Every time you take a photo with a digital camera or a smartphone, some additional metadata, known as EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, is embedded into each image. This metadata can be useful for many things, but it can also compromise your privacy if exposed to the Internet. You surely do not want the photos you upload traced back to your location by random strangers online. This tutorial shows how to remove EXIF metadata directly from your Android device, which is appropriate, given that many people already take most of their photos with a smartphone camera.
Good to know: check out our list of the best free photo-editing apps.
What Does EXIF Data Include?
EXIF data can include various information, such as the date and time when the photo was taken, GPS data, camera or smartphone model, whether flash was used, etc.
There are some apps, such as Imgur or WhatsApp, that will remove this metadata for you automatically when you upload or send an image, but many won't. Some may actually harvest the data to help improve their tracking and advertising strategies.
If you do not want your private details to be exposed online through your photos, it is better to get rid of the data before uploading to social media or sharing on a forum.
How to View EXIF Data on Android
If you're wondering how to view EXIF data on your Android device, follow the two methods described below.
The majority of Android phones come with a built-in Gallery app that allows you to view, edit and manage the photos on your phone. You can also use the app to view a photo's EXIF data by following the steps below:
- Use the native Gallery app on your phone to open the photo with EXIF data you want to view. (If you are using a third-party Gallery app, that can work as well.)
- Tap on the three dots in the upper-right corner.
- In the Gallery app in this example, we are selecting "Details."
- The EXIF data for your photo will be shown. It lists the manufacturer of the device used to take the photo (in this case a phone), the device model, the location, and the time when the photo was taken, as well as the photographic settings used when shooting the image (ISO, aperture, focal length etc.)
Tip: learn how to create a locked folder using the Google Photos app.
Google Photos App
Most phones also come with the Google Photos app by default. If you prefer, you can use this app to view EXIF data.
- Open the targeted image in the Google Photos app on your device.
- Tap on the three dots in the upper-right corner.
- The EXIF data for the image will show up along the bottom.
How to Remove EXIF Data on Android
If you want to make sure this sensitive information is removed before sharing the image with others over the Internet, follow the two methods listed below to strip the EXIF data from your photos.
Tip: learn how to watermark photos on Android.
On top of the native options, you can also use a third-party app to view EXIF data for photos. Photo Exif Editor is one such app. It also allows you to modify and delete the information embedded in your photos.
- Grant the app the necessary permissions for it to be able to access your files by pressing the "Request permission" button.
- Select a photo from your gallery via "Photos," or use the "File Browse" option to select a file from the filesystem.
- You will see a list of all the EXIF data available for the image.
- Tap on the crossed-out EXIF button in the upper-right corner.
- To remove all or a selection of the EXIF data, select the exact tags you want to remove. A select-all option is also available to quickly mark all the items at once.
- Tap the "Save" (floppy disk) icon.
- You'll be redirected to the app's main screen, where you will notice a small bar at the bottom noting, "EXIF data saved."
- Keep in mind that once you hit the "Save" button, your image will be overwritten, and the EXIF data lost forever. If you want to preserve this data, please make a backup of the photo before performing any operations.
- Confirm that all EXIF data has been deleted by viewing the photo and its associated EXIF data using one of the methods described above.
- Note that the app also gives you the option to delete EXIF data from multiple photos at once.
FYI: you may want to get up to speed on these photo editors that rely on AI to enhance your images.
Try a Web Tool
If you're not looking to download another app to your phone, perhaps due to storage concerns, you can use a web tool, such as Imagy.app, to remove the EXIF data instead. Access the website from your favorite mobile browser on your phone (In this case, we're using Chrome.)
- Open Imagy.app in your mobile browser.
- Tap the blue "Select files" button. You can add multiple files, including .JPG, .JPEG, .GIF, .PNG, .BMP, or .HEIC.
- Swipe down, select your output file type, then hit the "Remove Exif and download" button.
- The edited photo will be downloaded to your device.
- Check to ensure that the information has been erased.
Tip: learn how to do a reverse image search from an Android phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I add EXIF data to photos on Android?
If you'd like to achieve the reverse, and add EXIF data to photos instead of removing it, rely on a web tool, such as eXifer. Access the site, and upload your image(s). Tap on the "eXif.me" button underneath the uploaded photo. You'll be taken to a page where you can manually add in EXIF data for the image, including location, date, model of the camera used to shoot the image, camera settings, and more.
Do Android screenshots retain EXIF data?
Android screenshots do not feature extensive EXIF data, except information regarding the date and hour when the screenshot was taken. Wondering how to generate a scrolling screenshot on your Android device? We have that covered.
How can I remove EXIF data if I have an iPhone?
You can use the second method outlined in this article to remove the EXIF data on photos taken with your iPhone. Open Safari, or any other browser you might be using on your iOS device, and navigate to Imagy.app to start the process demonstrated above.
Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by Alexandra Arici.
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