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Opening GPX files after updating to iOS 13

UPDATE: The article below applies to the first few releases of iOS 13. We believe the issue has been fixed by apple in more recent iOS releases.


iOS 13 has introduced some unintentional changes in the way apps open files from email, the browser and other apps. This is affecting many different apps.

The first change, is that instead of just opening the file, or giving you the choice of what app to use, it shows a "Preview" of the file. In the case of GPX, this might be a plain-text view of the file, or it might be blank. To open the file, you have to tap the "Share" iconRelated image at the top right.

Next, there is a problem with iOS13 that means option to "Copy to Memory-Map" may be missing from the list of actions on the file. This is a problem that is affecting many apps, and has been reported to Apple.

First, make sure you tap the More... button to see the full list of suggested apps.  Many apps are working around the problem by declaring that they can open ANY kind of file. So typically, you will see a long list of apps that claim to be able to open a GPX file, and many of them won't be able to do anything useful with it. You can tap the "Edit" button at the top right of the suggestions page, and tap the plus sign to move Memory-Map into the favorites for this type of file. However, if you have several other mapping applications installed, you may find that Memory-Map is not on the list of suggested actions.

The workaround (confirmed by Apple as well as users) is to uninstall one or more of the other GPX apps that appear on your "Open with" list. This will make Memory-Map appear on the list.

If you later re-install the other apps, the list might sometimes show Memory-Map as well as the others. There does not appear to be any consistent way to get all apps shown on the list.

Apple's explanation of the problem is that when two different apps declare a file type in slightly different ways, they don't interact correctly. One of them, chosen seemingly at random, will be able to open those files and the other will not. Uninstalling and reinstalling the apps in a different order, or updating the iOS can change whether or not the apps are shown in the list. The only fix they can suggest is that all developers declare the GPX in exactly the same way. Memory-Map is following the declaration suggested by Apple.

Hopefully, Apple will get around to fixing this disaster, or perhaps they will add an official system definition for GPX. In the meantime, if you don't want play around with uninstalling other apps that open GPX files, you can use the Memory-Map Cloud Sync feature, or iTunes File Sharing.

You can also provide feedback to Apple.