Why Your iPhone Photos Are Upside Down & How To Fix That

If you’re a Windows user, you’ve probably noticed that some of your iPhone photos and videos are upside down when you save them to your computer. Even if you never leave the Apple ecosystem, your photos will usually be upside down when you email them to friends who have the Windows operating system. In this article you’ll discover why your iPhone photos can appear upside down and how to fix this problem.

iphone photos uside down

Most people first noticed this issue when iOS 5 was released. This was the first time that you could take a photo using the volume up button. This is an awesome feature and I use it all the time.

The only problem is that when you hold your camera with the volume buttons pointing up, your photos will be upside down on most Windows machines.

7 Hidden iPhone Camera Features

As it turns out, the most important iPhone camera features are completely hidden from regular iPhone users. That's why we created this free video revealing 7 hidden iPhone camera features that every photographer should use. Click here to watch this video.

7 Hidden iPhone Camera Features

How Could Apple Make Such A Silly Mistake?

Let’s step back for a second. If you rotate your iPhone, the camera sensor won’t know about it. It will simply record the image and save it to a file, letting the software on your phone do the rest.

To make sure that your photos are displayed correctly, your iPhone adds information about the correct rotation of the photo to the properties of each image, which are specified in EXIF tags.

Your iPhone doesn’t convert any images to the correct orientation because that would keep it busy for a few seconds. Instead it simply saves all photos as they were recorded and adds information about their correct orientation to EXIF tags.

This means that your iPhone is ready to shoot another photo within a fraction of a second, which is just awesome. The only problem is that some software developers, including Microsoft, ignore the information that’s stored in EXIF tags.

There’s a huge debate about who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation, but I bet you don’t really care about that. What you really want to know is how to solve the problem of your photos appearing upside down.

How To Solve This Problem

You can prevent any rotation issues in the future by taking your iPhone photos and videos with the volume buttons pointing down. However, it’s not as convenient as holding your iPhone with the volume buttons pointing up, especially if you use those buttons to take photos. That’s why I almost always prefer to keep the volume buttons up and deal with possible problems later.

You can also use a dedicated camera app such as Camera+ for all your photo needs. Unlike the iPhone’s native camera app, Camera+ actually recodes all your photos into the correct orientation.

Unfortunately this takes a bit more time (and more battery), so you have to wait a little while for your photos to be saved to camera roll. Unfortunately Camera+ can’t help you with shooting videos.

If you already have a lot of photos that are shot upside down, it’s best to use software that knows how to deal with EXIF correctly. All Apple software falls into this category, so if you’re a Mac user, you probably haven’t even noticed this issue.

On Windows I recommend Picasa for managing photos and iTunes for dealing with videos. You can also use QuickTime for video playback. If you want to fix the orientation of your entire library at once, it’s best to do it in Picasa. Simply select all the photos you want to rotate (Ctrl+A to select all) and choose to save changes (Ctrl+S).

Depending on the size of your library this may take a few minutes, but once you’re done, all your photos will be in the correct orientation forever.

Unfortunately it’s harder to do the same with videos. If you don’t have any professional video editing software, it’s probably best to purchase QuickTime Pro from Apple. This software isn’t free, but it provides a quick one-click solution for rotating your iPhone videos.

If you have to upload photos and videos to the internet, it’s best to do this from your iPhone directly. When you upload your media to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and other similar sites, your iPhone will take care of all the necessary conversions for you.

The 7 Best iPhone Photography Apps

There are thousands of excellent photo apps on the App Store, and the things you can do with apps are absolutely incredible. With that said, the number of photo apps out there is overwhelming, and it's really hard to know which apps are worth getting. 

That’s why we created this free report revealing the 7 best iPhone photography apps that you should start using straight away. Click here to download this free report. 

  • Pingback: How To Keep Your iPhone Steady()

  • Dave

    thanks this is a unique issue to deal with when you’re on Android/Windows platform. Fooled me a couple times when some software shows photo rotated but it still needs corrective rotation via a photo editor.

    • I’ve been struggling with this myself, so I’m glad you found this article useful 🙂

  • Pingback: 5 Weird Ways To Release The iPhone’s Shutter()

  • I savor, lead to I found just what I used to be taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

    • Thanks! I still remember what a pain this used to be for me…

  • Bruce Rhodewalt

    I took a photo on my iPhone and uploaded it to a web site on my MacBook. It’s upside-down. Windows is not involved. Is this an issue with the web server software?

