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Change the modification date on iPhoto imports Apps
I have a bunch of old images I have been trying to load into iPhoto. Now I have spent more time than I should arranging these images into folders based on date, and was dismayed that iPhoto changed that hierarchy when copying the image hierarchy over. Closer inspection of the hierarchy revealed that iPhoto was using the modification date on the image file, and some of the images (either because I had edited the image or rotated it or something) had their modification date changed (duh!), which resulted in iPhoto putting that image in a different folder to what I expected.

I thought about writing a tool to fix the modification dates, but then I came across the shareware tool FileBuddy X (look for it on VersionTracker if link doesn't work).

After downloading and playing with this tool for a while, I found I could open up my images folder containing all my images (I backed up first - be smart!), load the top images folder into FileBuddy, select all, hit "Get Info", change the modification date to the creation date, change all, and then import the images into iPhoto.

Still have to live with the rather terse numbered folders of iPhoto, but at least now my images are arranged with other images taken at the same time, even though I have subsequently edited them.
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Change the modification date on iPhoto imports | 7 comments | Create New Account
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Touch your files instead
Authored by: Elander on Jan 14, '02 10:19:54AM

A faster and easier (and cheaper) method to change modification dates is to simply use the command line application "touch" on your image files.

If you want to set the modification date for all files in the current folder to 12:34:56 on april second 2001, use this:

cd to the folder where your images are and give this command:
touch -m *.* -t 200104021234.56

That should do it. Check out the man pages for "touch" (type "man touch" without the quotes in Terminal) for more options.

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Touch your files instead
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 14, '02 11:39:27AM

I know about touch, but I specifically wanted to make sure that the files modification date was the same as the creation date, in other words, keeping the images that I edited in the same folder as the untouched (no pun intended!) images.

Doing a global "touch" as you outline does not solve my problem.

I appreciate the comment - I did consider 'touch', in combination with various scripting technologies, but getting that 'creation date' from a file was problematic. Got some code that does a getattrlist on HFS volumes, but then found this program that did what I wanted.

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Yes, touch, but it needs stat
Authored by: el bid on Jan 14, '02 01:47:20PM

I was pained to discover from this report that stat isn't installed on MacOS X by default. And it's not in the Darwin Tools update from either (probably because stat comes from SySV rather than BSD). Without stat you can't (as far as I know -- anyone?) get full file date info from the command line.

Happily you can get the binary + man page from

el bid

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Yes, touch, but it needs stat
Authored by: bhines on Jan 15, '02 09:24:06AM

use GetFileInfo to get a file's mod times. It is in /Developer/Tools/


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Yes, touch, but it needs stat
Authored by: el bid on Jan 16, '02 03:52:04AM

Thanks for that good info. Although as an old UNIX guy I can't seem to get used to the idea of utils that are off the standard paths and have long filenames with mixed case. :-)

GetFileInfo does do the job in this case (deliver the creation date, which stat calls the Changed date). But interestingly it doesn't give you the Accessed date, although you do get a bunch of other HFS+ stuff like Creator and Type and that amazing list of one char attribute flags, including a special flag to indicate whether a file is on the Desktop or not (eh?).

Strangely GetFileInfo doesn't understand file globbing. Ask it to return a list of information on files matching orb*, for example, and it barfs.

el bid

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Authored by: dittrich on Jan 14, '02 04:13:48PM

GraphicConverter supplies another way to do this.... IF the file has embedded EXIF data which specifies the date and time, you can select a file from GC's browser, Ctrl-click on it, and select the "Set date from content" option (or something like that -- I'm posting from a PC at work). Voila! File date is now the same as EXIF date! Of course, you can select as many files as you want before doing the menu action, effectively correcting the timestamp on all the files in a single directory pretty easily....


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Change the modification date on iPhoto imports
Authored by: n1mie on Jun 05, '03 08:50:05AM

I had the reverse problem. My imported images (from a digital camera) had a modification date but no creation date. I was trying to find a way to make the dates match (so I could use the creation date to rename the file via GraphicConverter). Fiddling with the above suggestions, I found that if you open the folder of images using GraphicConverter's Browser function it will automatically fix the blank creation date (matching it to the modification date). I don't like the extra step, but at least I found a solution.


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