1 second everyday: how to manually add videos to a past date (or: how to change a file’s modified date in android)

1 second everyday: how to manually add videos to a past date (or: how to change a file's modified date in android) have you heard about 1 second everyday? it’s an app for android and ios which lets you create a neato long-term compilation of short videoclips recorded daily – as the name suggests, you can use 1 second per day.
before the android version was released, a few days ago, i had used memoir, which works with the same principle but doesn’t sync video and audio very well.

moving from one app to another is not easy: making the videos of one app available to the other modifies the “date modified” timestamp, which is used by both apps to assign videos to dates. neither app allows changing a video’s date internally (yet?), and there’s no native feature in android to change a file’s timestamp. basically, once you run into a problem that requires file handling (and/or want to migrate videos from one app to the other), you’re stuck.

that’s a rather unsatisfactory realization, so i decided to look for a workaround:

  • the standard unix command “touch -t <timestamp> <file>” (or “touch -d …”), entered in a console app with root rights (e.g. ConnectBot) didn’t work, irrespective of the timestamp format used, since the modification of timestamps is not allowed on the sdcard. you can “touch” them in console to change it to the current datetime, but not back-date.
  • copying files with correct timestamps from your computer via usb, dropbox etc. won’t work, because the phone updates the files’ timestamps. also, restoring files from a backup archive – or any copy-paste-action in general – will change the original “date modified” value to “now”.
  • manually updating the sqlite database within the app’s data directory
    (/data/data/co.touchlab.android.onesecondeveryday/databases/onesecondeveryday.sqlite or /data/data/com.krystal.memoir/databases/memoir.db, respectively)
    should work, but i couldn’t find any easy-to-access “amateur-proof” information on how to create the corresponding “-journal” file (onesecondeveryday.sqlite-journal or memoir.db-journal) that is required.
    if you know how to easily do this, please add your comment below!
  • another idea – which i ended up not testing – was the creation of a zip-file with your files and folder structure (original timestamp included) on your pc, and flashing it as an update.zip in recovery mode.

to sum it all up: no luck.

since i only wanted to import about 30 files after all, i eventually decided to follow the strategy “more manual work, but easier and faster”, and use android’s strict timestamp handling to my advantage. it even works without root rights!

  • 1. in the android “settings” > “date & time”, deactivate “automatic date & time”
  • 2. manually set the system/phone date to your file’s desired “date modified” timestamp. the exact time isn’t relevant for our purpose.
  • 3. copy and paste the original video files to a new directory on your sd-card. the fastest way is to use your computer and usb-cable for the file actions, while your smartphone stays on the settings page.
  • 4. repeat steps 2 and 3 with your next file and desired timestamp.
  • 5. when you’re finished, don’t forget to change your date back to today, and reactivate the “automatic date & time” option if it was previously checked.
how to change a file's modified date in android how to change a file's modified date in android

both apps, 1 second everyday and memoir, effortlessly imported the files and organized them to the correct, artificially set dates. it’s not a very clean and sleek method, but it does work.

do you know about a better/easier way to do the job? please leave a comment and share it with us!

36 thoughts on “1 second everyday: how to manually add videos to a past date (or: how to change a file’s modified date in android)

  1. Thank you! This worked for me.
    I was a little worried because once I change the date back to today, the main screen was missing today and the normal blank future dates, but this was resolved by switching in and out of different screens a few times.

  2. Thanks for the detailed instructions…I appreciate it!

    Question (in case you or anyone else knows): I need to reformat my phone to it’s factory state, but don’t want to lose my 1SE video history. I am working on a year compilation but don’t want to lose my place…

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

  3. hey daniel,
    the answer to that question depends largely on your version and status of android: if you’ve got root access, simply use titanium backup or similar apps to back up (and later, restore) your user data. this is surely the most fail-safe solution. if your phone isn’t rooted, there’s an option within 1SE called “sync to google drive”, but i haven’t tested whether this feature works as advertised. also, if i remember correctly, android versions 4.0 and higher automatically back up your app data to google’s servers, so your seconds *may* be restored when you first sign in to your user account from the factory reset phone.
    please let us know if/what version worked or didn’t work for you!

  4. Thanks for the helpful reply, Markus. I’m using Android 4.1.2 and not rooted (yet). I have the “sync with Google Drive” option enabled and it looks like it’s syncing now and then, but I can’t find anything in my Google Drive account. :) I might have to root and backup with Titanium Backup…

  5. i’ve noticed the same thing with google drive. it’s definitely syncing, but i’m assuming it’s a hidden backup in drive. the developer might be able to clarify here.
    before rooting your device, please make sure that it doesn’t require a data wipe! this is the case with many smartphones.

  6. I tried everything i could think of to move photos to my phone and preserve the timestamp. Everything failed. except this. i wish i had just done this in the first place. it would have saved me 3 hours.

  7. This post was all I could find to fix this problem but unfortunately for me, I have an iPhone. I thought I would share my solution in case anyone is looking for an iPhone fix.

    If you change the Date and Time manually in settings and export your video using an app called Pixelgarde, it should successfully show up in your timeline. Kind of cumbersome but it works. The Pixelgarde support helped me out.

