Retrieving name or serial number from an iPhone photo?

TheiPodPerson

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2008
24
0
Syracuse
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?

Thanks,

Jordan
 

chumawumba

macrumors 6502
Aug 9, 2012
471
1
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 http://regex.info/exif.cgi

Hope it helped
 

itjw

macrumors 65816
Dec 20, 2011
1,088
6
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.

:D
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,404
At the iPhone hacks section.
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?

Thanks,

Jordan
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?
 

dextr3k

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2012
357
1
Yeah,

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".
 

Interstella5555

macrumors 603
Jun 30, 2008
5,219
4
Yeah,

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".
Yeah, but then they just zoom and enhance and suddenly the computer figures it out!
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
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?
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

Code:
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.
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
12,886
3,415
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.
 

dewthedru

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2010
178
2
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?

ha!