I have a full drive of old JPEGs from the early 2000's (Canon A20) that I have added into a LR catalog. I have unchecked the catalog settings "Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PSD files". However, as I'm rating the JPEGs (using stars), I noticed that in the Mac Finder each JPEG's Created Date and Modified Date is updated to the current time, while the Content created date remains the same as before I rated the image. I also noticed there is not an XMP file associated with any JPEGs.

It is very important these JPEGs do not get modified in any way. Is there another setting that would place my modifications into a separate XMP file and leave the original JPEGs untouched?

  • Note that I'm rating using stars. I just tested and noticed that using flags to rate will not change the JPEGs, but my workflow uses flags for a different purpose. – hkong Jun 21 '20 at 21:00
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    Star ratings are an actual field in the standardized EXIF structure, that's why you can rate them with any application and most other applications (all that conform to the EXIF standard) will recognize them. – Michael C Jun 22 '20 at 2:25
  • So does Lightroom re-save the entire file? I'm worried about JPEG artifacts if it re-save the file everytime. It's also disconcerting to see the dates on the file change. – hkong Jun 22 '20 at 2:35
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    It's my understanding that LR does not rerender the image contents itself, but only alters the part of the file containing the EXIF info. EXIF info must be part of the file itself, it can't be placed in a sidecar file the way development instructions can. – Michael C Jun 22 '20 at 2:37
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    If necessary there are ways to reset the filesystem date of files from the date in the Exif – xenoid Jun 22 '20 at 7:49

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