Facebook has been supporting panoramic or 360° photos for some time now. And if you only snap pictures with your iPhone or Android phone, you probably didn’t realize that only some panoramic cameras and formats are supported. In fact, most panoramic cameras are not supported by Facebook. This is a royal pain in the butt if you own one of these cameras, because what’s really the point of taking panoramas if you can’t share them?
Facebook uses a couple of ways to detect if a picture is a panorama: the camera ID or a combination of other data (for instance size/aspect ratio and projection format). This information is embedded in digital photos in what is called the Exif (Exchangeable Image Format) data. Facebook treats partial panoramas, 360° panoramas, and full photospheres the same for these purposes, and details about what is needed to get Facebook to recognize and properly display them is found on their 360° photo page.
If you take or create a panorama using a device or software that Facebook doesn’t recognize, it will simply display the picture as a giant rectangle, rather than an image that the viewer can scroll or manipulate. Not good. Fixing this, or rather tricking Facebook into thinking your photo actually came from a camera it recognizes, involves editing the Exif data on a photo. Not really a complex thing to do, but it does require an editor and the patience to get every character in every field correct. Tutorials abound with dozens appearing in a Google search for “make 360 panoramas work on facebook.” But editing a bunch of obscure fields is a pain in the butt. I hoped that someone had automated this process.
And, sure enough, someone did. The Exif Fixer (version 3.1.4 when I wrote this) is a simple program, available for most platforms, that adds the data you need at the touch of a button. With a simple download, I got Facebook to recognize a 360° panorama I took on a Fuji XP90 camera I use hiking and kayaking. This software is offered free and looks to come from a guy who wrote it for his own business needs. He accepts donations – and I try to support people who offer valuable things for free. There was a time when I couldn’t afford to buy software like this. Now I can, so I gave him a PayPal donation. I love quick and easy tools like this. Hopefully, you will too.