EXIF, or metadata, is the imminent footprint that goes along with every picture we take with our devices, and it has the potential to expose not only your location, but also the type of device you’re using and even the unique identification number of your device or your camera, giving someone yet another chance to find out more private stuff about you.
This piece of advice may be useful for the truly paranoid, but John McAfee had his location revealed when a reporter published a picture of them without scrubbing the metadata, which subsequently resulted in McAfee’s arrest. Computers have plenty of special software solutions to remove metadata, but smartphone users have a more limited number of choices.
iPhone users may want to try out Photo Investigator: View and Remove Metadata Like GPS or EXIF. It is free on iTunes and allows viewing and removing automated data even though the removal option is available via in-app purchases while the free version only allows you to view the information.
Alternatively, you can check out Exif Editor and Viewer, a $1.99 application that supports viewing and editing of metadata in your images. With the help of this smart app, you can modify, remove or add individual and multiple EXIF tags. The application also supports copy of metadata between images.
Another nifty app is TrashExif; it is free, and it removes the metadata that is stored within the pictures. The application supports removal of metadata from multiple pictures, as well as removing the EXIF data from the latest photo instantly through the QuickRemove function. Immediately after removal, the application can display share options, if you configure it to do so. In addition, the application allows viewing metadata, so you can compare the images before and after you process them with TrashExif.
You also want to make sure that location services are toggled off when you take pictures.
Pixelgrade, free on iTunes, allows you to edit and share images and videos without metadata. This application enables you to view, remove and add or even change dates, titles, times of the day, authors and geotags that go with the pictures. This application allows advanced content management options for better privacy. It is free but ad-supported while it gives you the option to upgrade via in-app purchases for $1.99 to remove advertisements and a small “X” watermark at the bottom of your shared images.
Image Privacy app scrubs the metadata from your images so that you can upload them online and share them on social networks or attach them to messages without revealing too much private information about yourself.
The application is easy to use and resides in your “share” menu. When you need to share an image, the app will create a new copy of the image without any metadata inside. Once the metadata-free copy is created, you’ll see a new share option pop up, and you’re ready to launch your image online. The scrubbed image will have a prefix _stripped_ in its name and will be located where the original image is, so you can delete it when you no longer need it. The program supports processing multiple images simultaneously, but the developers warn against sharing images via Google Plus app – they hit a certain Google Plus app bug which won’t allow or sometimes impede sharing stripped images.
Alternatively, you can use Photo Editor app. It’s free, and it has an extensive array of features to process and manipulate with different effects with your images, adjusting colors, contrast, brightness and saturation. While it is a pretty awesome and reliable photo editor, it also has an option to view, edit and delete EXIF data from your images, as well as sharing options, integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and other social networks. In addition, this particular application supports 26 languages and offers online video tutorial. Both Android applications have a reliable 4.2 rating on Google Play store as of now.
There are many more apps both on Google Play store and iTunes, and all of them offer different functionality, and work to a different extent of success. If you are using a metadata scrubbing app that you like, please, share your suggestions in the comments below.