A few days ago I encountered an odd problem. I offloaded footage shot that day from a GoPro Hero 7 and when I wanted to open it in Final Cut Pro X the creation date was reported to be sometime in 1976. I checked the actual file and that was indeed the creation and modification date. Later that day I found this sometimes happens with other cameras too. Well, I got a solution for that problem and it’s not going to require you to tamper with macOS Catalina’s Terminal. Let me introduce you to A Better Finder Attributes.
To correct — or plain edit — wrong creation and modification dates in macOS, you’ll need to be proficient in the command line interface and, even then, chances are that you won’t be able to make it work on a macOS Catalina system as Catalina tries to ensure you won’t break the system, regardless of whether you consider it broken in the first place.
Terminal commands will probably eventually allow you to solve the date problem, but it won’t be a quick fix and it won’t help you with other metadata such as EXIF and IPTC information. The app A Better Finder Attributes 7, developed by Frank Reiff, the same chap who developed the A Better Finder Rename, solves all of these problems in a nice, user-friendly interface. No Catalina protests, hiccups or other rubbish that Apple nowadays throws in your face in the name of security (which, to be honest, is actually not rubbish at all, only frustrating at times).
A Better Finder Attributes lets you edit creation and modification dates, EXIF DateTimeOriginal, DateTimeDigitized, and more. It works with a drag-and-drop panel at the right and a calendar and clock interface at the left when you’re doing simple date manipulation. There are other capabilities available too, however. For example, you can change the copyright and owner information, camera and lens specifications and some exposure information. You can also strip the EXIF, GPS and IPTC information from a file or remove only GPS and IPTC location tags.
Adjusting EXIF time and date values by subtracting or adding time units is possible too, in increments that range from seconds to years. This feature is very useful if your camera clock isn’t reliable. In addition, there is an advanced feature that lets you extract the date from the file name or from a different file in the same directory — like from a GPS tagger or an XMP sidecar file.
Other editing capabilities include adding or changing individual EXIF/IPTC tags such as model, ShutterSpeedValue, Serial Number, RelatedSoundFile, etc. There’s also the ability to strip WhereFrom information that’s added by some developers who want to know where you downloaded the file from, remove invisible files from folders, remove legacy creator and file type codes, and more.
As with A Better Finder Rename, A Better Finder Attributes is a small but important niche product, certainly for photographers and videographers. Yes, you can adjust dates in some photo catalogue apps but usually not the EXIF information nor the file creation and modification dates. The latter functionality is a specialised matter if only for the requirement that you need to change both dates if the edited creation date must be later than the actual file date. The reason is that a modification date that is earlier than the creation date is impossible and macOS won’t have it.
A Better Finder Attributes is available at https://www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderAttributes/ and is a modest €17.95.