I would like to know what does Finder's "Date Added" mean exactly (added to where?), and how does it compare to the "Date Created" (coming from Windows, there isn't something similar there to "Date Added").



Put simply:

  • Date Added refers to when the item was added to the directory in question.
  • Date Created refers to when the item was actually created.

The best way to explain this is to use the example of a screenshot. If you took a screenshot at exactly 12:05pm on 1 March 2018 it'll have a Date Created of 1 March 2018 at 12:05 pm. 1

Now, let's say you move that screenshot at 8:00am on 10 April 2018 to another folder (e.g. you move it from the desktop to your Documents folder), then the Date Created is still the same, but the Date Added will show 10 April 2018 at 8:00 am. 1

Depending on what the item's history is, it can have the exact same date and time in both columns.

1. Note the actual format will depend on your macOS configuration

  • Thanks a lot for the answer! It gets a bit trickier, however, when it comes to the Finder's "Recents" or Smart Folders: does the "Date Added" refers to the date a given file was added to those virtual folders, or to the folder that actually contains it? (since "Recents" and Smart Folders are not actual folders) – voronoi Apr 11 '18 at 15:17
  • Well, the Recents smart folder is designed to show items that were most recently opened rather than added. Of course, sometimes the metadata can be the same for a number of fields. For example, if you created a brand new MS Word document in a particular folder five minutes ago it'd show up in the Recents folder because it was very recently opened, but if you checked the Date Created or Date Added you'd probably find they have the same details! The Date Modified would most likely be different (assuming you had saved it more recently). – Monomeeth Apr 11 '18 at 23:38
  • I don't really like the Recents smart folder. Personally, I only use the Date Added column in the Downloads folder as that's where I find it to be most useful. Often items downloaded from the net have creation and/or modification dates that can go back quite some time, so being able to quickly sort the Downloads folder by when you know you've added items to it (i.e. downloaded items) is particularly useful. – Monomeeth Apr 11 '18 at 23:38

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