Take a Closer Look at Your Photos With Lab for iPhone

Lab for iPhone is like using a microscope on your photos, showing you details and information that you never knew about your images. It allows you to see the meta-data, which is automatically recorded when you take a photo, showing you information such as location, resolution, file size, and camera specs. Check image resolution and file size in a slick and well designed interface that looks amazing on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display. Lab was designed for photographers looking to quickly check photo metadata and file sizes without having to transfer the files to their desktop computer.

Whether you’re in the field taking pictures or in front of the computer, with Lab you’ll always be able to read photo metadata at the push of a button. Lab also has an advanced info section which shows you a histogram, exposure details, and more. All this is displayed in a clean and simple interface.

What’s In a JPEG

Have you ever wondered what’s inside a JPEG file. A JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group, which was the name of the committee the specified the JPEG standard) is actually a compression format for saving images. The average digital camera uses a format called JPEG/Exif which has a tiny bit more information than a standard JPEG. This extra information can be extremely useful.

When you take a photo on a newer digital camera or an iPhone, it records several pieces of information. This includes information about the camera (make & model, orientation, flash on/off, the date and time according to the camera, and on newer camera’s it even records your location based on a GPS receiver in the camera. This is a feature that is unique to JPEGs and present in most digital cameras.

While Exif does have its share of problems (only supports JPEG, doesn’t support video) it’s becoming used more and more on sites like Flickr or even in Apple’s iPhoto application with Geolocation. When you’re taking a photo on an Exif supported camera, all this information is captured instantly and saved into the JPEG file. Think of the JPEG file as a container. A large portion of the file is image data containing compressed bits and bytes about the color of each pixel and a small portion of the container is the Exif, or metadata.

Even after you transfer it from the camera, the image Exif data stays in the file. The only way to actually remove this information is changing the file format to something that doesn’t support Exif (PNG, or Portable Network Graphic for example, doesn’t support Exif data).

I’ve Found You

Lab integrates with your iPhones photo library, giving you access to all your photos in a snap.

When you take a photograph on an iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS running 4.0, the camera application automatically records metadata about various elements such as your current location and saves it into the image. This is how iLife’s geotagging software automatically determines where a photo was taken.

Say you took a whole bunch of pictures on your iPhone from various spots around town and wanted to quickly check where each photo was taken. With Lab, it’s easy to do all that and more. Just open Lab and select a photo. You will see an embedded Google Map with a pin point where the photo was taken. It’s never been easier to find out this information. Lab also lets you read the timestamps on photos, giving you information about exactly when a photo was taken.

Isn’t that what people are always wondering, when and where a photo was taken? Now with Lab, you can show them exactly that. Best of all, Lab presents this information in an extremely friendly interface that even a novice will be able to use.

Put your images under the microscope and start reading your Exif data

Put your images under the microscope and start reading your Exif data

This photo includes geolocation which pin points the images location using GPS

This photo includes geolocation which pin points the images location using GPS

A Work in Progress

I like to believe that a developer’s work is never really done, even after they release an application. There are always new features and additions that could greatly improve an application. That’s why with almost every app I review, I like to highlight a few changes that could be made to make the app even better. Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Add the ability to strip out Exif data similar to the functionality found in Camera+. This could easily be accomplished by saving a copy of an image in a different format.
  • Provide an easy way to scan other photos for similar geolocation data, allowing them to quickly see other photographs taken at that location.
  • Posting to social networks could be an interesting feature addition. The developer could even make use of ShareKit, an open source framework that brings support for sharing images and text with only three lines of code that need to be added.


While Lab might seem simplistic to some, it’s a huge timesaver for any photographer wanting to quickly check the date, time, location, or even exposure of their photographs.

So next time you’re curious about what resolution that picture is, or where that last photo was taken, open Lab and put that photo under your iPhone’s microscope.


Lab makes it easy to read Exif data such as location and date from your photographs.