When uploading to an ftp site, the original file create date seems to be lost, and I get the upload date instead. However, the Exif data in the file is correct. Is there a tool to batch change the created date from the Exif date?

  • 3
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6 Answers 6


The EXIF handling tool exiv2 has a builtin option for this:

exiv2 -T rename image.jpg

sets the time of last file modification, mtime, to the date stored in the EXIF metadata.

You asked for using the create time - but that is not used in Unix-like systems, and there are good reasons for that.

I'm pretty sure the time you call create time is actually mtime, no problem there.

From man exiv2:

  exiv2 - Image metadata manipulation tool

  exiv2 [options] [action] file ...

  exiv2 is a program to read and write Exif, IPTC and XMP image metadata and image com‐
  ments. The following image formats are supported:

[ ... ]

mv | rename
 Rename files and/or set file timestamps according to the Exif create time‐
 stamp.  Uses  the  value  of  tag  Exif.Photo.DateTimeOriginal  or, if not
 present, Exif.Image.DateTime to determine the timestamp. The filename for‐
 mat can be set with -r fmt, timestamp options are -t and -T.

[ ... ]

-T  Only  set  the  file  timestamp according to the Exif create timestamp, do not
    rename the file (overrides -k). This option is only  used  with  the  'rename'
    action.  Note:  On Windows you may have to set the TZ environment variable for
    this option to work correctly.

See option -t to do the opposite.

  • 1
    I would interpret "opposite" to mean to set the EXIF timestamp from the file timestamp, but this is not what -t does. In fact, it seems to actually do a superset of what -T does.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 17:31

Assuming, as mentioned by 'Volker Siegel', that you probably mean mtime, I would simple use exiftools builtin function..


 $ exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal>FileModifyDate" test.jpg

this will take the "exif field "DateTimeOriginal" information and use it to set the filesystems modified date/time info of the file "test.jpg".


$ ls -la test.jpg
-rw-r-----@ 1 user  18329968  2432451 14 Out 17:57 test.jpg

$ exiftool -DateTimeOriginal test.jpg
Date/Time Original              : 2015:10:09 13:29:58
$ exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal>FileModifyDate" test.jpg
    1 image files updated
$ ls -la test.jpg
-rw-r-----@ 1 user  18329968  2432451  9 Out 13:29 test.jpg
  • 1
    Set the timezone environment variable in case the EXIF-field contains a time in a different timezone. For example: TZ=Asia/Shanghai exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal>FileModifyDate" test.jpg Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 10:36
  • 1
    Unlike exiv2, this also worked on 3g2 and mkv files (video containers) for me.
    – Johann
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 16:28

It can also be made using jhead command:

$ jhead -ft file.jpg

From man page:

-ft Sets the file's system time stamp to what is stored in the Exif header.

-dsft Sets the Exif timestamp to the file's timestamp. Requires an Exif header to pre-exist. Use -mkexif option to create one if needed.

  • 2
    For Jhead 3.0 the option is -dsft. -ft does the opposite. Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 12:28
  • 5
    jhead seems to be the only EXIF tool which doesn't muck with the EXIF header - exiftool and exiv2 actually increase the size of the file and move headers around, which is totally unacceptable to me.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 17:48
  • 1
    I disagree that jhead 3 requires opposite arguments. The man page confirms the answer and my testing does as well. I am currently running find /my/picture/path -type f -iname \*pg -print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 jhead -exonly -ft which seems to be working. -exonly seems to be necessary to not set the date on every file without an EXIF header (many thumbnails) to 2098-01-18. An odd default behavior! Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 10:28
  • Worked like a charm! I have been looking for this for a long time Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 3:56

If you install the exiftool from CPAN you can run the following script, assuming that all your files are in a directory called "all"

for i in all/*; do
    SPEC=`exiftool -t -s -d "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S" -CreateDate "$i"`
    read X DATE <<<${SPEC}
    echo "$i:$DATE"
    touch -d "$DATE" "$i"
  • can you describe what this script is doing? In particular the args for exiftool Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 1:43

ExifTool can read and manipulate most EXIF information, including extracting the Date/Time Original or Create Data EXIF tags. You can use this information to rename the files or change their timestamps. For example:

find -name '*.jpg' | while read PIC; do
    DATE=$(exiftool -p '$DateTimeOriginal' $PIC |
    sed 's/[: ]//g')
    touch -t $(echo $DATE | sed 's/\(..$\)/\.\1/') $PIC

This will find all JPG files in the current directory and update the timestamps.

If you want to also give those files a name based on that date (this tends to come in handy) then also add mv -i $PIC $(dirname $PIC)/$DATE.jpg before the done line.


ExifDate2FS tool will do this.

pip install exifdate2fs
exifdate2fs /opt/folder_with_your_photos/

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