Bugs & Fixes: MobileMe Gallery roadblocks with iOS devices

On a recent trip to Yosemite, I took along my iPad instead of my MacBook Pro. As I detailed elsewhere, the iPad handled the job spectacularly well in nearly every respect. The only hassle I had was when I tried to upload a collection of photos to MobileMe Gallery. It turns out that Apple has placed several roadblocks in the path to success, making it nearly impossible to accomplish my goal.

(Note: Most of what I describe here applies to the iPhone as well as the iPad. I had never previously explored these issues with my iPhone because the quality of the iPhone’s photos was never good enough for me to want them in a Gallery. With the iPad, however, I was working with the images from my Canon digital camera.)

My first step was a simple and necessary one: Transfer the photos from my camera to the iPad. For this task, I of course used Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit. It worked like a charm. Within a minute or two, all the photos were imported to the iPad’s Photos app.

Next, from the Photos app, I selected the pictures I wanted to export to Gallery.

Roadblock No. 1: The option to export to MobileMe Gallery only appears if you select a single photo. If you instead select multiple photos in a batch, your options are limited to Email, Copy and Delete. (On the iPhone, you’ll have the additional MMS choice). As I wanted to post several dozen photos, exporting one photo at a time was not practical. I sought a better faster solution.

Apple does suggest a work-around. According to an Apple support article, the solution is to “configure a Gallery album with an email address, and then email multiple photos at the same time.” This would have worked for me if I already had a Gallery album with the e-mail feature enabled. I did not. My next step, therefore, was to launch Safari on the iPad, go to www.me.com and attempt to enable the option.

Roadblock No. 2: When the MobileMe website detects you are using an iPad, access to the site is limited to “Use Find My iPhone.” In other words, there was no way I could enable the email option from the iPad.

The www.me.com Web page suggested another potential solution: “Install Gallery App.” I did so (the app had been on my iPhone since its initial release but I had never bothered to add it to my iPad).

The first glitch was not exactly a roadblock, but still an irritation: Apple has not optimized the MobileMe Gallery app for the iPad. This means when you use the 2X option to enlarge the app’s display, text and thumbnail photos appear fuzzy. Happily, the full-size photos appear with the proper resolution.

Roadblock No. 3: As I now remembered from my use of the Gallery app on the iPhone, the app offers no options to manage albums. That is, there is no way to upload photos from the app. There is no way to create a new album. And, most critical for my current situation, there is no way to enable the e-mail feature. Essentially, the Gallery app is useless for anything other than viewing albums.

Having failed three times, I was now out of luck. What initially seemed like an easy task (create a Yosemite album in my MobileMe Gallery and conveniently upload a few dozen photos) proved to be impossible to do from my iPad. I see no obvious reason why Apple could not remedy this situation. Hopefully, it’s on the company’s “to-do” list.

Two side notes:

  • After returning home, I enabled Gallery’s e-mail option from my Mac. It worked exactly as Apple indicated. To minimize the risk of problems when e-mailing large attachments, I wouldn’t attempt to upload more than about 10 photos at a time. But that’s much better than one at a time. Now I just need to remember to set everything up in advance of my next trip.
  • In case you are wondering: After giving up on MobileMe, I tried Flickr. The Flickr Website would not allow uploading of photos from the iPad (at least partly because the process requires Flash, an option notoriously missing from Safari). As for the Flickr iPhone app, it worked, but it has an awkward user interface for uploading multiple selections.

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