Lightroom Classic: iPhone imports photos to wrong folders (date)

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  • Updated 3 months ago
  • (Edited)
with LR 6.10.1 the import of photos seems to be random regarding the date of capture. Photos are not detected as already imported and will be placed in a totally wrong folder. I use a standard LR folder structure that is based on the capture date.
Today I was importing again from the iPhone and LR found over 800 new photos to import. A lot of them were already there, but the actual LR version placed them in totally wrong folders (capture date). some are from 2012 and are now imported to a folder of 2017. The exif data and also the LR meta data is showing the correct capture date.

Some weeks ago I have already posted the issue, but somebody merged the topic with a video import issue. Please do not merge it again with such a topic. It is strictly related to the photo import and has nothing to do with mpg4 time zone issues.

I am referring to the following initial report:
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/wrong-date-on-import-photos-from-iphone
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herrclich

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  • angry

Posted 11 months ago

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Jonathan Miller

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If you have an Apple, use Image Capture to move selected photos to a file on the hard drive. Then upload those. Then you are in control. It's two steps, but it is a phone. 
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Sunil Bhaskaran, Official Rep

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Hi,
Do you rename the files while importing?
Files moving to wrong folders is not an issue we are aware of.
Are you able to consistently reproduce it?

Thanks,
Sunil
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herrclich

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No I do not rename the files during import and yes it is reproducible. 
My guess is that the date is not the real capture date, but some kind of last modified. Maybe caused by some kind of changes by iOS The issues shows up on my both systems - Surface pro 4 and my workstation - both Windows 10. It is also present with two different iPhones SE- both the latest iOS 10.3.2. 

Maybe the face recognition on iOS causes such a behavior, but this is only a guess from my side. At least I remember to experience this behavior not before Windows 10 and not before iOS 10. An import before that constellations showed never this behavior. Now also older photos are affected even taken years before. I have a constant history starting in 2009 - with iPhone 3GS and LR2 or LR3 (can't remember).
When I import the photos with the Windows built-in tools the files are placed correctly 
in a date oriented structure (also by days).

 Today I have heard in the German DSLR-forum from a guy who has similar problems with his directly connected Canon. He has issues that even on a single import ( 2 slots CF+SD card) created at least duplicated files. It seems to be really an issue with direct device access and the usage of the access-protocol. Therefor I think John.R. Ellis is pointing in the right direction.

To be honest I do not care where the issue is located (OS, drivers, devices or Lightroom) the functionality is broken and workarounds with a pre-copy step shall not be necessary. If it would be an exotic device - ok- I could accept it, but an iPhone is more than common. On the other side LR6 is now more than two years old :-( and no signs of an update. The update and feature policy of Lightroom is just disappointing. I really got the impression that LR is abandoned from further development maybe because of some business plan decisions. An unloved step-child ...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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In your original post you wrote,

"Lightroom shows the date 26.04.2017 on hovering the mouse over the picture during import. Accessing the iPhone while Windows 10 file Explorer shows 29.03.2017 as 'Date created' and 26.04.2017 as 'Date modified'. After import into Lightroom the file resides in the subfolder 2017-04-26 and shows the Capture date of 2017-03-29. This happens only when the import is done directly from the iPhone. Copied from the phone and imported afterward from disk does not have this issue."

According to this, the problem only occurs when you've connected the phone to your computer using a USB cable. LR has long had other capture-date issues importing via a USB cable: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom_import_wrong_folder_names_organizin... . The symptoms of these other bugs is similar: The date used for choosing a folder and renaming a file is different from the capture date that appears in the Metadata panel once the photo is imported.

As I wrote in the other topic, when LR imports directly from a hard drive or card, it reads the contents of files directly via the file system. But when it imports via a cable, it is using the industry Picture Transport Protocol (or an extension), which transmits the capture date separately from the photo file.  It appears that some parts of the LR import process use that separately transmitted capture date (the parts that decide which folder to use and how to rename the file), while other parts of LR (the part that reads the metadata into the catalog) use the capture date extracted from the file's metadata.  

This may or may not be a bug in LR.  It could be a bug in the operating system libraries that implement PTP, it could be a limitation of the protocol itself, or it could be in the implementations of the protocol in camera firmware. It would require much deeper technical investigation.

Given this problem has been present for at least six years, in my opinion, I think it's very unlikely Adobe will ever address it.  These days, I'd guess the overwhelming majority of people either transfer photos using memory cards or, in the case of smart phones, over the Internet using Lightroom Mobile, Dropbox, iCloud, or any of the other myriad cloud-syncing apps.

The workaround likely is, as previously suggested, to avoid importing into LR directly via the cable.   Copy the photos to your hard drive using Windows File Explorer or via cloud syncing, and then import them into LR.
(Edited)
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Ramans

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I can consistently repro this bug, and I think I know what's happening. On import Lightroom is using the FILE MODIFIED time on the iOS file system for the photo, not the capture time. This is the bug and should be a simple fix.

I can totally validate this by looking at the file time on iPhone for each file when I mount the phone on my computer. Also I have my filenames include date time of capture and those are all correct, showing that the data is correct. In addition in lightroom I Can look at the folder it's put the image in by capture time and see that these are correct. However the photos are put on a folder based on a File Modified time, this is incredibly frustrating. I think the iPhone is moving things around depending on backups and restore, or other things that might happen with a photo, and in reality I always want this to be on capture.

Adobe please fix this pretty simple issue.


https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/iphone-imports-photos-to-wrong-folders-date
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"I mount the phone on my computer"

Can you please provide more details to help Adobe reproduce the problem:

- Are you connecting the phone with a USB cable? 

- Which version of Windows / Mac?

- Please do Help > System Info and report the exact version number of LR.

- If you copy the photos to your hard drive first and then import them into LR from there, does the problem still occur?
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Ramans

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Windows 10 PC, yes connecting with a USB cable such that the phone mounts DCIM, it's happened ever since I can remember and it's taken me this long to figure out it was only happening to iphone photos, and what exactly was going on.

I'm on the latest version of lightroom classic (not cloud), I'll get you the number when I get home, but I updated a week or so ago before I made this happen, and as I said it's been happening for years.

I'll have to try the last thing when I have a moment, but to do it I'd just grab a random iPhone from whoever has one and try an import. Don't take an import specific photos though as I'm not entirely certain what action on the phone changes the modified date I just know that it happens quite frequently, it could be sending the photos somewhere, or even looking at them. it' snot every photo, but enough that it's very very frustrating. 

I will try copying them first next time I have to do this, it would be hard to tell if it didn't do it then though, it's impossible to prove a negative, it might just be that none of those photos do it, however as I said I've never done a bigger import without it happening.
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Ramans

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It says "7.1 Release" in the About Lightroom dialog. 7.1.0.10 in the Details section on the Lightroom.exe dialog
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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LR has long gotten the folder dates wrong when you import via USB cable. Let's verify that this is the problem by importing the same photos after you've manually copied them to the hard drive.
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Ramans

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I'll try that next time I have iOS photos, that would be unfortunate as it add another step and a need to put the files somwhere temporary for import. I'll also note I've never seen this happen with a camera when I use a cable, but I'd guess that the camera doesn't change the dates.

 Again this seems like a pretty simple thing, the file names are correct so it has the correct data, it's just not using it for the folder, it uses the wrong field in the metadata for the folder, fixing that shouldn't be that hard.  Here's the properties dialog on an image that reproduce the bug, you can see the file name created is correct 2014-10 for the date the image was taken but the folder it's in is 2017 which is the modified date. The import ont his happened in January of this year.