Looks like no one’s replied in a while. To start the conversation again, simply ask a new question.

Question:

Question: Photo creation date changed on last sync

I had been having a problem with photos syncing to my wife's Macbook Pro (running El Capitan). We were working with a senior tech who had us change some settings and the computer then took about 2 days to sync the entire library. Up until that sync was completed, there were a few gaps of missing photos and videos - a month in 2016, a few in 2017 - not full months, but groups of days or weeks that photos were not getting to the Macbook, but were clearly on her phone and in the cloud account.


Now that the sync is done, I noticed the file creation date on some, but not all photos on the Macbook have yesterday's date rather than the date the photo was created. I had to speak with another senior tech today and he told me that was normal behavior and there was nothing that could be done. How is that even possible? If it was normal behavior all the photos would have yesterday's date, not just some of them. In addition, the entire file structure when you view package contents has changed. I have copied over the Master's numerous times to an external drive because we are sorting these photos outside of Photos to do some comparisons and each time, including yesterday afternoon before the final sync completed, the file structure remained constant and the creation date of photos never changed. Now all of a sudden both of these have changed.


If someone could explain how this happened it would be very helpful. Again, if they all changed I would be frustrated but at least it would be consistent. If the modified date changed, even though they weren't really modified, I might get that. But the random changing of only some folders and only some image creation dates makes no sense.

Posted on

Reply
Question marked as Helpful

Feb 27, 2018 1:38 PM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

Now that the sync is done, I noticed the file creation date on some, but not all photos on the Macbook have yesterday's date rather than the date the photo was created. I had to speak with another senior tech today and he told me that was normal behavior and there was nothing that could be done. How is that even possible? If it was normal behavior all the photos would have yesterday's date, not just some of them

As far as I can tell, it is the syncing with iCloud that will change the file creation date for some photos. Are you using the option "Optimize Storage" with iCloud Photo Library? In that case not all original image files will be stored locally in the Masters folder. They will only be downloaded to the Mac, if you are using that particular photos for sharing or editing.

And the download from iCloud may have a different file creation date than previously. If you are syncing several devices with iCloud and there are duplicate images, iCloud Photo Library will recognize the duplicate and store only one version of the file. If the file had different creation dates on the two devices, the date will change on one of the devices - one creation date will be lost by the duplicate removal. But the embedded EXIF capture date will remain the same, and that is what really matters.

For the same reason, synced photos will not always remain in the same subfolders in the Masters folder.


To access your original master files, it is safer to use "File > export" to write copies of the master files to folders outside the library.

Question marked as Helpful

Feb 27, 2018 1:38 PM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

If I change me settings so that we are not optimizing storage then I may not have sufficient space on my internal hard drive to download all the originals. Is there a way to do this incrementally so I can then move the originals to an external drive, or is there a way to have them download directly to an external drive?

Photos on El Capitan does not have the option to select an album and request, that all photos from this album will download to the library. On El Capitan you have to click each photo to view it enlarged to force the download, or use "File > Export".


To download directly to the external drive, you could create a new, empty Photos Library and make it your system photo library, then enable it for iCloud. Disable "Optimize Storage", then wait for all photos to download to the library on your external drive.

There’s more to the conversation

Read all replies
Question marked as Helpful

Feb 27, 2018 1:38 PM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

Now that the sync is done, I noticed the file creation date on some, but not all photos on the Macbook have yesterday's date rather than the date the photo was created. I had to speak with another senior tech today and he told me that was normal behavior and there was nothing that could be done. How is that even possible? If it was normal behavior all the photos would have yesterday's date, not just some of them

As far as I can tell, it is the syncing with iCloud that will change the file creation date for some photos. Are you using the option "Optimize Storage" with iCloud Photo Library? In that case not all original image files will be stored locally in the Masters folder. They will only be downloaded to the Mac, if you are using that particular photos for sharing or editing.

And the download from iCloud may have a different file creation date than previously. If you are syncing several devices with iCloud and there are duplicate images, iCloud Photo Library will recognize the duplicate and store only one version of the file. If the file had different creation dates on the two devices, the date will change on one of the devices - one creation date will be lost by the duplicate removal. But the embedded EXIF capture date will remain the same, and that is what really matters.

