Is it possible for two AV files to share one sidecar file?


An Apple Live Photo is made up of an image file (JPG) and a video file (MOV), and they share the same base name, e.g., IMG_1000.JPG and IMG_1000.MOV.

If I programmatically create an XML sidecar for the image file, it will be named (if I follow the XMP spec), IMG_1000.XMP. However, if I then create a sidecar for the video file, it will use the same filename.

I tested this using Phil Harvey's ExifTool, and it appears that the second action overwrites the metadata from the first. Thus, it seems that my sidecar is really only associated with my video file, and not my image file.

This leads me to wonder if it is possible to use a single sidecar with an Apple Live Photo, or with any two AV files.

1 Answer 1


XMP files do not contain references to the original image file, so in principle, it is possible to use the same XMP file for multiple images with different extensions.

ExifTool does not normally "overwrite" files. When updating a file, it creates new tags and changes preexisting tags, as needed. Preexisting tags in the destination that are not in the source are left alone.

ExifTool reports whether it has created or updated a file.

$ exiftool file.jpg -o file.xmp
    1 image files created

$ exiftool -tagsfromfile file.raf file.xmp
    1 image files updated

$ exiftool file.raf -o file.xmp
Error: 'file.xmp' already exists - file.raf
    0 image files updated
    1 files weren't updated due to errors

See ExifTool: Metadata Sidecar Files

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