The EXIF data are an important way of identifying a camera model and conditions under which a photo was taken, but they include a variety of information that many do not like to see shared around, such as where, when and how the image was clicked.
So, some people prefer to remove EXIF data from photos before sharing them on the internet, and doing so is quite easy.
In this article, you’ll learn a little bit about what EXIF data is, and how to remove them from photos and prevent people from knowing more than they should about you.
What is EXIF data?
The Exchangeable Image File Format (shortening, EXIF ) is a kind of identity registration of a photo: it is a specification included by the manufacturers in cameras, smartphones, tablets or any other device capable of shooting in order to know the conditions and data location of each photo clicked.
Thus, each photo stores detailed data about when, where and how it was clicked. They bring data such as camera brand and model, photo size and camera settings, such as: shutter speed, exposure time, aperture size, focal length, ISO speed, camera orientation (rotation), and use of Flash. You can also view GPS coordinates when available.
This information is specifically included in photos taken with smartphones, tablets and other devices with geolocation, but some professional cameras also have such capability.
The metrics provided by EXIF are considered to be of utmost importance, since they are from guarantees for a photographer to have the copyright respected about their creations, as they assist the police in criminal investigations. Still, there are those who do not like to share a photo on a social network with such data, especially with regard to location.
So there are ways to hide or even completely erase EXIF data from photos.
Removing or hiding EXIF data from photos
If you do not want other people to see the finer details of your images, you can remove them using some simple methods. The user can erase information both from the desktop and from their mobile devices, or even use cloud services and social networks.
Let’s take a look:
1. With the Windows File Properties menu
The simplest method of removing EXIF data from a photo is by using the Windows File Properties menu, since no program is required. The process is quite simple and the adjustment options are very intuitive, whether you want to delete only one or more critical data, or if you want to delete everything.
- Right-click the image, and then click Properties;
- Click Remove Properties and Personal Information;
- Select the Remove the following properties from this file option;
- Check the boxes for the information you want to remove, or if you do not want to leave anything, click the Select All button;
- Click OK.
2. With applications
You can remove the data completely with some applications, both desktop and mobile. One of the simplest and to use is GIMP, which is free and is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux.
The method for removing EXIF data with GIMP is simple:
- Open a photo file in the GIMP;
- Click File, and then click Export As;
- Choose a file name and extension, and click Export;
- In the next window, click Advanced Settings (if you are going to save the file in .JPG format ) or Advanced (if you chose .PNG format);
- Uncheck the Save EXIF Data box and click Export.
You can also remove EXIF data from photos stored on your smartphone or tablet without them having to be removed to a computer.
In Android, Photo Metadata Remover is a very efficient tool to erase image information, besides being totally free.
For iOS users, Metadata Remover is a very interesting option, as well as being free, the app has a simple interface, and does not overwrite the original photos, but saves copies without the EXIF data.
3. With cloud services and social networks
If you do not wish to have a lot of work, some cloud and social networking services do not offer options for storing EXIF data at upload time. Therefore, they end up removing all this information when they host images in their services. This can be a good way to eliminate captive data effortlessly.
These are cloud services and social networks that remove EXIF data from hosted photos:
- Craigslist, among others.
On the other hand, these do not exclude the EXIF data:
- Google Photos;
- Tumblr, and others.
Some of these services, such as Flickr for example, have settings that allow the user to manually hide EXIF data. Others, like WhatsApp, host compressed versions of the original photos, but keep the information intact.
The word that the user should pay attention to is “hide“: if a service does not remove the EXIF data, it must at least offer an option (manual or automatic) so that this information is not accessible to others, even if they themselves come to use them, internally, in their own services and solutions.
Anyway, if the user does not want others to see their EXIF data, he can always remove them from the photos before posting them anywhere.