For the same reason, synced photos will not always remain in the same subfolders in the Masters folder.


To access your original master files, it is safer to use "File > export" to write copies of the master files to folders outside the library.

Feb 27, 2018 1:38 PM

Reply Helpful (1)

Feb 27, 2018 9:04 AM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

As a follow up I also noticed that when I show package contents, prior to the sync fully completing, it would show the entire contents of the Photos library. Now when I show package contents it shows just a fraction of the library. As an example for 2012 the prior package contents would show the hundreds of photos that are in the library - now it shows just one photo. All the photos are still in the library and show in the cloud (and also saved on my external drive) but the show package contents under Masters now has but one photo for 2012.

Feb 27, 2018 9:04 AM

Reply Helpful

Feb 27, 2018 9:20 AM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

Either you are looking at a different library, not the one that Phots is currently using, or you enabled "Optimize Storage" in the "Photos > Preferences > iCloud". Are you using "Optimize Storage"? Then the photos in the Masters folder will come and go, because the main storage of your Photos Library will be in iCloud.

Feb 27, 2018 9:20 AM

Reply Helpful

Feb 27, 2018 9:30 AM in response to léonie In response to léonie

I am currently doing a File>Export, but based on what you have said that will also give me incomplete results since if we have optimized storage the only place all originals currently exist is in the cloud? Call me a silly skeptic but I have been with Apple for 25+ years and while I love Apple I don't want to entrust them solely, and want to have copies of all my originals backed up elsewhere as well.


If I change me settings so that we are not optimizing storage then I may not have sufficient space on my internal hard drive to download all the originals. Is there a way to do this incrementally so I can then move the originals to an external drive, or is there a way to have them download directly to an external drive? I know if I download directly from the cloud to my computer outside of a sync it gives me some funky file path since it is taking the cloud location, and yes, then I have a creation date of today. I suppose you are correct that as long as the EXIF date is correct that is most important, but some photos such as Instagram and some others don't have EXIF dates and then having the correct creation date really helps.

Feb 27, 2018 9:30 AM

Reply Helpful
Question marked as Helpful

Feb 27, 2018 1:38 PM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

If I change me settings so that we are not optimizing storage then I may not have sufficient space on my internal hard drive to download all the originals. Is there a way to do this incrementally so I can then move the originals to an external drive, or is there a way to have them download directly to an external drive?

Photos on El Capitan does not have the option to select an album and request, that all photos from this album will download to the library. On El Capitan you have to click each photo to view it enlarged to force the download, or use "File > Export".


To download directly to the external drive, you could create a new, empty Photos Library and make it your system photo library, then enable it for iCloud. Disable "Optimize Storage", then wait for all photos to download to the library on your external drive.

Feb 27, 2018 1:38 PM

Reply Helpful (1)

Mar 1, 2018 6:22 PM in response to léonie In response to léonie

As a follow up to this, I have exported files and most of the files that were jpg's now have the correct date since the created date and EXIF info carried over. The HEIC have the wrong created date but have the correct EXIF date, so those are OK as well. I'm struggling with all the video files since they seem to have whatever date they are exported as the only date, even though as they reside in Photos they have the correct date on them. Any thoughts on how to capture the correct date, without the need to manually alter each video metadata?

Mar 1, 2018 6:22 PM

Reply Helpful

Mar 1, 2018 9:47 PM in response to dan weisberg In response to dan weisberg

Any thoughts on how to capture the correct date, without the need to manually alter each video metadata?

That is what I am doing.

I am using my script to lift and stamp the metadata from one one phot to other selected photos and videos: Script: Lift and Stamp all Metadata from one Photo to Other Photos

I'm using iMovie mainly to stabilize my video clips, that I have taken with a handheld camera. And so I have to adjust the date in Photos after rendering a new video in iMovie.

Mar 1, 2018 9:47 PM

Reply Helpful
User profile for user: dan weisberg

Question: Photo creation date changed on last sync