Testing the New WordPress Mobile App Media Picker

Did you see the article A New Media Picker for the iOS WordPress App by Matt Bumgardner, a mobile developer at Automattic who works on the iOS and Android versions of WordPress?

The article explains that:

The new media picker was designed to allow quicker access to your media right from the new Aztec editor. Now you can insert videos and photos without leaving the editor. Click the plus sign — just like in the desktop editor.

That’s good. One of my concerns, however, is the file sizes I upload to WordPress.

There’s all sorts of reasons why I am concerned about it. I don’t want to fill up my media allotment; I am just naturally attracted to efficient handling of media; I don’t see any sense in straining the system by uploading giant files to no purpose.

Back in 2014 I wrote an article Uploading Images – Pixels And File Sizes in which I commented that unlike print (a page in a book or a magazine, for example) a computer screen has its own native resolution or pixel density and you can’t cram more pixels onto the screen. The screen manufacturer might be able to when they build the screen, but you can’t.

The screen is built to a specification and you can’t make the pixel density higher. You can’t cram in extra pixels and make the image look denser. That means any ‘extra’ pixels are wasted. And each unneeded, extra pixel increases file size.

So when I read Matt Bumgardner’s article I said it would be great if reducing file sizes and pixel dimensions was built right into the WP app, and I wondered whether the new media picker resized images automatically?

Matt replied that The iOS app does have an app-wide setting to reduce the sizes of images that you upload. Go to Me -> App Settings and slide the “Max image upload size” slider to the left.

Here is the screen with the setting:

wordpress iOS settings screen

So with that in mind, what I am going to do now is to continue this article on my phone. First I am going to set the max image pixels to 1000 x 1000 and then I am going to take an image straight from my Camera Roll and upload it using the WordPress app.

Then I am going to take the image from the Camera Roll and run it through the Image Size app on my phone, keeping to the same pixel dimensions, and upload that using the WordPress app.

Then I will check the file sizes by looking in the Media editor here on my computer.

Here goes.

First up is the image straight from the camera roll

And now the same image but after putting it through the Image Size app to reduce the pixel dimensions. Will it be any more efficient in reducing the file size?

Back On The Computer For The Results: Surprise!

I wasn’t expecting the result. The version straight out of the Camera Roll using the settings in the WordPress app set to 1000×1000 is a smaller file size (299KB) than the version I uploaded after running through the Image Size app (400KB).

But as you can see by looking at the two images above, the version straight from the camera roll has the same proportions as the original. The version I ran through the Image Size app is square.

look at the information in the back end – the WordPress app kept the file dimensions to 1000 x 750, whereas the Image Size app maintained the square dimensions.

OK, back to the WordPress app on the phone, and let’s try it again through the Image Size app, but this time with the pixel dimensions set to 1000 x 750

And now back on the computer and I see that the image is 1000 x 750 and the file size is 366 KB.

So the short answer is that I can dispense with the Image Size app and simply use the WordPress Mobile editor. That’s good news.

Photoshop Save For Web

Finally, I transferred the image from my phone to my computer and then ran it through Photoshop’s Save For Web facility and saved at 1000 x 750. Here it is and the file size is 177KB. Here it is:

As I have found from previous testing, the Save For Web facility in Photoshop produces the smallest file sizes. Of course, with Photoshop you can set the quality at which you want to save the image and well as setting the pixel dimensions.

Saving the quality at 100% will give a big file size and best quality. Setting at 5% would give a much smaller file size but a grossly pixelated image of very poor quality.

Unless I am trying to keep file sizes down to an absolute minimum, I generally set quality at 45%.

So that would give me a saving of about 120KB over the WordPress mobile app (299KB – 177KB). Of course, the saving will vary according to the complexity of the image (I chose a particularly complex one for the test) – but overall, I would say that the WordPress app is a very good solution for uploading media on the go.

2 thoughts on “Testing the New WordPress Mobile App Media Picker

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