Living in the digital era has made everything easy, be it clicking pictures or accessing information; anything we need is available at the click of a button. That said, living in the technological era comes with its drawbacks, and the astonishing volume of data we generate is taking away our privacy.
The pictures we click using our smartphones and digital cameras are prime examples of how electronic devices add personal information to the data we upload to the Internet.
The images we click using any electronic device use Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) to add metadata to the images we click, which is essentially additional data added by the electronic devices to help users and other computers understand the file’s contents.
Metadata includes information about the selected mode when clicking the photo, aperture data, the shutter speed, ISO and if the device supports GPS, the exact coordinates of where the image was taken. Although this information helps sort the images you click, it can also reveal the exact location.
“We collect the content, communications and other information you provide when you use our Products, including when you sign up for an account, create or share content, and message or communicate with others. This can include information in or about the content you provide (like metadata), such as the location of a photo or the date a file was created.”Source: Instagram data policy
This shows that even though the end-user can’t access the metadata attached to the images, these big data companies collect all the information they can get from the data you upload to their servers.
Therefore, it is essential to remove metadata before uploading them to social media sites. In addition to this, photo storage sites like Google Photos and Dropbox do not remove the EXIF data from your images when uploaded to their cloud servers.
So, if you’re looking to reduce the amount of data collected by big tech companies, you can strip the EXIF data from the images you upload to social media.
In this, article we will be going over how you can remove EXIF data from photos on Android and Windows.
Also read: 7 ways to find the location from a photo
How to remove metadata from photos on Android?
By default, you cannot remove the metadata linked to the images on an Android device. To do so, you need a third-party application like the Photo EXFIL Editor. Once you have downloaded the app, you can follow the steps given below to remove EXIF data.
- Open the Photo EXIF Editor on your device
- Click on Photos
- Select the image you want to remove EXIF data from
- Click on the EXIF icon on the top right corner
- Select the tags which you want to remove
- Click on the save icon to save the file on your system.
Although using a third-party app to remove EXIF data can decrease the amount of personal information you upload on social media, you can change your camera app’s permissions to disable it from accessing your device’s location. As the camera app won’t have access to the device’s location, it won’t be reflected in the EXIF data of the photos you click. To do the same, follow the steps given below
The steps shown below are for a Samsung device, and other devices might have a different way of changing the app permissions.
- Open your device Settings.
- Scroll down to Apps in the Settings menu
- Click on the Camera app you use
- Click on Permissions to see the permissions the app has
- Click on Location to change the location access the app has
- Click on Deny
- Click on Deny anyway on the pop-up box that appears.
Also read: Top 10 Photo Editors
How to remove EXIF data on Windows?
Windows lets users remove the metadata an image has without using any third-party applications, and you can follow the steps given below to remove EXIF data by following the steps given below
Step 1: Right-click on the image from which you want to remove the EXIF data and click on Properties in the dropdown menu
Step 2: Click on Details in the dialog box that shows up and click on Remove Properties and Personal Information.
Step 3: Select the radio button next to Remove the following properties from this file and click on Select all and OK
Although metadata like EXIF information might not look like a lot of personal information, big data giants like Google and Facebook can gain insights from the metadata we upload on their platforms. This data combined with the original information we upload to their servers can be fed into machine learning algorithms to create models of where we are, what we like and what makes us tick, which is a significant threat. Therefore, it is our responsibility to limit the data we upload on the Internet.
A tech enthusiast, driven by curiosity. A bibliophile who loves to travel. An Engineering graduate who loves to code and write about new technologies. Can’t sustain without coffee.
You can contact Nischay via email: [email protected]