Each photo you take contains metadata such as the iPhone model, date and time, shooting modes, focal length, shutter speed, flash usage, and location information. Sharing these pictures with friends, family or acquaintances via text, e-mail, or other direct sharing method, and unintentionally sharing your location information. Even sharing through apps and social media sites can compromise your privacy.
This metadata is called EXIF data and contains a lot of identifying information, the most important being geo coordinates. Share a photo with this geocoded information for people you know, or even online for masses of strangers, and someone can use the data to find out where you live, work, or are common.
EXIF data is actually something that professional photographers always want to be included in pictures ̵
Method 1: Disable Location Services
By default, your iPhone uses a GPS system to determine the exact or approximate location of your device, and then embeds that information in all the photos you take. With geotags embedded in your images, you can easily find and organize photos on your iPhone or computer . You can also tag location details on social media sites if you want to let users know where you are.
However, these benefits can be problematic if your photos fall into the wrong hands. Let's say you meet somebody in a dating app and exchange some pictures with sms. While this may seem innocent, the photos you share could send you your location. If the photos were taken at your home, the recipient could use software to determine where you live. Below you can see how I saved a photo that was sent to me, and then saw the location of the shot.
If you do not want any of your iPhone photos tagged with your location data, you can do so Disable the Location Services setting for your camera app or for third-party camera apps like Huji-Cam, Halide Camera, Flickr, Camera + and Focos. Go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services. Then tap the camera app for which you want to change the settings, and tap Never to prevent your photos (and videos) from being tagged with your location when you take them.
Below is a photo with the GPS data enabled (left) and another photo with the feature disabled (right). Instead of the position displayed in the photo app at the top of the photo, the date and time of the shot is simply displayed.
Method 2: Take a Screenshot of a Photo
If You do not want to disable GPS access for your camera app, but still want to have the ability to remove location metadata from a photo. Just take a screenshot from case to case. This not only removes the location but also changes the date and time when you take the screenshot.
Below is a photo that I took in Berlin in October and is displayed in the photo app. At the top of the photo is the position, and when I swipe up in the photo, I can see the photo on a map to take a closer look at the place where it was taken.
When I scan the original image, the location, date, and time are deleted. When I swipe the image up in photos, the map no longer appears, only related photos are displayed. However, this process has some disadvantages:
- You must revert the image to its original aspect.
- You lose quality so resolution and dimensions are not the same
- Screenshots of live photos do not preserve the live photo features.
- The image may have a different file type. So if you want HEIC, it can become a JPG or PNG.