How to Change a Photo’s Date in iPhoto to When the Photo Was Taken

It’s very likely there are a bunch of photos in your iPhoto collections that are displaying the incorrect date and time when the photos were taken.

And this isn’t just a problem when your photos won’t sort chronologically. This will also be an issue for you every time you create a new Event or album inside of iPhoto and it constantly tries to identify them using the wrong date.

photo before date and time changed
Here’s a scanned print that was photographed on July 4, 1969 and then selected in iPhoto. Unfortunately, iPhoto is showing it was taken on March 25, 2012, but this is actually the date when the print was scanned.

Maybe the date and time weren’t set correctly in your digital camera before you took these photos. Or it’s possible you scanned a bunch of prints or film negatives and they are still reflecting the dates and times when you actually scanned them.

 

Note: If you aren’t seeing the vertical panel on the right side with the time and date information you see in the image above, you will need to first click on the Info button in the bottom right of the application to open this “Info” panel.

How to Change the Date and Time Metadata in iPhoto

1 Select the Photos / Videos
Select the photo(s) or video(s) that you’d like to adjust. This can be done by selecting them inside of a single Event or album, or by selecting multiple events or albums at a time — in those rare occasions you want to change large groups of them with the same time or date information.

selected photo in iPhoto

2 Click Photos > Adjust Date and Time
Go up to the top menu and click on “Photos” and then select “Adjust Date and Time” from the top of list.adjust date and time menu in photo
If you want to change the date and time for multiple photos, but you also don’t want to give them all the same exact date and time information, consider another option of “Batch Changing” them.Instead click on “Photos > Batch Change.”

batch change menu in iphoto

3 Type in the Correct Date and Time
In the new window that appears, click in the white “Adjusted” field and change any or all of the date and time information. Use the tab or cursor keys to move from one number to the next.If you aren’t sure of the actual time the photo was taken — as is usually the case with older photos — you will have to just do your best to approximate it.Put a check in the box “Modify original files” if you would like this new date and time to overwrite the date in your master image file(s) as well. Unless you aren’t confident even this new date and time is more accurate, I would recommend that you do “Modify original files” so that your original images as well as the database is kept up to date — so to speak. wink

adjust date and time window in iPhoto

If you are “Batch Changing,” your window will look slightly different. Select “Date” from the first pulldown menu at the top of this window. Then modify the date and time in the date field.

What makes the “Batch Changing” option different for changing the date and time is that you can put a check in the box and then add a consistent amount of time in between a selected each photo. This would be useful if you have a group of photos that were taken at an event that took place over a course of time — such as a sporting event, and you don’t want each photo to be given the same exact time, but you aren’t sure of the unique time for each photo.

batch change date and time window in iPhoto

4 Apply Changes
Finally, click the “Adjust” or “OK” button (depending on which window you are in) to close the window. Your photo(s) and video(s) will now be adjusted with the new date and time. That’s it! Pretty easy huh? smile

 

Verifying the Changes Were Applied

You can see that your dates have been updated by selecting one of these photos or videos and reviewing the information near the top of the Info panel on the right of the application.

changed date and time in iphoto
In the area I highlighted with a blue box, you can see the date this photo was taken has now been updated.

Additionally, you could also open one of these photos in a third party program that is capable of displaying this type of date and time information (technically called EXIF and IPTC metadata).

One way to do this is to select a photo in iPhoto, and then click File>Reveal in Finder to bring up either the “modified” (edited in iPhoto) or “original” (master) photo in a Finder window. Then right-click (control-click) on it and then select “Open With” and choose your application of choice.

Note to beginners: be careful with these images you are pulling up. These photos may fail to load correctly in iPhoto if you alter or — yikes — delete them. So be careful and just view them. wink

 

In this screenshot below, I’ve opened the photo I changed in this tutorial using a lightweight program I bought in the Apple App store called iExifer. I highlighted in blue all the places where the updated date and time are reflected in the metadata information.

adjusted date and time showing in iexifer
Date and time metadata information being viewed using iExifer.

