How to remove metadata from photos? When you snap a picture, most digital devices record some metadata (called EXIF data) about it. The device’s information may include GPS coordinates, date/time, device model/manufacturer, and image capture settings. Snoopers have full access to the data, generating privacy difficulties for the owner and subjects.
Fortunately, removing metadata from photographs before publishing them is simple. Remove any potentially sensitive information from images stored on an unencrypted cloud platform or on the device itself. You may even be able to adjust your device’s settings to store only restricted metadata.
This tutorial explains image metadata and why you should remove it. We also show you how to extract metadata from photographs on various devices and how to change settings to prevent location data from being recorded in the first place.
What is EXIF metadata and what are the risks?
Most digital photographs have metadata. This data is stored in EXIF format (Exchangeable Image File Format). The data associated with an image will vary depending on the equipment used to collect it and any programs used to edit it. Among the data you can expect to see are:
- GPS coordinates are used to provide geographic information.
- The date and time when the photograph was taken
- The device’s model and manufacturer are listed below.
- Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO speed are just a few of the options available.
- The names and versions of the editing tools that were utilized
While much of this information is relatively harmless, some of it may threaten personal privacy. For example, suppose you frequently post photographs to social media. In that case, snoopers may be able to follow your location, date, and time information, allowing them to determine where you are most likely to be on a specific day or at a particular time.
Your whereabouts might be determined in real-time by stalkers, and government agents could track down your exact location. For example, officials tracked down and apprehended John McAfee (creator of the McAfee antivirus software) after an unscrubbed image of him was uploaded online.
How to remove metadata from Photos?
Throughout this section, we’ll show you how to delete metadata from images taken on the most major operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android devices. Please keep in mind that the steps may differ based on the device model and operating system version you are using.
How to remove image metadata on Windows without an app
Windows provides the ability to remove EXIF metadata from a single image file or a group of images. The steps are as follows:
- Navigate to the folder containing the photographs you wish to modify and double-click on them.
- Choose the file (or files) from which you want to remove the metadata.
- Right-click and select Properties, then Details from the drop-down menu.
- Remove Properties and Personal Information from the drop-down menu.
- Select Create a copy with all possible properties deleted from the drop-down menu.
- All you have to do now is click OK.
Please remember that this choice will make a clone of the image file that does not contain any metadata. The original file will stay on your computer in its entirety. Alternatively, you can pick Remove the following properties from this file in step 3 if you choose not to make a copy and merely scrub the file. After that, please select the items you wish to remove one by one or click Select All to remove all of them before pressing the OK button.
A notable difference between removing metadata from the original file and the other option is preserving the generated data. Still, the other option substitutes the created date with the current date. If you want to be sure that the date of creation is removed, it’s best to create a copy of the file and delete the original.
How to remove image metadata on Windows with an app
Some Windows users have reported that Windows does not entirely remove all metadata from their computers. If this is a concern for you, you can utilize third-party software to solve the problem for you.
FileMind QuickFix is a popular application for deleting metadata from Windows systems. The following are the actions to take to use this app:
- Downloading and installing the app from a trusted software download site is recommended.
- Drag and drop the files you desire to scrub into the FileMind QuickFix interface to begin the cleaning process.
- In the bottom-left corner, click the Quick Fix Metadata button to fix the metadata.
Once the software has finished cleaning up the data, you will notice that a new file has been created in the same folder as the original. By default, the software makes a copy of the original file and saves it somewhere else. This is useful if you want to retain access to the metadata, but if you’d prefer not to preserve the original, you may modify this in the app’s settings to your liking.
How to remove image metadata on Mac
When it comes to Mac users, things are a little more complicated. Even if you have the opportunity to inspect EXIF data, you can only erase one piece of information: location data. It needs to utilize a third-party tool such as ImageOptim to eliminate the remaining data.
