The photos you take with modern digital cameras, including those on your smartphone, often include personal information, such as your location, camera model, and even names. Known as EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, or “Metadata,” the information is embedded in every image and can compromise your privacy. So, to help you improve your online privacy, we’ll tell you how to remove metadata from photos and videos before posting them to social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more.
Remove metadata from photos before posting them online
EXIF data from photos and videos can not only help advertisers track you online, but they can also help stalkers and criminals get more information about you. If that scares you, fear not, because we’ll tell you exactly how to remove metadata from photos and videos before you post them online. We’ll also explain what metadata is and how it can be a danger to your online privacy if you’re not careful. So without further ado, let’s start cracking.
What is metadata and why should it be removed?
The word “metadata” literally refers to extracts of data that provide information about other data. Typically, it helps users find relevant information, organize electronic resources, and provide digital identification. In the case of digital media files, such as audio, video, and photographs, this is information attached to those files, such as location, device type, date taken, etc. . So it’s not hard to see why it would be prudent to remove image metadata before sharing it online.
So what exact information, or EXIF data, are you hoping to find in your photos and videos? For example, if you took a photo with a digital camera of any description at the Taj Mahal, all that information (date, location, device) will be part of the photo forever. Although this is intended to help users identify the file in the future, it could also reveal a lot of information about you to strangers. It could not only compromise your digital privacy, but also possibly get you in trouble with stalkers and criminals in real life.
Just as your Internet Service Providers (ISPs) typically collect network usage metadata from your Internet connection for traffic analysis purposes, governments and law enforcement agencies also often use metadata to mass surveillance of citizens. In a digital-driven economy, 100% digital privacy is probably a pipe dream, but you’d do well to take precautions to remove as much of your private information as possible from your photos, videos, and audio online. So today we tell you that you can remove EXIF data from images before sharing them online.
How to remove metadata from photos
You can remove metadata from photos on any of the major desktop and mobile platforms, including Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux. In this tutorial, we will show you how to do it on Windows 10 and Android.
Remove Image Metadata in Windows 10
There are many third-party programs that can remove image metadata in Windows 10, but Microsoft also offers a built-in method which is by far the easiest and most convenient. Here’s how:
- Right click on the target photo and select “Properties” from the pop-up window.
- In the next window, click on the “Details” tab at the top. You will see a list containing attributes such as name, date, size and more. You can change some values manually or click “Remove properties and personal information”.
- In the next window, you can either create a copy of the image without any metadata, or individually select the values to remove from the original image. To remove all metadata from the original image, click ‘Select All’ > ‘OK’.
- That’s it. You have successfully removed all selected values from the image. It’s as easy as removing metadata from an image in Windows 10.
Remove Image Metadata in Android
Unlike Windows, Android doesn’t offer any built-in option to clean your photos of EXIF data. However, many third-party apps can remove metadata from photos and videos on Android. For our demo, we will be using one of the best and oldest apps in the category called Photo EXIF Editor.
To note: Some Android manufacturers offer rudimentary options for removing image metadata with their built-in gallery apps. However, we use third-party software to make the instructions the same for all devices..
- Download Photo EXIF Editor (free). Launch the app and grant it permission to access media. Once on the home screen, select “Photos”.
- In the next screen, you will see all your recent photos. Tap the target photo to view, edit or delete EXIF data. To remove EXIF data, tap the Exif sign in the upper right corner.
- From the “Remove Exif” screen, you will be able to choose the exact tags you want to remove. There is also a “Select All” option  to delete all metadata at once. Press the “Save” button  at the top right to save your changes.
To note: Once you click the save button, the EXIF data will be removed from the image for good, so save the photo if you want the data for future reference.
Disable geolocation in Android
Although you cannot prevent all metadata from being attached to photos, you can disable the geotagging feature in Android. The best thing is that you can do it from Android settings without needing any third-party software. Here’s how to disable geolocation in Android:
- Go to Settings > Apps & notifications (it may say “Manage apps”, “App permissions” or something similar depending on your manufacturer). Now expand the “All Apps” view if you need to.
- Select Camera > Permissions.
- Finally, disable “Location”. This should prevent your camera app from collecting your geolocation when taking photos and videos.
Another way to ensure that none of the images you post on social media contains EXIF data is to share a screenshot of the image rather than the original image. This is because screenshots have no EXIF data, which will help you post images without any metadata.
Remove EXIF data from images to improve privacy
Removing image EXIF data is a simple way to protect your privacy online. Now that you know how to do it on desktop and mobile, be sure to clean your photos of EXIF metadata every time before posting them online. If you’re using an iPhone, you should also check out how you can improve security and privacy in iOS 14.
Also, remember to remove EXIF data before sharing your photos in chat apps like WhatsApp, as they could be used to track you. If you’re concerned about WhatsApp’s new policy changes and wondering how it will affect your online privacy, you might also consider switching to Telegram. Before you do that, check out our detailed comparison between WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.