Adding Location and Date Metadata to Recovered iPhone Thumbnail Photos

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Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: iPhone | View Comments

Recently, I've run into a few situations where someone writes in about wanting to save their Photos app thumbnails out of an iPhone or iPad backup after their photo library has become corrupted, and the original full-size photos were lost. The thumbnail photo files are smaller of course, but they're still large enough size to be better than no photo at all.

One downside to extracting the Photos app thumbnails from an iPhone backup is that the thumbnails do not have any of the location, date, and time EXIF metadata that would be stored in the original photo, so when the thumbnail is added to your photo library, it doesn't have the appropriate date on it.

In a recent update to our Decipher Backup Browser software, we've added the functionality to add the location, date, and time to the thumbnail photos when they're saved from one of Decipher Backup Browser's thumbnail photo galleries when possible. "When possible" means that we can find the information elsewhere in the backup (such as the Photos app database.)

Download Decipher Backup Browser

To save iPhone thumbnail photos out of a backup with date, time, and location metadata:

  1. Run Decipher Backup Browser, and go to one of the thumbnails sections that has photos you want.

  2. Make sure Preferences > "Add GPS/date metadata to saved photos when possible" is checked. It should be checked by default.

  3. Save your photos from one of those thumbnail sections.

  4. Open the saved folder (Decipher Backup Browser should open a file browser window to it when it finishes.)

To view date, time, and location metadata in the exported iPhone photo thumbnails:

  • On Windows, right click on one of the exported photo files and select Properties > Details to view the photo's metadata.

  • On macOS, right-click on one of the exported photo files and select Open With > Preview.

  • In Preview, press Command + I to open the Inspector window.

  • Click the ⓘ more info button > EXIF to view the photo's EXIF data information.

The sections in Decipher Backup Browser that currently support this feature are:

  • Camera Roll Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails for Videos
  • My Photo Stream
  • All Photo Thumbnails
  • Thumbnails For Cloud-Shared Photos