I received the original image file of a picture taken on an iPhone 6 plus. I am interested in the metadata, particularly the dates the picture was taken. I was able to acquire the date the image was "taken," but I also understand metadata can be modified, and that the date is extremely easy to modify. Can I make the following conclusion from the metadata: (1) This date accurately represents the day the picture was taken or (2) The metadata was modified to this day

Are there other possible conclusions?

Edit: If the metadata was never modified and the date on the device the photo was taken is correct, can we conclude that the date in the metadata is a true and accurate representation of when the picture was taken in this scenario?

  • 1
    If you can definitively prove that the metadata was never modified, and you can definitively prove that the camera in question had its time/date and time zone set correctly, then you could probably assume that the metadata contains an accurate date/time stamp. However, both of the prerequisites are rather difficult...
    – twalberg
    Nov 15, 2017 at 3:01
  • Sure I see. This is for a legal issue I am inquiring about. If it is #2, it is a crime. If it is #1, then it severely hurts the other party's case. I guess my question is is it conclusive that it is either #1 or #2 or could there be other possibilities? If not, then I'm pretty set either way. The device the picture was taken from is an iPhone. If it was a camera, then it's probably more likely to have an incorrect date set, but people use their phones daily, and it would be uncommon to have an incorrect date.
    – David
    Nov 15, 2017 at 4:28
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    @David, we've had many similar questions regarding this. I just can't find one easily. It is fairly trivial to change values, including time stamps, in the EXIF data of an image file.
    – Michael C
    Nov 15, 2017 at 4:59

2 Answers 2


There is no way to know if the metadata was modified. Even if it was modified, the device could have been wrong even temporarily, which would give incorrect yet unmodified metadata.

Not much else can be established. You can do some other investigation to make sure things are really consistent. An inconsistency would point to manipulation. For example, if the phone names the files as a timestamp than that should match the metadata timestamp.


If you are only interested in date taken part then you can look for the image properties but if you want the detailed analysis then you have to look into the exif data.

You can use this site to check the exif data. There are many other sites but I find it more reliable. Even you can make one for your own use if you know php, hint.

However, all these data can be manipulated and AFAIK you can't trace all those manipulations.

More importantly, the date take part is easiest to manipulate as, if someone alters the system date of the camera or the phone that date will be reflected in the image exif.

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