Edit (may 6, 2014)

This issue is now solved. From IOS6 (dec 2012), Safari has access to the camera roll, so it is possible to upload images directly from Safari without the Dropbox workaround. That is, I can follow the steps 1 and 2 of the original question, and then upload it directly to StackExchange.

I leave the original question and its edits for reference.

Original question (jul 22, 2012)

Currently I am far from my computers, and I've got a lot of spare time, so I'd like to participate in this site and answer some questions, using my iPad.

I've found that the site is very iPad friendly, and that I can navigate, read and write answers without problems (specially if I use an external bluetooth keyboard, which make more accessible the markup symbols).

However, when I want to try out the code in my answers and post an image with the resulting output, I get into trouble. These are the steps that I'm currently using:

  1. I try the code using LaTeX previewer which is also very iPad friendly, to my delight.
  2. If the code works, and I want to paste the resulting output, I select the image and save it in the iPad Photo Album.
  3. Using Dropbox for iPad, I upload the photo from the iPad to some Dropbox folder.
  4. Using Dropbox again, I get an url for the uploaded image (which is a shortened url).
  5. Since stackexchange image upload service does not work with shortened urls, I use Safari to connect to that shortened url, download the image, and get the expanded url which points to the real png
  6. I use stackexchange's image uploader to give the url of that image and finally get the result in the post.

This is how I answered Drawing node in tikz with both background fill and grid pattern?, for example. I wonder if there is a shorter method, or if I am the only one trying to do such a thing from the iPad.

EDIT (jul 23, 2012)

The reason for such a convoluted process is that in iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod operating system) the filesystem is sandboxed for each application. In other words, an application has not access to the files created in a different application. The user has no control about where the files are stored. When you "download" an image with Safari, it "sends" that image to Photo Album app, which stores it in its private filesystem. But then, when some web page offers you to "upload" a file, Safari dismisses that option, because the only part of the filesystem that Safari can read is its own private space, and this is use for caching only. This is why I have to use Dropbox as an intermediate store.

However perhaps an iPad user more skilled than me knows about some workaround. It is a pain to be unable to upload files from the browser.

  • 1
    Maybe the people at apple.stackexchange.com can help you better than the TeX.SX Meta visitors.
    – Caramdir
    Jul 23, 2012 at 23:12
  • Good idea! Is it possible to migrate the question?
    – JLDiaz
    Jul 23, 2012 at 23:41
  • Flag for a mod to do it.
    – Caramdir
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:11
  • Done. Thank you.
    – JLDiaz
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:20
  • @JLDiaz I've asked the Apple mods and as it stands this is not suitable for their meta and would be too localized for their main site. They suggest asking a more general question about LaTeX on the iPad.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jul 25, 2012 at 7:00
  • 4
    @JosephWright thank you. But I dont think that the question is about latex on the iPad, but instead about pasting images into a web site from the iPad. Or more generally, uploading files. I have to reformulate the question and post it in Apple main site. Thanks again.
    – JLDiaz
    Jul 25, 2012 at 7:52
  • Is "get rid of the iPad" an answer? :D
    – yo'
    May 5, 2014 at 8:03
  • 1
    Can’t you just do 1 and 2 and then continue with Charles’ answer, i.e. upload the image from the camera roll (the iPad photo album)? I don’t really see what you mean by “Safari dismisses that option” – Charles’ answer basically shows that and how you can access the camera roll, where picture output from all apps is saved, if I’m not mistaken.
    – doncherry
    May 6, 2014 at 0:10
  • @doncherry, yes, uploading a photo from the camera roll in safari works now. This feature was added since I posted my question, so my question is now obsolete. I have to edit it to reflect this.
    – JLDiaz
    May 6, 2014 at 7:25
  • @JLDiaz Glad everything works now! I didn’t even realize how old this question was. I guess you could either add another answer or edit Charles’ answer accordingly (if he’s ok with that) to conclude this thread.
    – doncherry
    May 6, 2014 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


[Answered from my iPad]

A shorter workflow is to submit screenshots rather than the actual pictures. You take a screenshot by pressing the "home" and "power" buttons simultaneously. The screenshot automatically goes to the camera roll, which can be directly accessed from Safari--it's the only thing you can get to from a conventional "upload" menu.

enter image description here

The disadvantage is that you have less control over exactly what shows up in the picture.

  • Thanks to this answer, I noticed that Safari is now able of uploading photos directly from the camera roll. This feature was added in dec 2012, but I didn't check it since jul 2012. Now that Safari can access to the camera roll, my original question does not longer apply, and I edited it to reflect this. Your solution works, but it is better to use my original method (steps 1 and 2) than take a complete screenshot.
    – JLDiaz
    May 6, 2014 at 7:35

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