If the EXIF date/time taken looks inaccurate

Photos taken with a phone or tablet should have accurate EXIF date/time taken data because the device date/time set for the phone is invariably synchronised via the internet and/or voice network, but if the photo was taken with a traditional digital camera it is possible that, if it is some time since the date/time was set, it may be out by a number of minutes or even hours. It is even possible that it was, by accident, set with the wrong date - sometimes the day and month will be correct but the year will have been accidentally entered wrongly. You may be able to tell that the EXIF date/time taken cannot be accurate because of the light (e.g. a picture taken in daylight when the EXIF date/time taken is well after sunset) or because the appearance of trees or other outdoor plants is not right for the season indicated by the EXIF date/time. 

Another possibility is that the image is a photo of a photo so that although the EXIF date/time taken may accurately show the date and time that the photo of the photo was made, that is not the date/time that the original photo was taken. That it is a photo of a photo may be apparent from the fact that there is white margin, or the pixel density may appear to be so low that is seems unlikely that it is an original digital photo. Or perhaps the EXIF camera/phone model information is actually a model of scanner, not a camera or phone, so you know it is a scanned copy of a non-digital photo.

In such cases you should use the procedure below to download the affected JPGs from Bundledocs to your computer, rename them (retaining the EXIF date/time details as a unique reference for each photo but adding words to indicate that they are not believed to be accurate or not believed to be the original metadata), remove any previous copies from Bundledocs, and then load the renamed copies from your computer to Bundledocs.

1. Sign on to Bundledocs from your computer and download the affected JPGs using the "download source" button (see video). Then delete from Bundledocs the copies of the JPGs which you have just downloaded.

2. Rename the JPGs you have downloaded to include the EXIF date/time taken and the words not accurate or not original.
  • If you are renaming the JPGs manually you will need to know the EXIF date/time taken for each affected photo down to the seconds (the seconds are needed to provide a unique reference even if the time is not accurate). If your computer's standard file manager only displays EXIF date/time taken in hours and minutes you could use ViewNX (in ViewNX date/time taken is referred to as Date Shot and is shown in full including seconds) or alternatively use an EXIF display website (such as exifinfo.org) but if you use an EXIF display website you need to be aware of the privacy implications of using the internet.
  • If you are using a Windows computer you can instead use Advanced Renamer to rename the JPGs for you automatically as illustrated below.

Load the JPGs which you have renamed to Bundledocs (by tapping the Add Documents button - see video) and ensure that the Document Description includes a concise description of the subject of the photo - e.g. Photo of No 22 garden. 

Set the Document Date in Bundledocs so that it shows the date the photo was originally taken so far as you can ascertain it. You have to type into the Bundledocs Document Date column an exact date - day, month, and year - and in some cases you may be able to ascertain the exact date the photo was taken but if, as is often the case, you do not know the exact date the photo was taken and so can only give an approximate date, you can change the Display Date Format so that only the month and year are shown, if that is all you are sure of, or even just the year, as shown in the second and third examples below.

  Document Description Display Date Format Document Date entered Document Date displayed
 Photo of No 22 garden (EXIF date/time 22 Nov 2017 16.46.30 not accurate or not original) 

 d MMM yyyy 2008-02-15  15 Feb 2008
 Photo of No 22 garden (EXIF date/time 18 Oct 2004 17.46.15 not accurate or not original)  yyyy 1999-01-01 1999
 Photo of No 22 garden (EXIF date/time 15 Jun 2005 22.45.31 not accurate or not original) MMM yyyy 2006-06-01
 Jun 2006
 Photo of No 22 garden (EXIF date/time 25 Oct 2018 16.46.15 not accurate or not original)  'mid 1990s'  1995-01-01 mid 1990s 

If a photo can only be dated to within a few years, not to an exact year, you can use a value such as about 1994 or mid 1990s or late 1990s within single quotation marks as shown in the last example. Don't use a value in the form about 25 years ago because if you do someone reading what you have entered will not know exactly when you entered it and therefore be unclear what year to count back 25 years from. If you have completely no idea at all when a photo was taken you can simply say Date unknown


The information on this page about specific computer techniques is provided for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date at the time it was written but no responsibility for its accuracy, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. You should satisfy yourself, before using any of the techniques, software or services described, that the techniques are appropriate for your purposes and that the software or service is reliable.

Any explanation about naming conventions or other matters in the context of tribunal or court procedure is only an overview and in order to be reasonably concise I have had to leave some details out - details which are likely to affect what the procedural law would say about your own situation. So please do not rely on the above but contact me for advice.

This page was lasted updated in August 2020. Disclaimer