    • Hi Bruce,

      I don’t know, it sounds like a web browser issue to me. Try importing and exporting your photos in iPhoto, that will solve the issue.

  • Mo

    Just an FYI that VLC is free and can easily rotate videos for playback, unlike Windows Media Player. Also, Windows Movie Maker can rotate and re-save.

  • Richard Topham

    The program ACDsee automatically rotates photos. It used to do the same with videos, but is not currently doing so, and I have asked them why not.

    I tried to download Quicktime Pro but the website does not believe anybody lives outside the USA, so it would not accept my address or phone number.

    • Thanks for the tip!

      It’s really strange about QuickTime, I’m not sure why they would do it.

      Eventually I ended up getting a MacBook which has since saved me so many headaches. Expensive, but well worth it.

  • Thanks for pointing this out. I could never remember which way was the correct way to hold the iPhone which resulted in approx half of my photos being upside down

    • Thanks Dave, I’m happy I could help you with this 🙂

  • Will Lofft

    Emil – Thx for the assistance – one question. The movies are now right side up if I view from Quick Time Pro, however the file itself is still upside down even after I re-saved it in Quick Time Pro. Do you know how to save it right side up? Will

  • Ed

    For photos, use FastStone Image Viewer (http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm)
    For video, use VLC Media Player (http://www.videolan.org/)

    Both free and have been around for a long time. Outstanding features in both, not just fixes for Apple silliness.

  • bec

    so I have taken hundreds of photos with my phone on a particular occasion my phone holding it upright took the picture upside down I thought how strange deleted that photo and took another picture the same thing happened using the same method as before…. walked away took a picture of a completely different object using the same method and that photo came through normal what could be an explanation for this problem?

    • That sounds like a software bug. Restart the iPhone and hope it never happens again.

    • Johnny

      restart and hope. Thats apple for ya

  • Rich B

    This is 100% Apples problem, they need to decide which is the correct way up, if you take a picture with volume button up then surely that is the correct way to take picture, so the picture should show correctly, also there is no way to take a correct picture or video in portrait mode(home button at bottom) they always show 90 degree left or right, crazy!

    • Hi Rich,

      What you’re saying makes sense, but they have been ignoring this for years. Maybe there’s an underlying technical issue that we’re not aware of… or maybe they just want people to buy Macs (that solved all issues for me).

    • BondSan

      That’s the answer right there. Buy a mac and you will stop being annoyed. Apple doesn’t play nice with others.

    • Tim

      And 3 years later, still ignoring it.

    • vapersaurus

      +1 Tim.

    • Collin Danger Helmers

      4 years later checking in here, yep.

    • Harvey Adcock

      Apple have a solution to the problem though – the EXIF tags. EXIF tags are standardised, so it’s not Apple imposing bespoke fixes that will only work with their machines – Microsoft is completely free to take them into account. So while I wish one or the other would concede for a better experience, I don’t feel you can really fault Apple 100%. Also as this article says is the case for using the tags, being able to take multiple photos quickly is very useful.

    • Bob

      This does work with photos, but not with videos.

    • Lee Scuppers

      The images aren’t generally compatible with all normal software. I got here because I’m helping somebody figure out why popular web browsers display half her pictures sideways. The images are broken. They conform to “standards” which are not universally supported. They are broken, period, full stop, no debate, no ambiguity, broken. Broken. They don’t work on the platforms where they are expected to work. So you fire the moron who screwed it up and fix the problem.

      Don’t make excuses for incompetents. Fire them. Anybody stupid enough to make a decision like this is too stupid to learn. Fire them.

    • Roy G Biv

      To elaborate on what Bob said, the I in EXIF stands for Images. it’s an image standard, therefore there is no EXIF for video. So apple IS imposing bespoke fixes that will only work with their machines. Read the standard, it doesn’t mention video. See my other comment to G.E.R.R.Y to read the wiki page.

    • Alvin Brinson

      Having an image the “right way up” is standardized.

    • Harvey Adcock

      As are EXIF tags, I don’t exactly get your point… If one standard was all you needed then why are there JPEGs, PNGs, GIFs etc? Different standards are useful for different cases – in the case of fast image capture using EXIF tags is better than actually doing the transformation to all the pixels.

    • Alvin Brinson

      The image format is the primary standard. EXIF tags are an extension that was added years after most of these image formats (JPEG, for example) were standardize. You support the PRIMARY standard first – THEN you support the extension. I’m pretty sure in 1992 when JPEG was announced, that it didn’t include “PICTURE UPSIDE DOWN” as a feature. Apple decided to ignore that bit once they had an extension which could specify to flip it over. And, really, it’s NOT difficult to simply put the image the right way up – like the rest of the world does. Then it would be compatible with “legacy” software.

