How to Remove EXIF Data From Your Images

What Is EXIF?

EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format, but it’s essentially meta-data added to your pictures or videos.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve just taken a picture from inside your home and sent it to a friend on the internet. Are you aware that the EXIF data housed in this picture (stored there by your hardware) likely contains the latitude and longitude of your home? It also contains the make and model of your camera and potentially other info.

Even if you trust the people to whom you’re sending pictures, why provide them this info? It’s a needless risk to your privacy.

More importantly though, if you’re a web dev and upload personal images to your website, you’ve potentially just delivered your address to the world.

How to Remove EXIF Data

In this brief tutorial, we’re going to install the Linux program “exiftool” to remove EXIF from our pictures. It’ll take just a few minutes to install.

To install Image::ExifTool:

a.) Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl

b.) macOS:

If not installed, first install the HomeBrew package manager:

$ /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL”

… and then install “exiftool”:

$ brew install exiftool

The following commands will now work from either OS:

To read EXIF data from an image:

$ exiftool /tmp/my_photo.jpg

To erase all EXIF data from an image:

$ exiftool -all= /tmp/my_photo.jpg

To erase all EXIF data from all images in a directory:

$ exiftool -all= *