Control your Photo and GPS tagging data privacy

Social websites such as Facebook are becoming very popular but this popularity has led some privacy activists to wonder what will happen to all the valuable geo-data we are uploading in our photos. Others wonder why people want others to know where they have been. I personally believe that most of the issues are notably linked to how you control and manage your online profile data. Everyone has a choice, so wouldn’t it be useful to understand how to remove geo-location data and other personal data in your photos before your share them in the online world?

All of us know about text-based profile data so what about photos? The iPhone (as do most smartphones) for example will store your location and other data in a EXIF (Exchangable Image File) data file which is embedded in the photo. So, if you upload photos to social websites like Facebook you might want to know how you can remove the EXIF and GPS location tagging data.

I use three powerful programs – one is called EXIFTool (this isn’t for novices as it is a command line tool), another is called XNview and the other is called GeoSetter to manage and control the EXIF image data. Both EXIFTool and XnView work with Windows and MacOS operating systems.GeoSetter only works with Windows though. These programs work very much in the same way by allowing you to easily remove and reset GPS and EXIF and IPTC data from your photos before uploading/sharing.

Update Feb 5th 2012: I’ve actually started trialling Exif Pilot (from Color Pilot) and best of it’s free. It’s actually very powerful, however for fast batch editing of files you will need to purchase the software. 🙁

If you use Microsoft Windows you can also remove the EXIF / IPTC data. In Windows Explorer do the following:

  • Right click on the image(s)
  • Click Properties
  • Click the Details TAB – click the link “Remove Properties and Personal Information” and click OK
  • A pop up window will appear with a copy of the cleaned image(s)
  • You can now safely share the copied images with your friends.

All of us have a choice, so if you value your privacy and want to take back control, I suggest you think twice before uploading your images without cleaning them first.

Safe surfing folks!

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6 Responses to Control your Photo and GPS tagging data privacy

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Control your Photo and GPS tagging data privacy | Protect your Profile and Internet Status --

  2. Abdullin says:

    Windows’ “Remove Properties and Personal Information” actually DOES NOT remove metadata from a file. You can verify that by using any hex editor, after applying the feature. For reliable erasing of EXIF, there are specialized tools such as EXIF Tool and EXIF Cleaner — — I use the last one for my personal needs.

  3. Deaconous says:

    I recommend using Pixelgarde Photo Privacy Edit, as it’s much easier to use. It’s also free and works directly on an iPhone, Android or PC. You should try that one too next time.

  4. Hans Fremuth says:


    Windows “Remove Properties” is indeed a deep snake pit. We did some analysis on it and were amazed how little metadata this feature actually strips from the file. It’s basically limited to the tags that Windows (or its underlying WIC component) actually knows (which is not much).

    If you work on a Windows PC, you can use our free software called FileMind QuickFix. It removes GPS location data as well as any other personal information (Iptc, XMP, Exif) from photos (JPG), with a single mouse click. A detailed description, youtube video and download link can be found here:

    • Julian says:

      #Hans# There are products that ‘claim’ to remove the metadata and yes I have seen that removing TAGS/WIC is the limit of some of these apps. I will be interested in taking a closer look at your software to check out what you can/cannot remove.

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