Graphics editors have the ability to totally remove the EXIF file but you have the option to remove certain portions of the EXIF also. For example, let's say you want to keep your name in the EXIF file to prove ownership. There is a very simple way to do that in Windows 10. Go to File Explorer and locate the image that you want to edit. Right click on that image, then click on Properties.

That opens a popup window with 4 tabs across the top; General, Security, Details and Previous Version. Click on Details (circled in red).

File EXIF thumb


That opens the EXIF file for the image and by clicking on ‘Remove Properties and Personal Information’ at the bottom of the window, you can selectively remove elements of the EXIF but NOT all of it! To remove all of the EXIF info, you will need to use your graphics editing program. The point is, you do have options.

Selective Removal thumb


Have you ever been on a website where someone uploaded a photo only to have it display with the wrong orientation? Your camera stores the image orientation in the EXIF and your graphics editor reads that info to present the image correctly when viewed on your phone or computer. A problem uploading images can occur in a couple of ways; when a website cannot translate the EXIF info to determine if it is portrait or landscape or when the person uploading the image removes the EXIF file but fails to save the image with the correct orientation before uploading. Try it sometime. Take a photo with your camera or phone held sideways. View that image in your graphics editor and it will look just fine. Remove the EXIF file and the photo will then revert to being back on its side. Once you flip the image to the correct view, you need to save it to add the new orientation to the EXIF.

The EXIF information is actually interspersed throughout the image and not stored in a separate file. This can lead to another issue when the image containing EXIF is resized and the EXIF info gets damaged in the process. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can create some very odd results when trying to upload to a website. An example would be when a website refuses to upload the image because it is too large, even though it had been resized to fit the requirements of the site. This happens because the damaged EXIF info indicates the wrong size. Another example is where a website cannot recognize the upload as an image and then refuses to upload that unknown file type. If you experience anything like that, just remove the EXIF file from the image, save the image and then try to upload again. In my experience, this solves the issue.

In closing, I just want to say that EXIF is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but it does exist and I wanted to bring it to your attention. Certain aspects of it can be useful and certain portions, in my opinion, are concerns for privacy and safety.

A lot of information is available on the web about EXIF and its uses. I highly recommend doing some online reading on how best to use your EXIF files safely.

I am NOT an expert on this subject but would be happy to answer any of your questions.


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