[ACCEPTED]-Get file creation time with Python on Mac-macos

Accepted answer
Score: 21

Use the st_birthtime property on the result of a call 4 to os.stat() (or fstat/lstat).

def get_creation_time(path):
    return os.stat(path).st_birthtime

You can convert the integer result 3 to a datetime object using datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp().

For some reason I don't think this worked on Mac OS X when this answer was first written, but I could be mistaken, and it does work now, even with older versions of Python. The old answer is below for posterity.

Using ctypes to access 2 the system call stat64 (works with Python 2.5+):

from ctypes import *

class struct_timespec(Structure):
    _fields_ = [('tv_sec', c_long), ('tv_nsec', c_long)]

class struct_stat64(Structure):
    _fields_ = [
        ('st_dev', c_int32),
        ('st_mode', c_uint16),
        ('st_nlink', c_uint16),
        ('st_ino', c_uint64),
        ('st_uid', c_uint32),
        ('st_gid', c_uint32), 
        ('st_rdev', c_int32),
        ('st_atimespec', struct_timespec),
        ('st_mtimespec', struct_timespec),
        ('st_ctimespec', struct_timespec),
        ('st_birthtimespec', struct_timespec),
        ('dont_care', c_uint64 * 8)

libc = CDLL('libc.dylib') # or /usr/lib/libc.dylib
stat64 = libc.stat64
stat64.argtypes = [c_char_p, POINTER(struct_stat64)]

def get_creation_time(path):
    buf = struct_stat64()
    rv = stat64(path, pointer(buf))
    if rv != 0:
        raise OSError("Couldn't stat file %r" % path)
    return buf.st_birthtimespec.tv_sec

Using 1 subprocess to call the stat utility:

import subprocess

def get_creation_time(path):
    p = subprocess.Popen(['stat', '-f%B', path],
        stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.PIPE)
    if p.wait():
        raise OSError(p.stderr.read().rstrip())
        return int(p.stdout.read())
Score: 2

ctime differs on the platform: On some systems (like Unix) is the time of the last metadata change, and, on others (like Windows), is the creation time. That's 15 because Unices usually don't preserve the 14 "original" creation time.

That 13 said you can access all information that 12 the OS provides with the stat module.

The stat 11 module defines constants and functions for 10 interpreting the results of os.stat(), os.fstat() and 9 os.lstat() (if they exist). For complete 8 details about the stat, fstat and lstat 7 calls, consult the documentation for your 6 system.

The “ctime” as reported 5 by the operating system. On some systems 4 (like Unix) is the time of the last metadata 3 change, and, on others (like Windows), is 2 the creation time (see platform documentation 1 for details).

Score: 2

By lack of a good utility, I've created 5 crtime.

pip install crtime

Then you can use it like:

sudo crtime ./

Would print:

1552938281  /home/pascal/crtime/.gitignore
1552938281  /home/pascal/crtime/README.md
1552938281  /home/pascal/crtime/crtime
1552938281  /home/pascal/crtime/deploy.py
1552938281  /home/pascal/crtime/setup.cfg
1552938281  /home/pascal/crtime/setup.py
1552938961  /home/pascal/crtime/crtime.egg-info
1552939447  /home/pascal/crtime/.git
1552939540  /home/pascal/crtime/build
1552939540  /home/pascal/crtime/dist

Note 4 that for large directories it will be easily 3 1000x faster than xstat that is sometimes mentioned, as 2 this creates a temporary file and then executes 1 stat calls for all files at once.

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