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Question: Copying back photos intro appropriate albums


Question summary: I'm trying to find out whether I can access the information of which iOS album a photo used to belong to prior to copying it to my iMac and removing it from the phone.

Some details / background:

The trigger: I had > 2500 photos (not in streams) on my iPhone that were carried over for many years. 99% of them had to go out, so I decided to copy everything to my iMac and remove anything older than a year from the phone, knowing that I have the backup. I used both iPhotos and iMage captures for the following reasons:

1. I used iPhotos despite the fact that it will scatter my files all over based on some hashing that it uses, basically "hiding" them from me --- but I was hopping that some of the metadata and organization kept by the iPhone (e.g. for smart photo search) will be preserved

2. I used iMage Capture for the obvious reasons: straightforward copying of the files to a place of my liking.

I have all the photos and removed them from the phone; so far so good.

The problem: I forgot that photos that were "moved" so separate local albums were not really moved, but basically only tagged, or linked, to that album. So by removing all images older than time T, I lost the images from albums other than Camera Roll, that were important to keep on the phone.

The question: can I now, given that I still have the albums declared (but empty) on the phone, quickly locate just the files of the photos that belonged / was associated with a given album, and copy only those back? I am hoping that maybe:

1. the iOS album name stored in some metadata of the photo file? or

2. when importing the photos using iPhotos, the photo -> iOS album association is kept somewhere by the app, even if not on a per photo basis (e.g. it can just store the links/names of the photo files associated with each album). (Otherwise I really don't see any advantage of using photos rather than a simply copying with image capture, except possibly with having the stream and local albums view-able in one place.) Otherwise,

3. maybe at least I can somehow retrieve this information from an iTune backup? Almost all of these albums did not change in the last year or so, so I have no problem hacking through a backup and find the list of pictures that I care about.

To clarify: I have no problem "getting my hands dirty", going to the command line and dig into metadata files, examining .info files (something that often saved me lots of troubles and time for dealing with other problems), etc. So complicated solutions are fine and welcome, but clearly simple one are preferable 🙂

Thanks much.

iPhone 8, iOS 11.2.5

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Question: Copying back photos intro appropriate albums