am so frustrated.
    I have a newer iPhone. Got it brand new in July. Don’t ask me what model it is….
    How come I can copy my pics but when I go to my email the only option when I tap on the screen is to select?? There is no paste that comes up. ?


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