The dangers of uploading photos online

Like many other people, I take photos with my Smartphone all the time. It’s great to have a camera around to capture a moment wherever you may be and unlike a normal camera, you can upload photos directly to social media or an online photo album to share with other people.  What people don’t often know or think about is the data stored in the photos themselves.

There’s an email going around with a news story about this very thing. I also saw a few friends post about this on Facebook today so I thought I would weigh in on this. Here’s the news story-

So yes, we should all be aware that the majority of modern digital cameras, whether they are on your Smartphone or not, create  what’s called “metadata”, or EXIF data. This contains information like the time and date an image is created, the make and model of the camera used, whether the flash fired, and lots of other things, including the GPS coordinates where the photo was taken if the camera has that feature (Smartphones do).

According to this handy chart, Facebook and Twitter no longer show any metadata for photos you upload and all metadata is stripped off t any photos you save to your computer. The same goes for photos uploaded to Instagram.


Other social media or photo sharing sites may keep some or all of the metadata, so if you’re looking for a way to remove it easily, here are some apps that claim to do the job for you.

If you are an Android user, there’s an app called Image Privacy that adds an option in the “Share” menu. Simply go to the photo, share to the app, and a copy of the photo with no metadata is created and saved for you with the prefix _stripped_.  There are other apps out there, both paid and free, that do the same thing, but this one seems to do it rather quickly and without having to configure anything.


IOS users have options too.  The free app that looks the easiest to use is called Trash Exif. It also works by saving a copy without the EXIF data that you can then upload without worrying, and it’s free.


It’s important to remember, even photos you took on your digital camera most likely have EXIF metadata on them, and you might want to clean them up before uploading them too. Easy Exif Delete is a free and easy to use program that will take care of all that metadata for you, while reducing the size of your files at the same time (all that data takes up space after all).


Hopefully these tools can make sharing and uploading your photos a worry free experience.



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