Apple Photos - Metadata Export - NIGHTMARE


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 5, 2018
Hello, I am trying to manage my personal library in Apple Photos

In all: 249gb consisting of about 35,000 photos/videos

About 25% are old 4x6 paper photos that I scanned in manually at 600dpi.... and VHS+8mm videos that I manually imported with a capture card.

Another 25% is all my digital camera photos from about 1999-2008 or so... some correct timestamps and some not (camera time wasn't set correctly, ugh). Plus photos that I've saved from my friends Facebook pages (which only gives you the timestamp of when you save the photo, not the original).

And the other 50% is all 2008+ photos from iPhones with timestamps, geolocations, and (in the last few years) live photos.

What I want, is 1 clean library with all the dates and geolocations to be correct as possible (lots of guesses with the old stuff).

I've been doing it in small batches... basically 1 'event' at a time.... I set the dates & timestamps..... then export as maximum quality into a new folder.

I finally finished... wiped out all the old stuff.... and started a new Apple Photos library with all the new/exported folders only...... Photos are all OK, but every video's timestamp is the Dec2018/Jan2019 export time, with no geolocation....... WHY??????????????????? They were all exported with the photos in the exact same way (all max quality, with metadata).

Extremely frustrating that the metadata stuff isn't easier, across ALL platforms, really... should be such a basic thing.... the 'adjust' tools work OK, but why no option for just "set all to exactly this date and time"..... when I have an album with dates all over the place, I have to change them one by one.


macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
You might want to check out the digital photo forum. I’m doing this right now and use exiftool at the command line. It is slow but I am able to change the original creation date in some sort of format: exif, xmp, file. I also hand scanned photos and negatives. Then I put them in folders of dates. Then I run exiftool against the entire folder, assigning a decade date (1940s) or a year set to Jan 1 (1993-01-01). At least the photos show up in the all photos timeline halfway decently. It took a week or so of fighting Photos before I realized just how much metadata a single photo can have.


macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
Why not restore the old Photos library from your backup and give it another shot?

Lots of applications that work fine with images have trouble with exif with video. Besides exiftool, might wanna look at Bridge or Graphic Converter.
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