The instructions and screenshots were created using iPhoto ’11 v.9.5.

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22 Comments on "How to Change a Photo’s Date in iPhoto to When the Photo Was Taken"

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Andy Simeon
Guest

Thank you so much for the information. I hope I can have the file back in the computer. Again, thanks!

Cecilia Svensson
Guest

Thanks so much for this. I have stumbled upon this exact issue. I figured there was a way to do it and thanks to you I didn’t have to look very far!

Lynn
Guest

I have done all this. I have even moved scanned and internet downloads in order in my album with the dates changed to fit in, but when I download the pictures or burn to a disc, the pictures from my camera come out first and then all the scanned ones and the ones downloaded from the internet come at the end. Why is this?

Bob
Guest

Hi Curtis, So glad that you make so much of this information available and share your depth of knowledge freely. I am certainly considering subscribing. Like many others from my generation I have boxes of photos that I want scanned so my children will be able to access their history and heritage.

I have a special problem that I have yet to find a solution for — feel free to move this question to a more appropriate place on your site.

I have some photos of legal documents and need to make sure that the Date Time Stamp showing progression follows the photos when I export them from iPhoto to a folder on my desktop. I followed your tips to make sure that the name and description are intact but when I looked at the Jpegs in the destination folder I could not see if the original date/time the photo was taken was still accessible or even if it was copied over at all.

Any suggestions here? I will continue to search. We have several photos to move and I would hate to have to go through and cut and paste the original time stamp info.

Thanks again for your help.

Ben
Guest

Hi

I’ve done what you have explained above. However, even in iPhoto the event and the pictures show a correct updated date (that is the new date I have entered), it doesn’t in the iPhone.
iPhone app Photos has 3 options to display the pictures. Those 3 options are the buttons at the bottom of the app, namely: Photos, Shared and Albums. When you go to the tab Photos, you get to Moments, from there you can go to Collections, and from there to Years, and here is my problem. Even the date has been changed the phone keep on displaying the picture in the wrong year.

So, kindly, do you have a solution for that?

Thank you

B.

Juan
Guest

Hello Curtis, thank you for this Tutorial!!!
But I have on more problem, I did this and it worked but now I need these changes to show up in the iPhone. Do I have to export all the photos to the computer and the export them back to the phone? Please help!!! Hehe. Thannk in advance

Juan

Samantha
Guest

I’ve successfully changed the date for some of my photos….Thank you for the tip! However, the date that appears on the ribbon with the Event name does not adjust with the dates of the photos included. Can you help me change it? The date range of the event determines the order of the events. Thanks for any help you can offer!

Chris
Guest

Hi Curtis,

Same question with Samantha, is there a way to update the date in the events ribbon as well?

Thanks

dirtysecretconfessions
Guest

How do you do that if you don’t have iPhoto? I’m using a windows computer. Thanks.

mike ashcroft
Guest

I have a similar problem, but mine defies Science, as I seem to be able to take photos into the future. New ones taken on my iPhone 6, which has the correct date set on it, show January 2016 !!
It’s not the end of the World, but it is irritating if I am trying to find specific photos.
I don’e want to Batch change as most of the photos (70,000+) are historic.

JAMAL
Guest

Can you do this with videos also

Jose
Guest

Hi, I want to change the date and the time taken of a few photos on my iphone that are on my camera roll. Is that possible and if so could you help me out cheers

Vinit
Guest

I’ve found the solution after tinkering about. So I wanted to transfer my entire iPhoto library into photos. I exported the photos from iPhoto using export then when I imported the videos to photos the time stamp were today’s date. They were all wrong!
Solution: Create a smart library in iPhoto called videos then select all the videos in iPhoto and “Drag and drop” the videos from iPhoto to an empty folder on your mac.(Do not use the export function from the menu)
Next open photos and import the videos and that’s it you will see that the videos have the correct time stamp.

You’re welcome. smile)

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