Retrieving name or serial number from an iPhone photo?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by TheiPodPerson, May 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2008
    Okay, so heres the deal... Someone in my college class sent a picture around of the final exam and the professor found out about the image. He says if the person turns themselves in he won't make the entire class write four of the final essays that were originally supposed to be one of. My question is, is if I have the original image is there any way to get any data off of it? Like the serial number so I can run it through a camera finder like site, if possible?


  2. macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2012
    Ask the NSA
    Not sure about serial number, but you can get EXIF data, which can give the date, time, and location when the photo was taken, even the make and model of the camera. IF you have a Mac, you can use the Preview app for that info, or you can use an online EXIF data finder like

    Hope it helped
  3. macrumors 65816

    Dec 20, 2011
    I remember when I... err... someone else, did something silly like this with email, prior to realizing just how easy it was to trace haha (1996 I believe).

    No. As of this moment they cannot identify the DEVICE that took the picture (so you're in the clear). However, with the EXIF data, the guy (or gal) that has a copy of the original may be able to trace back to the location it was taken.

    Outside of that they'll be able to tell it was an iPhone.

    So unless your class is unlike the rest of the college world (over 60% iPhone I think was the latest #), it'd be hard to nail anyone from that info.

    However, if your... errr... their camera has an identifying flaw (dust under the lens, bad sensor pixel, etc.) all bets are off.

    I remember a girl I used to cyb... errr... video chat with. She claimed she lost her camera one night and drove all the way across town to get a new one. The new one had the same bad pixel. It was pretty amusing =P.

    Certain camera's are easily identifiable. But you'r... errr.. they're probably in the clear based on the situation you described.

  4. macrumors 68040


    Aug 24, 2012
    New York, USA
    Retrieving name or serial number from an iPhone photo?

    Open in Picasa it said what camera took it.

    Sent from my iPhone 5 using Tapatalk 2
  5. macrumors Nehalem


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    And even if you did get a serial number what are you going to do with it? Go to every students house and search all the phones or cameras they have available?
  6. macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2012

    The EXIF data can be read and get general information, but nothing really identifying, unless he took the photo at his house, then you get a gps location of his house.

    a data base is only as valuable once its matched with names/data. Or else you just have a list of numbers that mean nothing. Even with the serial number, no one can tie a camera to the photo unless they have both of it in front of them.

    Its like in CSI, when they get a fingerprint, and everyone is happy, until the computer starts beeping "NO MATCH".
  7. macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2012
    LL22, UK
  8. macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    Yeah, but then they just zoom and enhance and suddenly the computer figures it out!
  9. macrumors 68030


    Mar 25, 2011
    Stop your spam post please
  10. macrumors 603


    Apr 6, 2007
    The best tool I know of for this is exiftool. it will extract ALL Exif data from the image. It's cross platform also, so will run in windows, mac or linux. The bad news is, it's a command-line tool, so you'll need to drop into terminal (mac/linux) or cmd.exe (windows) and run it that way. basically, you drop into the directory where the image is sitting and type

    exiftool <filename>
    And it will spit out all the exif data embedded in the photo.

    What kind of info is in there though, depends a lot on the camera. Some cameras (like most dSLR models) will embed things like the serial number of the camera and what lens was attached, so it's very detailed. An iPhone though, will not embed any serial number info, so you won't be able to directly trace the image that way.

    It's still worth a try though. At the very least you should be able to get the model of the phone or camera used to take the image, what date and time (which should be fairly accurate on a smartphone), and GPS coordinates, indicating where they were when the image was taken (though the accuracy of that probably isn't good enough to single out a person in a room with a group of people inside).

    How useful the info is depends on a lot of factors. If they were using an Android phone that maybe embeds serial number info, then you might be able to track the person down. Or, maybe they're the only student in the class with a Blackberry Z10, and the photo was taken from that model phone.

    Of course, if the person taking the image was smart, they could've wiped the EXIF data from the image before sharing it with anyone. Then you'd have nothing to go on.
  11. macrumors G3


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Slightly off topic, but I'd talk to your dean. This prof seems to be willing to punish the entire class because of one idiot. Not how it's supposed to work. A clever prof would not have had the final even available for photography until hours before the exam. Most of our finals were literally got off the presses (well, the xerox) when they were handed to us for this very reason.
  12. macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    San Jose (CA)
    Sounds like your professor is too lazy to create a new exam.
  13. macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2010
    exactly. call his bluff. what are the odds he actually wants to grade 4 times as many papers as he had originally planned on grading?


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