I have compared the standard EXIF data from a picture taken with a mobile phone's rear camera and another taken with the same phone's front camera. The same fields appear in both files and no big difference jump out.

Is there a flag in the file or something similar in the EXIF data between rear and front pictures that could positively determine which camera took the picture?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The resolution often differs: the camera facing the user has a lower resolution than the camera on the back. Maybe that is a useful indicator? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2016 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SaaruLindestøkke The focal length is probably more reliable than resolution, as long as you have a specimen of both to compare, and don't need a generic solution. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2016 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SaaruLindestøkke I ended up using resolution paired with make/model for an 60% solution. I say 60% because various apps (and the user) can change the resolution so this is imperfect, but good enough for a rough sort. \$\endgroup\$
    – R3dChief
    Jun 23, 2016 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @R3dChief, isn't the file size a huge difference? For me, the difference between front and back cam is usually 15x in filesize. E.g. 130kb vs 1800kb. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pacerier
    Feb 2, 2017 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


The resolution often differs: the camera facing the user has a lower resolution than the camera on the back.

A few examples I pulled from gsmarena.com:

  • iPhone 6:                    Front 8MP;    Back 1.2MP
  • Samsung Galaxy S5: Front 16MP;  Back 2MP
  • Huawei P9:                Front 12MP;  Back 8MP

I can't speak for all phones, but a look at EXIF for the iPhone 5, I've noticed that the Lens data element tells you a fair bit:

  • Rear camera: iPhone 5 back camera 4.12mm f/2.4
  • Front camera: iPhone 5 front camera 2.18mm f/2.4

As I said, can't be sure for other phone makes, but that's a starting point for you and it's probably pretty consistent across the IOS family line.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I can confirm that files from my recent model Samsung don't have that nice lens field in EXIF, hence my suggestion of the focal length heuristic. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2016 at 18:33

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