The digital picture you take using your smartphones is not just made of pixels; it has metadata attached to the picture file. That metadata has a specific format, as defined by Exif.
Exif stands for Exchangeable Image File Format. Exif data consists of a lot of details about the equipment used and the camera settings at the time the picture was taken. It contains camera settings like shutter speed, focal length, and copyright information.
Other stats collected include shutter speed, max aperture, ISO, white balance, camera model and make, flash mode, metering mode, focal length, and other such details.
Apart from the many statistics recorded, the Exif data also includes the geolocation tagged data. Through this geolocation data, one can determine where the picture was taken, which is a key aspect of Exif, especially if you are a conscious privacy-focused individual.
To learn more about photo metadata, check out this guide from the fine folks at Pixpa.
How to View Exif Data
There are many ways to view the Exif data on a PC. One can view the Exif data directly from your operating system’s file manager:
For Windows computer, right-click on the image > Properties > Details tab.
On a Mac computer, open the picture > from the menu bar, select Tools, then Show Inspector > you should see all the metadata of the picture.
These extensions are easy and safe to use. After you installed them on your computer, right-click on any picture and it will bring up a pop-up window with the Exif data (if it’s available).
Why Is Exif Data Important?
There are quite a few uses of the Exif data. Since the data captured by Exif includes the camera settings at the time of the shot, it gives invaluable information to those who want to analyze past shots and improve on their photography skills.
For example, the data captured contains elements like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and other such details to compare and review various shots. One can continue to fine-tune their skills by analyzing these data points.
The other use of having Exif data is when you upload your photos to cloud-based photo storage applications such as Google Photos. These applications can then categorize your photos based on location data in the Exif data.
That way you can sort various pictures based on where they were taken. So the ability to sort out your grandma house photos is done thanks to the information analyzed from the Exif data.
How to Remove Exif Data
When you take pictures using your mobile devices, there are many ways to handle the Exif data. Either you can choose to switch off the geotagging feature for your photographs, or you can share pictures without the location tags.
Some apps are capable of doing the heavy lifting for you. These apps can update or remove the Exif tags in a more seamless manner.
Remove Exif Data From Photos on iPhone
On iOS 13, you can use the default photos app to toggle off the location tag before sharing the picture with others.
Use your Camera App to shoot your photo.
Locate the picture in your albums.
Open it, and tap the Share button.
Tap on Options and in the next pane, toggle off Location and All Photos Data.
When you send the photo, there will be no way for any viewer to decipher the location where it was shot and other metadata.
The other method is to use an app. For the purpose of this article, we’ll use the Exif app. Exif has a nifty editing function that allows you to manipulate the Exif data from the photo library.
Open the app and tap + sign to select photos (you’ll need the PRO version to select multiple photos at once).
Choose your photos from the Photo Albums.
You can either edit or remove the Exif altogether.
You can either right-click on the picture, and select ImageOptim at the bottom of the menu.
Or launch the app, then drag and drop the image files on the main interface.
It’ll immediately remove all metadata from the photos and also replace the original images with the new version.
It’s worth noting that when you remove metadata from photos you reduce their size too. As you can see on the image above, we’ve reduced the image size by a 46.5% just by removing the metadata.
Remove Exif Data From Photos on Windows
Windows users have the feature of a built-in option to review and remove the metadata for photos stored on the local hard drive. Select the image for which you want to remove the Exif data.
Find the image you want to remove the metadata, right-click on it, then click Properties.
Next, select the Details tab to see the details and info about the image. Click on Remove Properties and Personal Information Link.
On clicking the link, you see two options: One option allows the removal of all the metadata. The second option will enable you to pick and choose which metadata you want to delete.
Exif data carries a lot of information on the pictures you take. While the more popular social media companies do have the policy to strip off the geotag, it still makes sense to keep control of the content you put out in the world.
Also, the same companies would be using the uploaded geotag information to their benefit. It’s always a good idea to either clean up the Exif data or better not let your smartphone add any location tags at the least while you are taking new pictures.
If you learned how to remove Exif data from photos, then please share this guide with your friends.