[Updated] Google Photos bug causing old pictures (prior to 1979) to go out of order
Update (February 15):
Google continues to investigate and will give an update on the matter by the end of next week.
We are still working to correct an issue that caused photos with edited timestamps, prior to 1979, to be reset to the file’s creation date
We will update this thread again by the end of next week with the current status
For the past couple of days, several of those using Google Photos have been chiming about a major new issue which has messed up the ordering of their old pictures. The problem at-least seems scary as you initially get an impression that the images in question have suddenly gone missing.
The issue affects images with edited timestamp metadata (specifically those with time and date set prior to 1979), and that’s the reason why majority of affected users are those who scanned physical photos, then edited their timestamps to make sure the digital copies appear in correct slots in their Google Photos timeline.
It’s worth mentioning the problem exists irrespective of whether you are on iOS, Android or desktop.
Soon after the problem came to light, it got a quick confirmation from some of the experts/top contributors (who are volunteers on the help forum and not Google staff), and was right away passed on to the concerned team.
Thankfully, Google confirmed the bug this morning, revealing it has resulted in edited timestamps to be reset to files’ creation date, severely affecting their order of appearance in Google Photos timeline.
Google employee Mary Witkowski (Product Support Manager, Google Photos) said they are working to resolve the problem.
We are working to correct an issue that caused photos with edited timestamps, prior to 1979, to be reset to the file’s creation date. This has resulted in those photos appearing out of place in your library, and not under the adjusted date
Furthermore, they asked users to refrain from manually making timestamp changes again.
In the meantime, we recommend holding off on re-editing the dates on the photos
Following is their complete statement:
For a quick grasp, here are some user-reports that show the gravity of the situation:
All of my Google Photos from prior to 1978 have suddenly disappeared from both my desktop and iPhone today!! Some of the missing pictures are still showing in albums that I created but all of the dates for these photos have been changed to random dates in 2017!!!
I have spent hundreds of hours meticulously dating thousands of family photo scans dating back to the late 1890’s. Now everything is gone!!!! It appears the most of the photos have reverted either to the EXIF date within the photo (which would be when I scanned it), or the date I uploaded it. All my manual dates are gone!!!! I am absolutely devastated here: All of my years of cataloging GONE! Some of my date information I got from people who are no longer alive, and now I have no way to get this information back!!!!! Google, I am begging your, please, please, PLEASE FIX THIS. I am a paying customer ($10.00 per month for the uncompressed image storage) and deserve better!
This just happened to me this morning. I’ve been meticulously changing the date of all my photos (and scans of photos) to match the date the photo was taken. This morning all of the ‘date & time’ data before Jan 1, 1981 have been reset, causing all my old photo scans to suddenly pop up into 2018
I also suffer from the same issue: old photos got a recent date, and are now out of order in both the timeline and some albums. Like many others I painfully changed the date of scanned old photos (before uploading), and now they are completely out of order in the album. To make things worse, you cannot sort by filename in an album (I rename them to preserve order after downloading, and hoping they will once fix this)
Scanned photos that were previously (for years) shown correctly (because I’d set exif DateTimeOriginal) now seem to be shown by ModifyDate? So the photos taken in the 1940s are now shown as if they were taken in 2017
Google says they’ll provide an update on the matter this Wednesday (tomorrow). We hope they’ll fix the bug sooner than later, and everything will be back to normal. Meanwhile, we are keeping a close watch on all related developments, and will update as and when anything news worthy comes up.
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