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Time zone changes affect file names in Camera Uploads (iOS)

Time zone changes affect file names in Camera Uploads (iOS)

sbergenh
Explorer | Level 3

I’m currently working and living in different countries in different time zones (one-hour difference). During my work trips, I take hundreds of photos of archival documents and other research materials on my iPhone. I’ve set the photos to back up automatically through Camera Uploads according to date of creation, in order to maintain the original chronological order. If (and often when) Camera Uploads isn’t able to upload all new photos while I’m still in my country of work, I finish the process once I’m back home.

 

However, I recently discovered that Camera Uploads nowadays changes the timestamp in the file name to reflect the time zone of the _upload_ location, which in my case means adding an hour to the original/local time of creation. In addition, since Camera Uploads seemingly doesn’t follow any chronological or logical order in uploading files, the incorrect timestamp occurs at random intervals, thus affecting both older and newer photos in a batch of ~1,000. In other words, my photos are now in a completely scrambled order.

 

This is EXTREMELY problematic as I use photos to document the exact structure and nomenclature of the archives from which I’m gathering materials. So not only do I not know which photos form a whole (e.g., a document, the contents of a folder...), but worse still, I’m also not sure which archival entity they belong to, which means I cannot cite them appropriately.

 

Luckily, sorting according to ‘date taken’ in Windows File Explorer helps me locate the incorrect file names. However, these kinds of manual workarounds are always prone to mistakes, not to mention frustrating and time-consuming. It would help if I at least knew which photos were uploaded to Dropbox in the new time zone, but the only date type Dropbox seems to offer is ‘date modified’ (original timestamp + 1h, so correct chronological order).

 

So that this never ever happens again in the future: how can I set Camera Uploads to preserve the _ORIGINAL_ timestamp, regardless of the time zone during upload (or any other external factor, for that matter)? This hassle is infuriatingly unnecessary – I don’t remember this ever being a problem earlier. I’m reluctant to set my time zone to either country manually in my Dropbox settings, as that messes up the timestamp of some other things. But is it the only option?

6 Replies 6

Jay
Dropbox Staff

Hi @sbergenh, thanks for bringing this to our attention.

 

Currently, it isn't possible to change this setting in the camera uploads feature, as it always defaults to the current timezone when uploading images.

 

However, if there is enough metadata on the files, you might be able to use naming conventions to rename the files to show the correct date and time on them.

 

If you have any further queries, feel free to message back.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Brett G.3
Explorer | Level 4

Dropbox has no business renaming photos. Period. 

How can I set dropbox to not alter the photo file names created by my phone? My Android phone gives my photos easy to search chronological names. Dropbox destroys that.

Jay
Dropbox Staff

Hi @Brett G.3, if you're using the automatic camera uploads feature, then it isn't possible to disable the renaming of the files.

 

To keep your original file names, you'll need to upload the images manually to your account via the app.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Brett G.3
Explorer | Level 4

hi Jay, Why is that? why would any backup software rename files? Why would any software add periods to file names - that is a poor naming convention and is highly frowned upon.

Brett

Brett G.3
Explorer | Level 4

BTW, I'm on an Android phone not ios.

 

What is the best way to de-duplicate the files now? I have the original version and the renamed version. 

That happened because auto back up would not backup videos although I saw today that dropbox now has the ability to backup videos and I've turned that on. 

Will videos also be renamed? 

Jay
Dropbox Staff

The option to backup videos has been there since the feature was introduced. Videos likewise would also be renamed to show the data and time they were created.

 

While I personally don't know the reasoning behind why the files are renamed, I imagine that it makes it easy to locate a specific photo or video given the date and time, regardless of which device was used. Since each device names files differently, it would be hard to find the correct file if you have differing naming conventions across every device.

 

It wouldn't be possible to deduplicate the files, however, since you know that the files were renamed, you could sort in alphabetical order and delete the ones generated by Dropbox.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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