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Bug in OS X with Last Open Date in Spotlight and Quarantine flags

I’ve just filed a bug with Apple that affects one of Trickster’s core features and also affects all users of OS X, thought they might not realize or care about it.

The problems is related to Last Open Date metadata not being updated for files that have quarantine attribute set in the file system (either because they were downloaded from the Internet or because they were saved from a Sandboxed application, which apparently can also set a different kind of quarantine bit.

I first mentioned it at Apple’s developers forums at https://forums.developer.apple.com/message/66280 and have now submitted a proper bug report (rdar://23193803).

Here’s the contents of the bug report:

Summary:

Most files that are saved from sandboxed applications (or downloaded from the Internet) seem to have their quarantine flag set to some value. For some reason, for most of these files, Last Used Date (kMDItemLastUsedDate) metadata won’t be updated by Spotlight when this file is opened.

It appears that this problem started in OS X Lion (see Workarounds for quarantine bug in OS X Lion on CNET). I also noticed that the problem is not always showing itself. For example, if the first 4 digits are something like 0041 or 0042, the last used date will update. If it’s something else like 0001, it won’t.

I started a thread on it at Developer forums some time ago at https://forums.developer.apple.com/message/66280. No response so far.

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. In Finder, go to Downloads folder and add Date Last Opened column and sort by it in descending order
  2. In Safari, go to http://www.apparentsoft.com, right click on ImageFramer icon and “Save Image to Downloads”.
  3. It should appear on the top of the list in Finder as the file is created with the open date = date added.
  4. Open other files in Downloads to move them to the top of the list (though it might not work because of this bug). If no files move to the top, wait until the clock changes to a different minute.
  5. Double click the downloaded PNG from Finder. It should open in default application, like Preview.

Expected Results:

Last Open date of the PNG file is updated to the time in step 5.

Actual Results:

Last Open date doesn’t change.

Version:

10.11.0

Notes:

Removing the quarantine attribute from the file and then opening it will bring it to the top and update its Last Open date.

Removing of the attribute can be done in the Terminal with:

xattr -d  com.apple.quarantine <path/to/file>
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