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Question: Finder displaying different information for the same file.

Hi to all

If possible could someone explain an issue that has pestered me for a while but has just got more confusing just now.

I am currently organising my huge photo library and in this process a problem arises on many occasions which has baffled me but more importantly slows the workflow considerably. The issue is the 'Date Created' and 'Date Modified' columns on many occasion show the incorrect info in Finder. In fact there are a couple of issue I don't understand and I wondered if it is something as simple as a setting somewhere?

To explain, when I open a folder of files in Finder, in this instance a folder of skiing photos theUser uploaded file 'Date Created' and 'date modified' are the same. Which straight away they shouldn't be. I would expect the 'Date Modified' being different as generally I group photos from different devices into one folder so logically the 'DM' should be the date I imported into the folder, or if I modify a file in some way, but the 'DC' should show the date (and time) the photo was taken. This should remain unchanged. But it doesn't in finder, it shows the 'Date Modified' for both!! Strangely when I import into a photo application (I still use iPhoto/Aperture and also Photos) it shows the correct date and time stamp!

But today I found something even stranger. When I searched a photo in spotlight, Finder showed the correct date and time that the photo was taken, but the 'Date Modified' was the same as the 'Date Created', but the same pic in its folder in Finder showed what I normally see which is usually incorrect. It seems that somehow Finder is looking in a different EXIF field depending on how you search.

Using an EXIF editor I can see the actual 'Date Created' in a number of fields but finder when accessed normally doesn't display it. There is one field 'fileModifyDate' which seems to be the field it chooses. Which of course logically it should only choose for the 'Date Modified' column, not for 'Date Created'.

Is this a setting that I can change or is this a glitch?


User uploaded file

iMac, macOS Sierra (10.12.6)

Posted on

Dec 12, 2017 10:23 AM in response to Community User In response to Community User

FWIW, the metadata in EXIF records the date the picture was taken, which is NOT necessarily the same as the date the *file* was created. It *usually* is, but depending on file system used and how the file is transferred from one place to another, it may well happen that the file creation date is posterior.


One case where that may happen is if you transfer the image through a network, e.g. using sftp or http.

You would typically end up with a file with the exact same contents (including EXIF metadata), but which is technically a different (new) file, and hence has a newer creation date (which is part of the file system metadata).


EXIF metadata is actually *file data* (i.e. is part of the contents of, say, a JPEG file) and hence any copy should preserve this.


File system metadata is NOT part of the contents of the file itself, it is stored separately from the file. Hence you can have two files with identical contents but different creation date.

Dec 12, 2017 10:23 AM

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Dec 13, 2017 9:59 AM in response to Luis Sequeira1 In response to Luis Sequeira1

Hi Luis


Many thanks for your reply although it didn't help much unfortunately.

I understand what you are saying but my question isn't solved because your explanation has only highlighted the issue.

It seems for some strange reason when I look at a file (JPG in this case) by opening the folder in Finder that it is in. The 'Date Modified' & 'Date Created' column show the 'FileModifyDate' info from the File system metadata ,as to your explanation.

But when I look at the same file by searching in spotlight it shows in the 'Date Modified' & 'Date Created' columns the info from the EXIF metadata, which in my case is the info I want it to display. The EXIF data is what iPhoto/Aperture and Photos also picks up.

I want Finder to display the info I want consistently!! I don't understand...

1. Why it would pick information from different fields and display in the same named columns.

2. Why, if it was allowing the user to have more choice which logically would be better, it doesn't name the columns accordingly! But there is no choice only the 9 columns to choose from.

The current setup is confusing at best.

I've attached a larger example to highlight. Spotlight finder is showing the EXIF dates. Folder Finder is displaying the File data dates.

If it is something simple as changing a setting in preferences I currently can't see it.User uploaded file

Dec 13, 2017 9:59 AM

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Question: Finder displaying different information for the same file.