January 25, 2011

A note about Photoshop Express & location services

The newly released Photoshop Express 1.5 for iOS includes a dialog that’s too strongly worded, and it’s causing some confusion and consternation among App Store reviewers.  If you’ve turned off location services, the app says the following:

Location service denied. PS Express will now run with reduced functionality. Photo metadata cannot be added or preserved and browsing through photos in the library will be disabled.

Why does Express need location services enabled in order to support the new photo review mode? Wouldn’t you expect that this switch would simply govern whether location data is added to your photos?

The issue is related to security. iOS 4 gives third-party apps access to the photo library, including the ability to read location data from photos. Apple wanted to ensure that users could control the process, so they required that location services be enabled before apps could read the library. That way apps can (and must) ask permission to use location services. (In case my explanation doesn’t make sense, you can see this one from the makers of Camera Genius.)

The subtleties are of course hard to communicate in a few words, but we should have tried harder to find less threatening wording. I apologize for not having done so, and we’re now talking about ways to rephrase the warning. Thanks for your patience.

Posted by John Nack at 3:16 PM on January 25, 2011


  • Chris — 4:10 PM on January 25, 2011

    Here’s a simpler explanation: “In order to read all your photos and the metadata, Location Services needs to be turned on. This doesn’t mean we’re going to record your location where you’re standing. It’s just how Apple allows secure access to photo location EXIF data.”

  • K Brown — 8:08 PM on January 25, 2011

    Sorry, but it still sounds too invasive just to be able to access my pictures ON my iPad.

    • Eric — 3:50 PM on January 26, 2011

      Unless John is lying (and why would he be?) this seems like something you’ll have to take up with Apple – not Adobe.

  • Jay — 7:15 AM on January 26, 2011

    How about:

    This app requires location services for full functionality. Please enable location services to achieve the most with PS express.

  • Gilles — 10:23 AM on January 26, 2011

    Turning on Location Services will allow Photoshop Express to access information about where your photos were taken. Photoshop Express does not use information about your current location.

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