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iCloud to Google Photos: Photos acquired from third-party apps syncs with the wrong date? 0 Recommended Answers 1 Reply 1 Upvote
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I've been trying to transfer my iCloud Photo album to Google Photos for weeks, and trust me, I have read up on a lot of this. My issue might be better suited in an Apple forum but I figured I'll try here first.

First, if you are experienced with iCloud and Google Photos, here is a one-sentence summary of the description below: "After downloading all my iCloud Photos to my Mac, B&S used the download date on photos that originated from third-party apps (I think), which makes sense considering the EXIF metadata that these photos contained, but I am wondering if there is a workaround here."

I've been using the iCloud "Optimize Storage" option to save my photos in iCloud. In order to transfer my photos to Google Photos, I realized that I had to use the "Download Originals to this Mac" option, and then use Backup and Sync (B&S) with the settings depicted below. I downloaded all my iCloud photos to my Mac Sept. 13, 2019.
The problem is the dates on the photos with little to no metadata included. A good amount of my photos were synced to Google Photos with the date from when I downloaded the original photos to my Mac, i.e. Sept. 13, 2019. I noticed that all the photos that were synced incorrectly had minimal metadata in the Photos app, i.e. just date and time. However, I also noticed that some of the photos that actually did sync correctly also had, apparently, the same minimal metadata (just date and time). 

After examining closer the origin of these photos, I noticed that many (if not all) of the incorrectly synced photos were photos that I had acquired from third-party apps like Snapchat, Messenger and WhatsApp (oddly enough, photos from Instagram seemed to sync perfectly fine). 

I then used exiftool in the Mac terminal to thoroughly analyze the date and time metadata on a selection of the photos, and discovered the following:

- Photos that were incorrectly synced to Google ("third-party photos") had the metadata:  

[File:System]   FileModifyDate                  : 2019:09:13 12:19:55+02:00
[File:System]   FileAccessDate                  : 2019:09:20 14:54:51+02:00
[File:System]   FileInodeChangeDate             : 2019:09:20 14:54:29+02:00

- Photos that were synced correctly to Google even though they appeared to have the same amount of metadata in the Photos app, contained a tiny bit of extra metadata with the correct date:  

[File:System]   FileModifyDate                  : 2019:09:13 12:13:38+02:00
[File:System]   FileAccessDate                  : 2019:09:20 15:43:55+02:00
[File:System]   FileInodeChangeDate             : 2019:09:20 15:09:13+02:00
[XMP:XMP-photoshop] DateCreated                 : 2019:02:25 22:51:54

I found an article explaining how More than one date is associated with each photo file. In short, this article states: 
             Google Photos will choose:
    1. DateTimeOriginal — if available; if not then:
    2. CreateDate — if available; if not then:
    3. ModifyDate — if available; if not then:
    4. FileModifyDate
So, if you followed along this long, all of the above actually makes sense. The photos that synced correctly despite seemingly having the same amount of metadata as the incorrectly synced photos, contained a "DateCreated" line with the correct date that trumps the other lines according to the list above. 

Does anyone have experience with this sort of problem? The correct dates of the "third-party photos" are obviously stored somewhere within the Apple Photos app but is there any way of extracting this and including it in the EXIF metadata file for Google to interpret it ?

I hope I made the problem clear, thank you very much for any input whatsoever!
All Replies (1)
Hi Simon,
"The correct dates of the "third-party photos" are obviously stored somewhere within the Apple Photos app but is there any way of extracting this and including it in the EXIF metadata file for Google to interpret it?
I think it is more a case of Apple Photos seeing the original date the images were created rather than it being stored anywhere within the Apple Photos app. The images with the XMP date survive downloading so are used by Google Photos as you rightly presumed.
On Windows there are numerous ways to inject an Exif date, but on Mac? Hopefully someone will chime in with some options. It depends on how accurate you want the date to be, how many photos, will batches of the same date be acceptable, is there an option to choose the original third party app folder so that copying doesn't introduce a new date, etc.
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