I am getting photos from someone who is using their cell phone and sending me photos is it possible to tell if the photos were taken by using the self-timer or had to be taken by a person?


No. This is not possible. There is a standard metadata field in EXIF which tells if the self-timer was used, but:

  1. There's no guarantee that the cameraphone app in use actually writes this field
  2. Many transfer methods strip all of this off to reduce file sizes,
  3. It's easy to edit, so you even if it's there, you can't trust it....
  4. And if all of that wasn't enough, there's no way of knowing that a second person didn't activate the self-timer.

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