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(iPhoto 5) Exif Cleaner for Mac OS X

by Matt Sephton


Digital cameras attach information to each photo you take. This information - called Exif data - contains the time-stamp, aperture and shutter time amongst other things.

However some brands of cameras also attach a lot of additional, superfluous data. This is inconvenient for a number of reasons, but most of all the fact that iPhoto 5 caches all this data in it's Library file resulting in slower operation after each new import of photos. Affected camera brands include: Casio, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Nikon and Pentax - amongst others.


This application will seamlessly clean your photos of superfluous Exif data prior to importing into iPhoto. It does not delete all Exif data, just the extraneous MakerNote section and any blank sections. All remaining, standard, Exif data is left intact.


This application deletes data it believes is redundant. Please work on a backup copy of your images if you are worried about data loss. Also note that this software may not work with your images. Use at your own risk.


zip file (109kb) 30 December 2005 (1.0)

How to install

  1. Unzip archive
  2. Copy Exif Cleaner to the same directory that your photo /DCIM/ folder is in
  3. Open Image Capture -> Preferences
  4. Change "When a camera is connected, open" to point to Exif Cleaner


How to use

There are two versions of Exif Cleaner in the archive - the standard version displays a simple progress bar whilst it changes your image files, and the read only version displays detailed textual information of the process but does not change any files.

I store the progress bar version of Exif Cleaner directly on my memory card, meaning the cleaning is transparent to me whenever I plug my camera into my Mac. So, I can forget about the problem and just let Exif Cleaner do its work.


Feel free to email me if you still have unanswered questions about the application.

Version history

30 December: Initial, public release (1.0)

For iPhoto 5 users

Use iPhoto Extractor to clean your existing iPhoto collection, but be aware you will need to recreate your albums. Alternative solutions are described on Eric Lindsay's page, below. I extracted my photos, cleaned them and then reimported them into a new iPhoto Library. I used Smart Albums by date to quickly recreate all of my albums - here is the AppleScript I have written to create a Smart Album from a selection of photos.

Further reading

Eric Lindsay on the iPhoto Library file and exporting your collection
Anders Hultman on the MakerNote and Exif cleaning


06 Jan: Added AppleScript to create a Smart Album from selection of photos.
30 Dec: For the latest news please subscribe to the RSS feed.


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Thanks to Sveinbjorn Thordarson for Platypus. This software is based in part on the Exif Cleaner perl script by Anders Hultman.