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

by Curtis Bisel
updated: February 10, 2024
Curtis Bisel
February 10, 2024

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 — on those rare occasions when 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, click on “Photos,” and then select “Adjust Date and Time” from the top of the 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, are kept up to date — so to speak. 😉

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 photo. This would be useful if you have a group of photos that were taken at an event that took place over the 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? 🙂

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 the 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. 😉

In the 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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