NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: THIS BUG HAS BEEN FIXED IN iOS6. PLEASE UPGRADE YOUR DEVICE AND RE-SYNC YOUR PHOTO COLLECTION.

Last year, Apple came out with iOS5, iCloud, and PhotoStream - three technologies that took Remembary to a whole new level of usefulness. However, iOS5 included a bug in the way photos were stored: in iOS4, the iPad's photo library stored the date/time for photos just as they had been set in iPhoto. In iOS5, it stored the date/time when the photo was created.

If you're taking photos on the fly and checking on them shortly afterwards in Remembary, this isn't much of a problem. However, if you have older pictures that you've scanned into your photo library, this can lead to lots of pictures showing up in the wrong dates in Remembary.

For example, back in 1999 I took a big four week road trip across the United States and Canada. In 2004, I scanned in all of the pictures from that trip and meticulously dated and geotagged them. When I implemented the automatic photo fetching and mapping in Remembary back in summer of 2011 (in iOS4), I could type in my road diary entries from 1999 and see the pictures and map points automatically show up in the proper days. It was like magic.

Now, all of these 1999 pictures show up in August of 2004, the time I scanned them into iPhoto.

I've also had some situations where simply editing an older picture would make it show up in Remembary or iPhoto iOS as if it was taken today - although this doesn't seem to happen consistently.

Unfortunately, the problem is at the API level: Apple's "AssetLibrary" API doesn't even store the correct date anywhere - it just returns this new incorrect one instead. There's not much that I can do as a developer to fix this.

It was really disappointing to have one of Remembary's most exciting new features suddenly not work due to an upgrade. Since there haven't been a lot of big name programs that use the dates in the AssetLibrary API, I was worried that it might never be fixed.

Well, earlier this week Apple announced iOS5.1 as well as an iOS version of iPhoto. One of the new features is "Journals", which let you share time-sorted and annotated photo albums with your friends. You can even drag calendar icons into the photo album and they'll automatically pick up the date of the surrounding items.

So I got the new iPhoto on my iPhone, built a Journal out of my "Road Trip 1999" Photo Album, and dragged a calendar into the middle of the trip, around April 28 or so - and it showed August 2004.

So Apple's new flagship iOS app has exactly the same problem with the AssetLibrary as Remembary does. It's a bit sad, but it's also a bit of a vindication, since some users had been very upset about this date situation, and I can now point out that Apple has exactly the same problem. 

Most importantly, it hopefully means that Apple will now make an effort to fix this problem in future releases of iOS. It'll make iPhoto work better, and Remembary too.

What About Remembary 2?

I've been promising Remembary 2 for a long time now - it is on its way soon. I've been swamped with several other projects over the last while, but am planning to dig in over the next few weeks and get this update out the door. It's been a ground-up rewrite with a lot of new plumbing and updated features.

Once Remembary 2.0 is out, I promise to immediately start in on Remembary 2.1, which will include things like downloading retina-display themes and (hopefully) iCloud syncing.

Posted
AuthorAndrew Burke