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I've starting using the Photos app built into Mac OS (El Capitan). I appreciate the great integration with iOS/iPhone and iCloud. However, I'm not seeing any features that will let me make significant changes to the metadata, except for Title, Description, Keyword, and Location.

Are there any built-in tools or third-party extensions for Photos that will allow me to edit other metadata?

If so, can I apply metadata changes to a group of photos in this app, i.e., to a batch?

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  • what other metadata are you trying to add besides Title, Description, Keyword, and Location? all metadata for the shutter speed iso, camera, editing software, and whatnot are added by the camera its self really, those are the key area's but as always there are a lot of other options. there are a lot of 3rd party apps you could use that allow you all metadata fields, and then you could just import the photos back into the photos app and replace the previous files, and it would then sync to all of your devices as normal. Apr 25, 2019 at 10:24
  • Lightroom has batch editing options, but I use photo mechanic to do my metadata. Apr 25, 2019 at 10:24

2 Answers 2

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To reframe you question, you need to understand what Photos really is. It is essentially 3 things :

  • previews you can look at on the screen
  • your originals sorted somewhere (including EXIF information, related to the shooting, and possibleIPTC information, vulgarly referred to as "metadata" )
  • a database to handle the previews

The database does not handle other metadata than the one you mentioned (and favorites). Unlike what Aperture used to do. So no, there are not built-in tools to do that.

You could come up with third-party tools that could modify your originals, but you would not be able to see it through Photos interface.

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  • Photos does support extensions so it is certainly possible for someone to provide an extension which edits metadata. Hence the question.
    – Eric S
    May 8, 2021 at 13:41
  • Hence the answer. That's literally what my last phrase is saying. If your originals are stored elsewhere than in a managed catalog, there is no need to go through a Photos extension to do that. There are plenty of software that for. And if they are stored in a managed catalog, typically for cloud use, I question the relevancy of doing that as the edited metadata will not be propagated to Photos on other iDevices.
    – Hugues
    May 9, 2021 at 14:15
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Although I do not have any personal experience with the program, MetaImage seems to be what you are looking for. From their website:

Metalmage for impeccable metadata

MetaImage is the only macOS tool that allows to edit, read, and write metadata while working with all types of tag formats. Navigating through a sleek interface, you can change everything about your image metadata — and apply the same edits to hundreds of similar photos.

Works alongside your Photos app

If you own a Mac, you own Photos. This uncomplicated photo manager comes with lots of improvements on macOS Catalina — like organizing images by collections. So yeah, you’re gonna need it. With MetaImage, you don’t have to do any syncing to change metadata for images from the Photos app. There’s an extension for that.

Just to be clear, I have no association with the publisher of this program and have not used it personally.

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  • There are a number of exif data tools on the App Store that are free. There's no need to pay $9.99/mo for something like this. That is absolutely insane.
    – mawburn
    Sep 7 at 23:08

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