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I need to obtain the original creation date of a photo taken on a phone. This phone does not store any EXIF metadata.

How can I get the date when the photo was originally created ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What do you "need" this for? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Sep 18, 2023 at 9:38

2 Answers 2

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You can't. A digital photo is just a computer file – it doesn't intrinsically store its ultimate creation date anywhere.

Exif data is a nice feature of image files whereby useful metadata is stored within the file itself. The date a photo was taken/created is often present. However, there are problems here too:

  1. The purpose of metadata is just helpfulness. There is no guarantee of authenticity. It can easily be modified or removed.
  2. The file you are dealing with apparently doesn't have any metadata in any case.
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Phones do store the metadata, otherwise their Gallery/Photos apps wouldn't really work. However, when you use phone apps to share the photo, the metadata is usually ripped out for privacy protection.

If this is your phone, you can usually export the complete original by sending it as a mail attachment from a file management app (and possibly even from the photo app as long as you share by mail), or you can connect the phone to a PC where is appears as mass storage device, and locate and copy the files to your PC.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks very much to people who have submitted answers. I wanted to show someone the date that a photo was originally taken, but without metadata (unaltered of course), it seems I cannot do that. \$\endgroup\$
    – operauser
    Sep 18, 2023 at 14:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not have the original photo. I only have a copy. \$\endgroup\$
    – operauser
    Sep 18, 2023 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please edit your reasons into the original question rather than posting them as comments on an answer - thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Sep 18, 2023 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good answer, but I'm not quite sure that metadata is usually ripped out for privacy protection. I'd say that sometimes it is, and that is rather down to the app used to transmit the photo, not necessarily the Gallery/Photos app itself. That's my understanding anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Sep 18, 2023 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would additionally like to point out that I do not now have access to the phone that took the original photo. \$\endgroup\$
    – operauser
    Sep 18, 2023 at 17:12

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