Sunday, November 15, 2015

Beware of Apple Mail Resizing Outgoing Images

Lloyd Chambers:

Something to be aware of when sending an image: Apple Mail may mangle the image you sent, recompressing it while greatly reducing it in size. One consulting client kept sending me screen shots that were so tiny so as to be unreadable.

It wasn’t obvious what the problem was, so here is the answer: check the Image Size control in the mail window.

This happens to me all the time.

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This isn't the only place this happens. Apple no longer cares about your photos in a lot of contexts. Take a screenshot, send it as an iMessage. Instead of a PNG, it gets sent as a JPG with noticeable artifacts. Drag and drop a picture from on OS X to your desktop and it down-converts it to a lower quality JPG. Also converts PNGs to JPG, which is surprising since device screenshots are written as PNGs for a reason and if you have iCloud Photos activated Image Capture becomes a crapshoot. (Getting the raw PNG file requires four clicks to a burried menu item called Export Original.) I filed a Radar regarding this and it was closed as "behaves as expected".

I can't help but wonder if that down-sampling everything everywhere is just another side-effect of their insistence on selling space-constrained devices. One could argue that "most users won't notice", which is surely accurate, but there has to be a reason that the conversion process was created and inserted into this workflow where it was not before. Normal users wouldn't care about having full quality images either, so there must be a motive for saving the space. A motive like so many of their devices don't have the space to spare, perhaps? Or perhaps Apple doesn't want to invest heavily enough in storage for syncing on their end, which seems an extremely silly thing for the world's richest company to even give a second thought to. "Oh we should invest in best-in-class cloud services and infrastructure? Nah, the margins aren't high enough. Down sample the images and save space instead."

@Bryson Another critical place this happens is with iCloud Photo Sharing. So it’s not, as one might expect, a good way to collect photos from family members.

I gave up on Apple Mail some time ago and switched to MailMate. I've not looked back.

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