  8. To follow up on my earlier comment, the app does successfully back to up Google Drive and after a factory wipe or getting a new phone, just logging in to Google in the settings populated all my video history. :)

  9. I have about 150 videos that I moved from my old phone after the screen shattered. Is there any way to automate the process? My only hope is there is a format where 1se will use the matadata for the video date rather than the file creation time, since android won’t let me set that.

  10. hi peter,
    well, that’s probably not helpful anymore in your case, but the “back up to google drive” option does work wonderfully. when i recently upgraded to a new phone, it just pulled all previous seconds (more than 400) in from the cloud.

    unfortunately, 1secondeveryday still doesn’t support metadata.
    however, given that you can use the android debug bridge (adb) to both (1) set the phone date/time and (2) copy files to your device, it shouldn’t be too hard to write a script that will read the metadata from your files and then upload them individually after setting the device date and time accordingly. assuming you have a bit of a command line background.

  11. Hey, I have one question, I accidentally deleted one of my seconds on 1se by adding text I thought that means something else anyways, can I just add that second or by this method I have to add the seconds since that second that I deleted, thanks for the tuto :)

  12. hi william,
    i’m not sure i completely understand your questions, but you can use this method to add just one, several, or all of your videos back to the original recording date (or a different one if you prefer).

  13. Hello, I’m sorry but I don’t understand how to add a video to a past day, I’m not moving from another app, I just want to add a video to a finished date, do I need a console app for android and write some kind of code?
    Sorry for the mistakes, I’m not a native english speaker.

  14. just follow the steps from “since i only wanted to import…”: change phone date to desired date, copy and paste your video with a file manager app or in windows explorer, and change the phone date back when you’re done.

  15. Thank you! Worked great for me too. Note – I also had to change the date on the computer from which I was copying.

  16. Hello,

    I was wondering if you could help me.

    I have been recording the seconds since new year, but have not ‘snipped’ them into the app – it all comes up orange. (I enjoy doing it all in one go!)

    However my phone (Android) is now badly corrupted so I can’t really do anything on it without doing a factory reset… I have just ordered a new (Android) phone.

    Obviously the backing up app data won’t be relevant here because the seconds aren’t snipped. I have all my videos in Dropbox, but presumably if I pull them all onto the new phone the date stamp will reset?

    Please help!


  17. susan, thanks for letting us know. are you on a mac, by any chance?
    joseph: just follow the steps outlined in the article when copying back your video files.

  18. I found my way here looking for a way to restore my projects that are supposedly backed up on Google Drive. I can see that the 1Sec app is taking up about 600mb on my Drive but for some reason it doesn’t synch with my new Android phone even though I did exactly what Daniel Hopkins described above.

    It just says “synching with Google Drive” for about a minute, then the message disappear and the same thing happens every time I re-open the app.

    I’m posting here at the off chance that Daniel subscribed to replies and can tell me what I’m doing wrong.

  19. Hi Marcus,
    I’ve relied on the Google Drive Sync in the past when switching devices. It should be as easy as activating Sync in the app and waiting. However, it didn’t always work at the first attempt. Try to clear the app’s data or removing and reinstalling the app via Play Store, and activating Sync again. If you’ve got 600 MB worth of seconds, it may take a while until your videos reappear in the timeline.

  20. Hi Markus, I’m not sure on how to clear the app’s data but I tried uninstalling and re-installing the app but that did not seem to help. It still only says “synching with G Drive” for about a minute and then is vanishes. Checking the data usage for the app it’s only been using a little more than 4mb so it’s pretty clear that it is not synching. The only thing that I can think of that might be an issue is that I’m trying this on a Samsung Galaxy Trend that I got as a replacement phone while waiting for mine to be fixed. Considering this phone takes about 10 seconds to open up Gmail it may not be the optimal device to try and restore stuff on.

  21. Thank you so much! This is exactly the fix that I needed to transfer a video from a different phone for use in my 1SE stream. Thanks!

  22. What is this “time travel feature” you speak of? I am trying to add a video I rotated into my timeline for January. I don’t want to put it all in a new project under freestyle if I don’t have to.

  23. I didn’t find a way of changing the date stamp here for iphone. However the conversion comment gave me an idea. I now change the system date and then export the video unchanged from an app called “rotate and flip”. That gave me a new video with the right timestamp. Hope this helps someone.

  24. Thanks, Michael. That’s basically what the article says, except that it should be enough to copy&paste the file rather than re-exporting it.

  25. Ohhhh my gooooooood. This is such an easy trick. I was already quite desperately trying to find a way to change a video’s timestamp because I had forgotten to take a video on one day and that kinda ruined the experience for me. I tried *lots* of tricks, but I didn’t really want to use anything root-related, as it was often suggested… I can’t believe it works with such a simple trick! :D Thank you!!

  26. I have my videos backed up to Google photos from my iPhone 6, and they have been deleted from my phone. Is there a way to import the past videos from Google photos?

  27. Hi Markus-

    Just wanted to thank you for your blog post.
    I had to factory-reset my phone last month and erased months of videos I had planned to add to a 1SE collage (backed up elsewhere, thankfully). I used your trick to re-upload the videos and manually fix the timestamp, and everything works great.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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