PSA - Turn off geo location on publicly shared photos

Eric

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iPhone (and other devices) geo tag your photos with the location the photo was taken. While this site does not show that information in the EXIF data (technology used to read metadata embedded in photos), it can still be accessed if one downloads a photo.

How to know if your photo contains geo targeting
Go to this site and upload it http://exif.regex.info/exif.cgi this will tell you all the information embedded into the photo, including location data.

How to turn it off
iPhone:
Tap into Settings, then choose Privacy >> Location Services. Find Camera app from the app list and toggle the switch to OFF. Now when you take photos, the location data won’t be saved with them.

The enabling or disabling of location service for the Camera app doesn’t affect those existing geolocation tagged pictures. Also if you use any third-party apps to shoot photos on iPhone, you might also need to disable location service for them in order to turn off the location tagging from your photos.

Check out below steps to view and edit the EXIF data of your photos, remove location information from photos on iPhon

Android:
The camera app on almost all Android phones offers an option to stop saving GPS location tags with pictures and videos. All you need to do is open your camera, go to Settings, and turn off the option for “Save Location” or “Location tag.”

How do I keep it for personal use but strip it from the photo I want to share publicly?
Apple:
  1. Open Photos.
  2. Select one or more images and tap the Share button.
  3. At the top of the sheet that appears, Apple shows in quite tiny text the number of images selected and “Options >”. Tap that target.
  4. The Location field is enabled under the Include label. Tap it to disable sending coordinates embedded in the photo or photos. You can also enable All Photos Data to send not just metadata but the entire history of editing and modifications stored for the image, enabling another Photos user to see and modify previous changes.
  5. Tap Done and then tap your sharing method.
In iOS/iPadoS 13 and 14, Location under Include is enabled by default; in current beta versions of iOS/iPadOS 15, it’s turned off.

Android:
Important: You can only update or remove estimated locations. If the location of a photo or video was automatically added by your camera, you can't edit or remove the location.
On your Android phone or tablet, open Google Photos
Photos
.
  1. Open the photo or video.
  2. Tap More
    More
    and then
    Edit
    NkBU84MBwnzAdrdzk83NKn3Y6hHLjwNfa8rI
    .
    • Add or select a location from your recent locations.
    • To remove the estimated location, tap Remove location.
You can also edit the location of multiple photos:
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open Google Photos
    Photos
    .
  2. Select the photos whose location you want to edit.
  3. Tap More
    More
    and then
    Edit location.
    • Add or select the location.
    • To remove the location, tap Remove location.
Tip: When you select multiple photos or videos, you may be informed that Google Photos can't edit location information added by your camera. To proceed, deselect those photos or videos.
 

Pumbaa

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I typically use a shortcut I made on my iPhone/iPad to resize the image and remove location metadata before uploading it somewhere. Resized and stripped pictures are then saved in a separate folder to make it easy to share the correct one.

I also use an app (ViewExif) to view exif locally, quite nice. Free and does what I need it to do.

 

Chew Toy McCoy

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As much as Apple is obsessed with privacy I’m shocked this behavior exists.

And as much as Apple is obsessed with automatically processing things behind in the background for security and privacy, you should be able to have the tagging removed when posting or sharing a photo without it removing the tagging from the original file.
 

Eric

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Well, when we look through our photos and sort and search by location it makes sense from that standpoint. It’s just not something you expect to be exported with your photo, it’s been this way for a while but isn’t widely known.
 

Pumbaa

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Well, when we look through our photos and sort and search by location it makes sense from that standpoint. It’s just not something you expect to be exported with your photo, it’s been this way for a while but isn’t widely known.
I love having virtually all photos geotagged. Heck, I even have a dedicated GPS device logging coordinates with timestamps onto an SD card so that I can get my DSLR photos tagged with accurate locations retroactively.

Browsing photos using a map interface is awesome, and so is making smart albums etc based on location. Seeing the location on a map or satellite photo also often helps me remember the moment a picture was taken more vividly, bringing back memories and feelings.

