I know a similar question was posted here before - which I will provide a link for below - but despite that, the exiftool.exe in the thread could not really retrieve the original date. The file in question is a .jpg that I received from a friend which I then saved to my PC.

The date of creation according to the exiftool is the same date I copied the file to my PC and not the actual date the photo was taken in. The exiftool.exe could only display similar information which file properties in Windows already showed.

enter image description here

Is there any -hopefully an easy- way on Windows to extract the "hidden" original date when the photo was taken ?

Any tool that would retrieve the ORIGINAL date a photo was created on even after it has been processed?

  • 4
    As already stated in the quoted question, you cannot 'reimagine' exif data which has been stripped from the file. It's just not there to scavenge.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 18, 2021 at 19:19
  • 1
    This question asks the impossible. There is no "hidden" date stored somewhere.
    – xiota
    Mar 19, 2021 at 2:43
  • 1
    Why do you think there's a "hidden" original date? The only response I can imagine is, "But there must be!" And the response to that is, "Well no there isn't." If metadata is stripped from a file, then it's gone from that file. Your best bet would be to get the original file from your friend, if he/she still has it. But there's also no guarantee that the original includes any more metadata than the file you have already.
    – osullic
    Mar 19, 2021 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


As the comments say, there's no "hidden" data. From the looks of that output, all the data has been stripped away. Everything that's left is properties of the file system (file permissions, file create/modify date) or properties of the image itself (width/height, encoding, bits).

This is common for images/videos that have passed through social media type websites/apps. Personally identifiable data is removed for privacy.

  • They claim it's for privacy reasons, but in reality it's to cover their rear ends from liability over intellectual property disputes. Without EXIF info included in the offending images, it's much harder for someone to find one's own images that have been stolen and used by others without permission.
    – Michael C
    Mar 20, 2021 at 3:34
  • 1
    They already have protection from liability due to the DMCA, Title II.
    – StarGeek
    Mar 20, 2021 at 16:20
  • That's a matter of interpretation for civil courts to decide. ISPs and social media sites are not the same in the eyes of the DMCA. Sites which host content on their own servers can and have been held civilly liable at times for unauthorized content uploaded by their members.
    – Michael C
    Mar 21, 2021 at 6:57

So here is what I found out. The "compressed" picture that my friend sent me through Whatsapp has its original creation date changed to the time I stored it on my PC. However, the same "full-sized" picture was emailed to me today and it showed the original date it was created in. Apparently, it really depends on the medium through which you send the image and whether any compression was done to it.

  • 1
    Good that you've researched it further. However, I don't think it's compression that is at the core of the issue. It's just that some apps strip metadata (including the original creation date) before sending, and some don't. Also, some apps might have methods of keeping the metadata, e.g. I believe if you send the photo as a document in WhatsApp the metadata is retained. Mar 19, 2021 at 14:40
  • 1
    I think you are misusing terms. As Saaru says, this is not related to "compression", it is related to "processing". As mentioned in StarGeek's answer, WhatsApp and similar services process an image before transmission. Not only is metadata stripped, but the image is also resized, to make it smaller, for transmitting over the network. Bit-for-bit, an image sent through WhatsApp is very different to the original image that the sender possesses. If you want the original image, ask for it to be sent via email or uploaded to cloud storage.
    – osullic
    Mar 19, 2021 at 22:33
  • Because the EXIF is stripped and the image is re-rendered on a bit-by-bit basis, it makes it much easier for people to steal others' images and use them without permission while also giving the host, such as WhatsApp, plausible deniability that they knew any specific image was used in violation of that image owner's IP rights, too.
    – Michael C
    Mar 20, 2021 at 3:37
  • The very limited exif data you posted in the original question indicated the image was 757 X 1600, 1.2 megapixels. That is clearly an edited image and the editor altered the exif. Mar 21, 2021 at 16:48

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