Here’s how to remove metadata from photos (on any device)

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: September 19, 2022 Read time: 13 minutes Disclosure

Remember to remove photos metadata before uploading any images online. You must remove this personal information from photos and videos to save your online privacy.

Sneak peek at deleting photo metadata

Photos depict your digital identity everywhere. But they don’t only reveal what they show. Instead, they leak much more information about you via metadata, including your location, device details, and more. So if you’re concerned about personal privacy, make sure to clean up your photos before uploading them online. This article guides how to remove photos metadata and protect your privacy online.

Since you’re now reading this article, you must frequently be uploading different images online. At the same time, you must be conscious of your personal privacy, pressing you to remove metadata from your photos. Isn’t it?

Well, today, almost every internet user in the world has uploaded at least a couple of photos online. Even the most privacy-freak users have ended up uploading a picture or two of themselves for verification purposes.

Likewise, most of you would frequently upload videos as well, together with photos. Of course, that’s the only way to share your precious moments with everyone.

However, these photos and videos frequently leak a lot more information about you. While an average person may not need that info, spies, online trackers, and hackers do look for them.

These shady characters exploit your photos for their typical data exfiltration activities.

Likewise, advertisers and social media giants use the information for advertising and tracking purposes.

This piece of worthy personal information about you is the ‘metadata.’

And, if you’re genuinely concerned about your online privacy, you must remove metadata of photos and videos, technically known as the EXIF metadata.

But, before learning how to do it, let’s understand what metadata is and why you should be careful about it.

What is metadata in photos?

If you wish to know what simply metadata is, then it’s just the data for the data. It summarizes what a particular piece of information is all about by mentioning the key details.

Precisely, metadata answers the what, who, when, where, and why of anything.

In the case of photos, the metadata includes these details about the image files. That is, what an image file is, when it was taken, why it was taken, who took that picture, and where it was taken.

Also, this information gets added up with more details as an image file transmits and undergoes modifications.

Technically, whenever you take a picture from any digital device, be it your phone or a camera, this metadata also gets stored within the images. Thus, sharing that image with anyone or anything also transports the metadata with it.

What about the EXIF metadata?

The entire metadata gets stored as the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF). So, it’s the technical term for the metadata associated with digital images and videos – the EXIF metadata.

Specifically, the EXIF metadata includes the following details about an image or video file.

  • Exact time and date of taking a picture.
  • Details about the model, brand, and manufacturer of the device used to take that picture.
  • Location information where a photo was taken, often including precise GPS coordinates.
  • Camera settings while taking the picture, such as the ISO speed, shutter speed, and aperture.
  • Details about any tools used to edit the image, often including the exact software name and version.

For example, suppose you took a picture of sunset in Venice from your Samsung Galaxy smartphone during a trip to Italy. While your photograph would only show the sunset view, the EXIF data of the picture would reveal that you took the picture at 8.37 pm on May 17, 2021, at the Rialto Bridge with a Samsung Galaxy S10 in your hand. If you have edited that photo, that information would also be in the metadata with the actual camera settings.