As much as I love having my photos tagged this way, I hate sharing that information with strangers. Makes sharing media such a PITA, I have to think about it every time I am about to share a photo.

It would be nice to have a forum extension that automatically strips location from uploaded media.
 

Pumbaa

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As much as Apple is obsessed with privacy I’m shocked this behavior exists.

And as much as Apple is obsessed with automatically processing things behind in the background for security and privacy, you should be able to have the tagging removed when posting or sharing a photo without it removing the tagging from the original file.
I would love if it worked the way it does now on iOS, except for the default being to not send the location when uploading or sharing a photo. Make keeping the location an accessible optional extra step instead of having the option to remove it when sharing.
 

DT

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What's kind of silly is in Photos (on iOS), if you select items and open the share sheet, at the top under N Photos Selected, there's an options button where you can toggle "include location". All Apple needs to do is add that an an option when you invoke the photo selector API, seems like such a simple update and obvious need.
 

DT

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I love having virtually all photos geotagged.

Yes, I'd never shoot without that option on, we have ~40,000 pics, and I love having them geotagged. We were able to track down a couple of places in NYC from some old photos and the associated geotags :)
 

DT

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I'd also add, I have a number of workflows/automations for sharing photos that removed the EXIF data, resize, etc., so I never share that data, even if the site seems to "clean" the photo at upload.
 

MEJHarrison

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Here's an honest question. Why should I care? I typically don't share lots of photos online, but when I do, I don't care about the geo tags. Want to know where I took the photo? Just ask. I'll happily tell you. My location isn't a secret.

I feel there's more to the story than just that. So, what am I missing? Why should I be more careful with my location information?
 

Eric

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Here's an honest question. Why should I care? I typically don't share lots of photos online, but when I do, I don't care about the geo tags. Want to know where I took the photo? Just ask. I'll happily tell you. My location isn't a secret.

I feel there's more to the story than just that. So, what am I missing? Why should I be more careful with my location information?
It's a matter of choice, what I think is missing here is awareness for some is all so I wanted to point it out.

It would be nice to have a forum extension that automatically strips location from uploaded media.
It is stripped when viewing on this site. However, if one wants to download the image it can still be extracted that way.
 

Clix Pix

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I've always had mine turned off in my iPhones. Most of the time I don't shoot with the iPhone anyway and share the image, but on the rare occasions I have done so I don't need to worry about my location suddenly showing up on a forum. It's not an issue with my Sony cameras. I'm not interested in geotagging any of my images.
 

MEJHarrison

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It's a matter of choice, what I think is missing here is awareness for some is all so I wanted to point it out.

It wasn't a choice so much as ignorance on my part. Someone reached out with additional information. It does sound like a smart idea. Not that I was ever questioning that part. I just didn't know what I didn't know, and wanted to find out what I was missing. Now I know. (y)
 

Yoused

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Some years ago, I used Photos to crop and adjust an image, then uploaded to some site only to discover that Photos uploaded the unmodified version. Since then, I have been using iOS photo editing apps to crop and adjust, which puts a copy into Photos and also causes any geotag to be stripped. I still have the original, which I prefer for archiving. Rarely do I take a picture that is so perfect that I want to upload it as-is.
 

Eric

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The lazy solution is posting screenshots of your photos...
For a board like this that's all one really needs to do. I post a lot of my photos on Reddit and the ones that do really well get ripped and some then re-post as their own, that and people regularly ask for digital copies to print themselves and I never really know if they're legit or not.

So what I've ended up doing is posting a much smaller version that may make an okay 8x10 but that's about it and I can always prove original ownership that way. If someone wants a digital copy I will only give it to them with a signature on it, in a spot that's not easy to crop or clone, or I refer them to my site where they can legitimately purchase a full size or print.

NFT is the latest thing though and I've just started adopting it, no matter what that will embed ownership through a blockchain and for photographers it's an excellent way to secure your work.
 
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