Christian Heilmann

⚡️Removing private metadata (geolocation, time, date) from photos the simple way: removephotodata.com

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 11:28 am

When you take photos with your smartphone or camera it adds much more to the image than meets the eye. This EXIF data contains all kind of interesting information: type of device, flash on or off, time, date and most worrying – geographical location. Services like Flickr or Google Plus use this data to show your photos on a map, which is nice, but you may find yourself in situations where you share images without wanting to tell the recipient in detail where and when they were taken.

For example the photo of me here:

christian heilmann, not sure about the shirt

Doesn’t only tell you that I am not sure about this shirt, but also the following information:

  • GPSInfoIFDPointer: 462
  • Model: Nexus 5
  • ExifIFDPointer: 134
  • YCbCrPositioning: 1
  • YResolution: 72
  • ResolutionUnit: 2
  • XResolution: 72
  • Make: LGE
  • ApertureValue: 3.07
  • InteroperabilityIFDPointer: 432
  • DateTimeDigitized: 2014:10:19 16:06:20
  • ShutterSpeedValue: 5.321
  • ColorSpace: 1
  • DateTimeOriginal: 2014:10:19 16:06:20
  • FlashpixVersion: 0100
  • ExposureBias: 0
  • PixelYDimension: 960
  • ExifVersion: 0220
  • PixelXDimension: 1280
  • FocalLength: 1.23
  • Flash: Flash did not fire
  • ExposureTime: 0.025
  • ISOSpeedRatings: 102
  • ComponentsConfiguration: YCbCr
  • FNumber: 2.9
  • GPSImgDirection: 105
  • GPSImgDirectionRef: M
  • GPSLatitudeRef: N
  • GPSLatitude: 59,19,6.7941
  • GPSLongitudeRef: E
  • GPSLongitude: 18,3,35.5311
  • GPSAltitudeRef: 0
  • GPSAltitude: 0
  • GPSTimeStamp: 14,6,10
  • GPSProcessingMethod: ASCIIFUSED
  • GPSDateStamp: 2014:10:19

I explained that this might be an issue in the case of nude photos people put online in my TEDx talk on making social media social again and showed that there is a command line tools called EXIFtool that allows for stripping out this extra data. This article describes other tools that do the same. EXIFtool is the 800 pound gorilla of this task as it allows you to edit EXIF data.

As a lot of people asked me for a tool to do this, I wanted to make it easier for you without having to resort to an installable tool. Enter removephotodata.com

Remove photo data in action

This is a simple web page that allows you to pick an image from your hard drive, see the data and save an image with all the data stripped by clicking a button. You can see it in action in this screencast

Under the hood, all I do is use Jacob Seidelin’s EXIF.js and copy the photo onto a CANVAS element to read out the raw pixel data without any of the extra information. The source code is on GitHub.

The tool does not store any image data and all the calculations and information gathering happens on your computer. Nothing gets into the cloud or onto my server.

So go and drag and drop your images there before uploading them. Be safe® out there.

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