Attach a Photo to a Mail Message on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Apr 3, 2012 - 30 Comments

You’ve probably noticed there isn’t an attachment button floating around when composing a new email message in iOS Mail app, so how do you attach pictures to emails on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? It’s easy, and there’s actually two simple ways how to do it.

Inserting Photos Into Emails in iOS Mail

For newer iPhones and iPads, the simplest and fastest way to attach photos to an email is by using the tap-and-hold trick:

  • Compose a new Mail message and tap in the Body area
  • Tap and hold within the body, then tap the right arrow button and choose “Insert Photo or Video”
  • Locate the photo(s) to attach within Camera Roll and tap on it to include it in the email message

Attach a Photo to an Email, as shown on iPhone

This in-line image attachment ability was introduced in iOS 6 onward, but older versions of iOS and older iOS devices can still attach pictures easily by using the tried and true copy and paste method. Note the copy and paste method still works on the newest versions of iOS as well, it’s just not necessarily the fastest.

Attach Photos to eMails with Copy & Paste

You can also attach photos to emails by using Copy & Paste. For older iDevices, this is also the easiest way to send out a picture or two, here’s what you’ll want to do:

  • Compose a new mail message as usual, then hit the Home button and launch the Photos app
  • Locate the picture you want to attach to the email and tap to open it
  • Tap and hold on the image until you see “Copy” and tap to copy it
  • Copy Image to use as Mail attachment in iOS

  • Use a four-fingered swipe up or double-tap the Home button to bring up the multitasking bar, and select the Mail app to switch back to your mail message
  • Back in the mail composition window, tap in the mail body and hold until you see “Paste”, select that to insert the picture into the email as an attachment
  • Paste a photo into mail message in iOS

  • Compose the remainder of the email as usual and tap “Send”

You can add up to five photos as attachments, though if you plan on sending multiple pictures it’s better to start from Photos app instead of Mail app because you can compose a new message containing several photos directly from there.

Attach Photo to Mail on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

The copy and paste trick is the source of some confusion for new iPad and iPhone users, and I have fielded this question several times in person to newcomers to the iOS platform. That confusion is likely why Apple introduced the new “Insert Photo” feature into the newer versions of Mail, making it a much more direct way of adding mail attachments and preventing some of the friction.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

30 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Matt says:

    I still don’t understand why they don’t just add an attach button, sparrow is nice for that.

    • Jim says:

      while you are composing your email or replying to an email simply double tap the screen where you want to insert the photo or video then tap the “arrow” in the pop-up screen then tap “insert photo or video” and select your photo or video you want attached…easy peasy…

      • Gerard says:

        Um, hello!? That takes 3 times as many taps as a simple attachment button. This Insert Photo method is much more difficult than simply clicking an Attachment button. I had to actually do a web search just to find this Insert Photo feature, but I would’ve recognized an Attachment button immediately…!

  2. David says:

    Badly needs a attachment button. Quite weird there isn’t one really.

  3. Mystic says:

    You guys really don’t get it do you? You keep wanting to do things the old desktop way. LEARN A NEW WORKFLOW!!!

    Pressing an attach button would bring up a dialog box, then you’d have to find the file, etc. etc.

    The way it works now actually SAVES you steps and time.

    I also find it amazing that Paul is a writer for OSX daily. You are seriously telling me to copy/paste instead of just clicking the ‘share’ button and ‘email photo’ inside of photos? For that osx daily is officially banned from Zite and Flipboard! Moron.

    • Paul says:

      Hey Mystic,

      I’m the “moron” who wrote the article that you are so amazed hasn’t been fired yet.

      You may have noticed the post is titled “Attach a Photo to a Mail Message on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch”, aiming it at individuals who have already composed an email and want to attach an image to that already composed email. There’s a reason it’s not titled “How to email a picture from the iPhone from the Photos app”, though I did cover that recently too, they are two different processes.

      See ya later!

      • Mike says:

        Mystic – you are a loser puke. I’d tell you to get a life, but in your case, that’s just not possible.

      • Amanda says:

        What if you want to email photos that are not in the camera roll? Currently I take the photos with my Canon camera and then, use an FTP system to bring them over. When I try to copy and paste from there, it only comes up as text. What to do?

      • Doug says:

        Mystic doesn’t know everything.

        I often need to attach images to a reply. It helps preserve the “conversation” and keeps all the related emails together. The method described here helps me do that and keeps the boss happy.

    • Alex says:

      Or replying to an email with a photo.

  4. Rich says:

    Or just use ‘Say it & Mail it’ and tap on the camera icon to get a picture from the camera roll or take a new picture to be included in the email.

  5. Andrew says:

    The attach button is missing because of the sandboxing of iOS, so there is no file system accees wihtout JB. This is a crap, and this prevents iPad to be really used as an alternative to a laptop in enteprise segment.