    • Scritti Politti

      “using EXIF tags is better than actually doing the transformation to all the pixels”

      That’s a crock. Apple bought a chip fabricator. The ASIC doing the image capture simply needs to take the camera orientation as an input and write the pixels out in the correct order for the orientation. That job has to be done anyway, so recording the picture right-side-up in the file merely means reading out the pixels in a different order.

    • Jamie Moxam

      Agreed. Only a buffoon would conclude the “shutter release” button should be on the bottom of the camera.

    • BD

      Most people don’t use the hardware photo buttons so your argument doesn’t make sense. Why should I have to rotate my phone to be “right” side up. The phone should conform to how I use it, now how you think I should hold it.

    • BondSan

      Absolutely Apple’s problem. I frequently take photos of documents before mailing them. Typically I will have 10-20 papers on my desk in a stack, I snap a photo of the top document then put it to the side and take a pic of the next document, over and over again until done. The camera remains in ONE orientation the entire time, using the camera button on the screen each time. HOWEVER, when I import those photos to my desktop pc, they all come out in DIFFERENT orientations even though the camera was held exactly the same for each. I cannot understand why this happens. ONLY with the iPhone, no other phone or point and shoot does this. Unbelievable. Apple and it’s ways are akin to an autistic child. There are areas of excellence, but mostly just ODD behavior.

    • BD

      No. You are assuming that there is one “correct” way to take a photo. Orientation can vary depending on how the user holds the device— do you want Apple determining how you are supposed to hold your phone? Can’t have it both ways.

    • nubwaxer

      i bought my iphone se for the camera and little else. i thought i read “it just works” as an Apple motto. big gripe for me for what is in all other ways the most satisfying product i’ve ever bought.

  • Michael

    SO if you already have downloaded pics from your iPhone on to a Windows 8 hard drive, none of the software mentioned here will help solve the problem. FML, FMM

    • Instal Picasa, select all photos that you need to rotate (ctrl+a), and simply save changes (ctrl+s). That should solve the problem.

  • G.E.R.R.Y.

    Yeah, silly Apple for saving the photo data (EXIF) as do ALL photo software programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Kudos to Microsoft for discarding data. MS will probably catch up in a few years and copyright everyone else’s hard work.

    • Honestly, I think they’re both stubborn about this issue 🙂

    • G.E.R.R.Y.

      Why do you interpret Apple as being stubborn? Virtually EVERY photography program uses the EXIF data, so I see MS as simply wrong-headed in not using it. (BTW, I was being sarcastic in my previous post.)

    • Apple could also save the photo files so that they’re in the right orientation when you shoot with volume buttons up even before EXIF adjustments. That would only make sense, right?

    • Barry

      Nope. It takes longer to rotate and save rather than simply save and write EXIF. You would incur slower photo captures your way.

    • BD

      Why does “volume buttons up” have anything to do with it? Who decided that? It should be based on how you are holding the phone. Hardware orientation ought not matter. Why should people be forced to hold their phones a specific way?

  • Wendy

    Must of my video are upside down what can I do to get them the right way. I can flip them to edit them like I cAn my photos

  • Mick Dean

    or just send your pics to yourself on facebook chat

  • rosie

    what folder do the saved fotos end up in? i hav neva had a problem with uploading fotos from my iphone to my business web page but since i had to get a new laptop with windows8 the fotos are every which way but straight! i hav used picasa to rotate just one after importing it from my i-phone(5) but i still don’t get the rotated one on my webpage 🙁 can u help me Pleeez!

  • rosie

    oh my word i’ve done it ! thank you emil for this great site …i was ready to take back my laptop and ask for windows 7 because thats the only difference not my i-phone !

    • Sorry, I don’t know very much about Windows since I haven’t used it for a few happy years 🙂

    • Lynne Fuller Bowden

      How did you fix it. My iPad has so many photos upside down but they are all the correct way up on my pc

  • The Cynergist

    As far as I’m concerned, the iphone is crap for photos. I don’t really want to have to upload photos somewhere else to deal with orientation issues. Furthermore, the iphone is so random about which photos make it to the photostream. One day they get there another day they don’t. And the picture quality if you’re not close is totally s*%t. I was at a concert the other night and got better close ups by taking pictures of the the Samsung Galaxy phone being used by the chick in front of me.