To remove location data from an image, open it in Preview, pick Tools > Show Inspector, and click the information I tab. This will delete the location data from the image. If there is no GPS tab available, this means that your photograph does not have any position data associated with it. If there is a GPS tab, choose it and then click the Remove Location Info button to the right.
Do you want to get rid of more than simply the address? We’ll walk you through the process of using ImageOptim. Before getting started, it’s crucial to understand that once you drag photographs into the ImageOptim interface, all metadata will be permanently lost and cannot be recovered. As a result, if there’s any information you want to save, it’s worth spending a little time modifying your settings before you start or making a backup copy of your photographs in case you need the metadata later.
Here’s how to use ImageOptim to erase any residual metadata from your images.
- The ImageOptim app can be obtained from the tool’s official website.
- Navigate to Preferences and make any necessary adjustments to the app settings.
- Drag & drop your images into the ImageOptim window, and the program will take care of the rest.
How to remove image metadata on iOS
It is impossible to alter or remove photo metadata on an iOS device because the operating system does not provide this functionality. It is possible to delete EXIF information from photographs using the Shortcuts app (frequently pre-installed on iOS devices). Still, the process is a little time-consuming and complicated. Using third-party software to alter or remove photo information on iOS is a faster and more convenient option.
Several are available, with the top ones asking a nominal price for their services. For the instructions below, we’ll be utilizing the ViewExif app (which costs $0.99) by Skyjos, which is also responsible for several highly-rated file explorer and FTP manager apps, among other things. Exif Metadata is another option to consider. It’s a little more expensive (you’ll have to pay a one-time cost of $3.99 to unlock the full range of capabilities), but it provides more functionality and has a slightly more straightforward user interface than the first.
Using ViewExif, here’s how to delete photo metadata on an iOS device:
- The ViewExif application can be obtained from the App Store and installed.
- When you first use the app, you will be prompted to provide ViewExif access to your photos. You have the option of allowing it access to all of your images or just the ones you want.
- If you select the latter option, you will be taken to your images, where you may select the ones you desire to modify and save them.
- Once you’ve chosen your photos or albums, click on the Done button.
- Select the photo that you wish to alter from the drop-down menu.
- Remove Metadata may be found by selecting the eraser tool and pressing Remove Metadata.
- You’ll notice a window asking for permission to allow the app to make changes to the photo. By selecting Modify, the metadata will be erased from the file.
It is also possible to share photographs directly from the ViewExif app, with or without information, using the app’s sharing feature.
Please keep in mind that there is a delete option within this app. This method will entirely remove an image from your iCloud storage rather than merely from the app’s storage.
How to remove image metadata on Android
When it comes to Android devices, the only option to delete metadata from your photographs is to use an app, just like with iOS devices. For this reason, one of the most popular programs is Photo Metadata Remover – Clear Exif Metadata (which we’ll use in a moment), but another popular option is Photo Exif Editor – Metadata Editor (which we’ll use later). Both of these programs are completely free and allow you to remove metadata.
Shot Metadata Remover is one of our favorite apps since it allows you to take a metadata-free photo right from within the program, saving you the time and effort of having to edit afterward. It also provides you with the option of removing information from an entire album of images simultaneously.
Note that the scrubbed photographs will be placed in a new file by default, and the original images will stay on your device as a backup. You can modify this in the settings so that the originals are no longer saved on your computer.
The following are the procedures to take to delete photo metadata using Photo Metadata Remover – Clear Exif Metadata:
- Installing the app on your device is as simple as downloading it.
- When you first use the app, you’ll be presented with three options: Photos, Choose a Folder, and Take a Photo. Choose Photos from the drop-down menu if you want to delete metadata from a single photo already in your library.
- You’ll be prompted to grant the app access to your photos before continuing. Select Allow from the drop-down menu.
- The software will recognize the photo you want to scrub and remove the information for you automatically. It will also notify you when the process has been successfully completed.
- It is also possible to tap Share the Image to submit your photo using a separate app, or you can simply select Done to close the window.
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