    Mystic: you aer wrong, we dont want to learn new workflows, simply becuase that does not work in several cases. So my typical usecase: I receive an email with 3-20 name in “To” or “CC”. I need to reply an attach a word document (or even a photo). You cannot do that. You say I should go to the Photo app and send it, but to whom? I cannot remember 3-20 email addresses, I just want to reply.

    So thanx for the hint.

    • Makka says:

      It should be really easy for Apple to add an attachment button without offering complete file system access.

      They should just add an attachment button and when you tap that button a “text balloon kind of thing” (like those in the screenshots in this article showing option to copy, paste, select and select all) pops up and it has the following options:
      - Photo (tap on it to open Photos app to select photos from your Photo Albums, Camera Roll or Phto Stream and return to the compose windows when you tap Done);
      - Document (add a document from your iDevice or from iCloud using the same interface Pages, Keynote and Numbers use to open files).

      It’s still an iOS experience, without any “desktop OS elements”, so maybe Mystic also accepts this solution.

  6. Dom Leca says:

    A simpler solution would be to use Sparrow for iPhone.

  7. Anti-Mystic says:

    Hi Mystic,

    Please tell us what it is like to work on Apple’s iOS development team and invent smart workflows that the “dumb underprivileged people” should use? Oh, that’s right.. you’re 14 and/or have no friends.

    Other people’s ideas boils down to tapping an attachment button, scrolling through pics, and touching a photo. Sounds good to me. And what filesystem are you talking about???? What native iOS app, non jailbroken, has you navigate through a file system??? And please save your whining about an app that has it’s own file storage mechanism – that’s not accessing a filesystem.

    How about you read the article and realize the “workflow” you are so crazy about is covered in Paul’s embedded link.

    nice username btw… is that supposed to be smart and mysterious. Nope… it’s just ironic (look it up).

  8. Andy says:

    Lot of anger in this thread considering the subject is email attachments. You guys need to step away from the keyboard occasionally and get a bit of perspective. Too funny.

    P.S. Another vote for Sparrow which enables standard attachment functionality. Just wish they’d hurry up and release the iPad version.

  9. Aru says:

    Hey….. Real thanks for the heads up. Er andrew, this may sound a bit daft. But what is sand boxing?
    Ciao

  10. Barbara Krueger says:

    Another way to switch between open apps is to side swipe with four fingers; similar to switching between desktops in OS X Lion. Regarding current discussion, respect that there are usually multiple ways in technology to achieve the desired result; everyone finds the way that they prefer.

  11. iOSMailPain says:

    I’m probably an “iOS moron” but I have the same problem Andrew relates in needing to reply to a group with an attachment. Is there a way to do what the original article describes with file types other than pictures?

    Example: I’m going away on vacation so I save a windows directory of files from my work desktop (Windows PC) to Dropbox. I take my iPad on vaction with me. On vacation, I’m one of a number of receipients of an email requesting a the latest versions of a couple of these documents be distributed to the group. Can’t figure out how to reply and attach the PDFs in my Dropbox account to the email.

    Thanks in advance for putting up with my naivity and for offering any assistance you can.

  12. Katie says:

    Hi there!

    I am going crazy – up till a few weeks ago I used to send high-res photos via my iPhone. I’m a writer/journalist so it was an amazing tool to have in my pocket…they were high quality enough to publish.

    Anyway, about a week ago, the process I was using seemed to disappear altogether. In the past, I would click a photo, say I wanted to email it, and it would prompt me asking how big a file I wanted to send….

    NOW it automatically just imbeds the photo in the body of the email…and it’s only like 122 KB.

    Does anyone know how to fix this??

    Thanks much!
    Katie

  13. durai says:

    thanks ! it helped.

  14. nes says:

    Thank you!you solved my problem!It is easy and quick as well!

  15. Rere says:

    I tried copy paste on my ipad but it didn’t work! Help pls

  16. Ahmed says:

    Problem is when you want to reply to an email you received and want to attach a photo to two to that reply!!

  17. Gary says:

    Whether you REPLY or send a NEW email simply hold your finger down for a second on the white/blank space below the Subject line and a menu bar appears… Insert Photo or video appears as an option…

    Does that help, or have I missed the point?

  18. JP says:

    “•Compose a new mail message as usual, then hit the Home button and launch the Photos app”

    This step does not work on an Iphone 4 once one photo has been added to the email and you want to add another.

    Billions spent and still a joke of a user interface. Seems to suit the ignorant masses.

    • Matt says:

      I assure it works, try it again or follow the instructions. You tap and hold in an email and choose “Insert Photo”, very simple on iPhone!

  19. Ben says:

    Fact- Otter box consumer process demands the photo of damaged item be attached not copy/pasted. Great watching kids argue though.
    Problem remains.

  20. [...] of the Mail application when sending and receiving multiple large full resolution photos to and from an iPhone, particularly when Mail app was open concurrently with several other applications. The reason is [...]

Leave a Reply

 

Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on Amazon.com

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates