In this tutorial, we will share five easy and free ways to see the EXIF metadata for photos on your Mac running any recent version of macOS.
What is image metadata?
Metadata provides key information about any file and lets you know the deeper details.
EXIF data is metadata for images. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re not going to make any notable distinction between the general file metadata and EXIF data.
Metadata is created by the device you took a photo with (say, your iPhone). Image editors like Photoshop may augment the initial image metadata with new information, like version number or author, as you perform touch-ups.
On top of that, specialized apps allow you to edit EXIF image data manually.
The supported metadata records include image dimensions, title, resolution, camera model, location, shutter speed, ISO, date and time, copyright information, descriptions, thumbnails, etc.
Metadata is written, read, and supported on iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and other major platforms.
5 ways to view image metadata on Mac
1. Using Finder
There are two easy ways to see the photo metadata inside Finder on Mac running macOS Mojave or later.
First, select the image file in Finder and press Command + Shift + P. Doing so will show the image information on the right side. If you don’t want to use the keyboard shortcut, select the file, and click View > Show Preview from the top menu bar.
The second method involves using Gallery View in Finder:
- Open a Finder window and go to the desired folder with images.
- Switch to Gallery View by pressing Command + 4 or clicking the rightmost icon in a group of four icons at the top of the Finder window. If the Finder window is very small in size, enlarge it or click the bullet list icon with two up and down arrows.
- If you don’t see the right pane, click View > Show Preview from the top menu bar. Drag the divider to enlarge or shrink the Preview pane, which displays all of a file’s metadata.
- Select a photo, and its metadata appears in the Preview column on the right-hand side.
The Gallery view divides the Finder window into two major areas. There’s a strip of thumbnail icons running alongside the bottom, which makes it easy to see your images by scrubbing through the thumbnails, with the rest of the window taken up by a big preview of the selected file.
This makes it super simple to quickly check out EXIF details like the camera model, aperture and exposure without having to open the file in an image editor like Preview or Pixelmator.
Don’t see any metadata? Click the Show More link in the Preview pane to expose any EXIF metadata. Likewise, to display only the basic info about the selected file, like its name, creation date, size, and more, click Show Less.
2. Using the Photos app
With the Photos app open on Mac, just follow these few steps:
- Open the spot in the Photos app that contains the image, whether it’s in an album or your library.
- Select the image. You can either click the individual image on the main screen or double-click to open it in a larger view.
- Click the Get info button ⓘ for the selected image in the toolbar.
Alternatively, you can right-click the image or hit the Control key and click. Then, select Get Info from the context menu.
You will now see a small pop-up window containing the general metadata for your photo, which includes things like title, date, time, dimensions, size, file type, location, details for the device that captured the photo, along with shutter speed and ISO.
You’ll notice that you can also edit some of the fields you see. So, if you don’t have a title, description, keywords, or location, you can add one as well as tag a face, and mark the photo as a favorite.
3. Using the Get Info option
- Select a file on your desktop, downloads, or any Finder window.
- Press Command + I or right-click and choose Get Info.
- You will see the photo information under the More info heading. If you don’t see it, click its tiny arrow to expand the More info section.
4. Using third-party EXIF metadata apps
macOS App Store has several free and paid apps that let you view, edit, and remove EXIF metadata from images. Here are three free options that I found simple and useful:
- EXIF Metadata: If you have a Mac with Apple silicon (M1, M2, or its successor), you can install this app to see the photo metadata. If you like, you can also easily remove the photo information for improved privacy.
- ExifTool Reader: This is a very simple app, and all you need to do is drag the image over its window. The app will instantly show you all the metadata information.
- PhotoMD-lite: Simply add all the images to this app, and it will display their valuable metadata in an easy-to-see manner.
5. Using online EXIF data viewer websites
Finally, if you like, you can use online websites to check metadata info for your images. All you need to do is drag or add the images, and the website will display the relevant photo details. However, one important thing to note is that these sites will upload your image to their server.
Here are three free sites to view the metadata for an image online:
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