  • Harvey Adcock

    Does QuickTime Pro allow me to correct the orientation of all videos with one click (ie highlight or somehow select them all for rotation correction) or would I need to import each one individually? If it’s the latter I don’t really feel it’s worth paying the money…

  • SJC000

    I just got my ipod a few months ago and was able to upload to FB and such with no issues until recently. Then I noticed this started happening about a week or so ago to me and blamed it on FB (because hey, they have screwed up so much, why not?). Now I’ve got all these Halloween photos and vids to upload and I have to BUY software to fix them? Crap, I would have just taken out my old camera if I knew this was even a “thing”. Which it appears that it has been for over 4 years now. I’m just curious why mine worked in the beginning and now doesn’t??? Seems kind of important.

  • Thomas

    My problem is I took the photo with a high end camera edited and rotated it on a PC and when it comes on the iCloud it is wrong rotated!

  • Lee Scuppers

    Sometimes it’s hard to believe how a company like Apple which does SOME things so well, could still have so many hilariously incompetent imbeciles running around loose without adult supervision. The moron responsible for this idiocy should be fired. There is no excuse.

  • Sigalit Ephrat

    Thank you it was very helpful however I did uploud pictures from my iPhone to the kijiji site and they appeared rotated left or right sides.

    Maybe I didn’t understand your sujestions? Would appreciate any help. 🙂


  • Michael Fitzmaurice

    My experience has been when I export the photos to my Macintosh, I usually export them as a web page, or as a PDF, in both cases the photos all come out sideways and have to be rotated to the right to fix them for correct origination.

  • Muhammad Usman

    “If you want to fix the orientation of your entire library at once, it’s best to do it in Picasa. Simply select all the photos you want to rotate (Ctrl+A to select all) and choose to save changes (Ctrl+S).”

    This sorted out my problem. Thanks.

    • Malki Sinensky

      i selected the photos, changed the orientation and it still imported into adobe incorrectly. i am sure I did something wrong, any thoughts

    • Muhammad Usman

      Open Picasa, navigate to the folder where your photos are present. Select the photos you want to correct, press Ctrl+S. That’s all.

  • Heath

    The Easy fix is to right click the photo, go to Properties, uncheck read only box and you can then rotate them in windows picture viewer.

  • Scritti Politti

    “Your iPhone doesn’t convert any images to the correct orientation because that would keep it busy for a few seconds”

    No it wouldn’t. There’s no need to “convert” it; the camera should read the pixels out in the correct order for the orientation and store them directly.

  • shawn feller

    Plus taking photos with the buttons on the bottom sucks for lefties…as our fingers are often in the way of the sensor. Poor lefties!

  • hammer s

    A stupid situation that could easily be fixed by Apple. A free program to do it as well as any forma, sixe, etc in single or batch mode is Freemake Video Creator, Just his :custom: when installing to avoid bloatware.

  • Ozfer

    Totaly apples fault. They should have made it work with whats already out. You cant say microsoft should have expected apple to do this. What a pain.

    • BD

      Why are you people using Windows? That’s the problem!

  • Julia

    No it is just because if u do not have the right iPhone that is what it does to you.

  • Eivind Jakobsen

    Isn’t that what the gyro is for? Knowing which way i’m holding the phone.

  • Why not just add a rotate option on the iPhone itself?

  • Ricky

    wasted my 5 minutes in reading this article



  • crz6662

    Use – JPEG_Autorotate_2-0 if your on windows 7. Supposed to work on others. Works great. Flip an entire folder of pics if needed. Great app. Old post but got here looking for a solution myself so I figured I’d share.

  • crz6662

    For windows users, google: “JPEG Autorotate Windows”. You can rotate all pictures clockwise or counter clockwise or one at a time once transferred to your computer. Right click your pic and it’ll show up in the pop up menu.
    Works well on Win 7 Pro, even now on Iphone 6s+…

  • er ra

    windows image and video import has “autoamtically rotate” so why doesn’t it use the EXIF info to do so?

  • nubwaxer

    sometimes the photos are flipped on the iphone se, sometimes not. i just took a couple of shots. i use the + volume control as shutter release and i have it at the bottom left when i take the pictures. i’ve read that’s the wrong way to hold the phone and i’ve read that’s the correct way to hold the phone. it usually works correctly the way i hold the phone buttons down, but just now the pictures got flipped.
    in the windows picture viewer what’s upside down on the phone is right side up in the viewer. can’t Apple fix it? it’s sometimes aggravating.
    and now using the white home button the pics are turned sideways. makes posting immediately to Instagram a drag.