Monday, November 26, 2012

Paste multiple images from Photos app into a single e-mail message

11/27/12: Updated, after additional testing in which I discovered a second way to copy and paste multiple images.
11/28/12: Updated again, after additional testing in which I discovered a third way to copy and paste multiple images.

On my iPod, skimming through iPad 2: The Missing Manual, which I'd borrowed from the library as a Kindle e-book, I was surprised to discover that in the iOS Photos app, you can copy multiple images and paste them successively into a single e-mail message (or perhaps into any app that can accept them). This copy feature is listed on page 56 of Apple's iPod touch iOS 5 user guide PDF file, but even had I read that file cover to cover, which I did not do, I could easily have missed that. I suspect this capability was also available in iOS 4, as well, or maybe even earlier.

Previously, I would select each image in turn, then send each one as a separate e-mail message using the arrow-emerging-from-rectangle button. It would have been better and clearer for the recipient had all the images been in a single e-mail message, with intermingled explanatory text as appropriate.

Three options:

(1) If you don't already know the entire group of images you want to copy, you can copy one at a time in Camera Roll by using tap-hold on a single image until "Copy" appears. Tap that, switch back to Mail, and paste it into a message wherever you want.

(2) If you know the entire group of images you want to copy (and subsequently explicitly paste), in Camera Roll tap the arrow-emerging-from-rectangle button. Tap on each image you want so that it shows it's been selected with a checkmark in a red circle (tap again to de-select it), then tap the Copy button at the bottom. Switch back to Mail, and paste them all into a message wherever you want. They apparently get pasted in their order in Camera Roll, not the order in which you selected them.

(3) If you know the entire group of images you want to mail directly from the Camera Roll, tap the arrow-emerging-from-rectangle button. Tap on each image you want so that it shows it's been selected with a checkmark in a red circle (tap again to de-select it), then tap the Share button at the bottom. Tap the Email button (Message [for iMessages] and Print are also options). Mail capability will be invoked, with the images copied into the message area in their Camera Roll order.


(1) and (2) may come in most handy if you have already started writing an e-mail message and only later realize you want to paste in one or more images.

I tend not to work with images much; perhaps all the above is common knowledge for people who work with images frequently.


Apparently iOS 6 allows direct inclusion of photos or video into e-mail messages, presumably without having to leave the Mail app, obviating the need to switch between it and the Photos app. However, primarily due to iOS 6's loss of the ability to display the entirety of the text of a podcast's description (which I mentioned here), I will be sticking with iOS 5 for as long as I possibly can.

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