Some of my photos in Apple Photos 2.0 (3150.4.120) have the wrong time zone, but I don't know which ones. I can find the time zone for an individual photo, by selecting Image > Adjust Date and Time.

But how can I find all photos with a certain time zone? I've tried searching in the Finder, in the photos' filesystem metadata (using mdls), in the photos' EXIF metadata (using exiftool), and even in the Photos sqlite database, but haven't found where it's stored.

Where is this information?

1 Answer 1


It may depend on the camera/phone and OS; but, I don't think the timezone is explicitly stored in the picture's EXIF metadata.

In some metadata, there is a GPS Time (Atomic Clock) which is set to UTC. So, Photos probably just calculates the offsets of Date and Time (Original) to display the timezone.

You may be able to use exiftool to build a list of those two times for your pictures, and search for outliers which are more (or less) different than the others.

Update from original poster:

I threw together a quick Python script to compare these times, and print the ones that aren't in the expected time zone, or have different values for minutes. You'll need to export the unmodified originals from Photos, since the modified ones don't have this metadata, and then pass their filenames to this script.

Of course, I have no idea if this is anything close to what Photos does to set the time zone. But it correctly identified the photos that I knew of with the wrong time zone, and didn't find any false positives.


from subprocess import check_output
import sys, re, os
from dateutil.parser import parse
from datetime import datetime

expected_offset_hours = 8.0  # set to appropriate time zone offset

def get_field(out, name):
    match = re.search("^" + re.escape(name) + "\t(.+?)$", out, re.MULTILINE)
    if match:
        return match.group(1)
    return None

for arg in sys.argv[1:]:
    if not os.path.exists(arg):
    out = check_output(["exif", "-m", arg])
    gps_date = get_field(out, "GPS Date")
    gps_time = get_field(out, "GPS Time (Atomic Clock)")
    if gps_date == None or gps_time == None:
        print arg + "\tNo GPS date/time"
    gps_parsed = datetime.strptime(gps_date + " " + gps_time, '%Y:%m:%d %H:%M:%S.%f')
    orig_datetime = get_field(out, "Date and Time (Original)")
    if orig_datetime == None:
    orig_parsed = datetime.strptime(orig_datetime, '%Y:%m:%d %H:%M:%S')
    offset_secs = (orig_parsed - gps_parsed).total_seconds()
    offset_hours = round(offset_secs / 3600)
    offset_mins = abs(offset_secs - (offset_hours * 3600)) // 60
    if offset_hours != expected_offset_hours or offset_mins > 0:
        #print gps_date + ' ' + gps_time + ' ' + str(gps_parsed)
        #print orig_datetime + ' ' + str(orig_parsed)
        print arg + "\t" + str(offset_hours) + "\t" + str(offset_mins)
  • So I'm assuming we're talking about GPSDateTime and DateTimeOriginal. If I look at one photo that shows the "away" time zone, this checks out. But if I look at one that shows the "home" time zone, it doesn't add up; in fact, the GPS time isn't even a whole number of hours away from the Original time. And the same is the case for a third photo, which shows a blank time zone. What a mess!
    – JW.
    May 17, 2017 at 2:19
  • Yeah... it doesn't look easy. The field names I used were from a 5S running iOS8, and using macports "exif" to get the info. Not sure if the exact name is a function of the camera/phone or the exif / exiftool app. In my case, the GPS time was a few seconds off from the camera time (plus the TZ adjustment)
    – Kent
    May 17, 2017 at 2:22
  • 1
    So maybe it makes some assumption about how far the minutes of the GPS time can be from the original time, not counting the difference in hours due to time zone. If they're too far apart, it sets the time zone to either blank or the local one. But which one and how far apart? I guess that's not information that us mortals are privy to.
    – JW.
    May 17, 2017 at 2:29
  • what's the usage of this script? python script.py [file1 file2 ... fileN]? or is the argument a directory with all the files?
    – arturomp
    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:10
  • @arturomp The former. Or script.py *.jpeg etc.
    – JW.
    Feb 22, 2018 at 14:46

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