How to view, edit, and remove Exif metadata from photos

3 min read

Every time you take a photo, whether it's with a smartphone or digital camera, the photo itself is not the only thing that gets saved. 

Have you ever wondered how the Photos app on Mac or iOS arranges all your pictures by date or even geolocation? Or how an online photo platform like 500px can identify the camera you took a picture with? 

All this is possible due to the Exif metadata that gets stored together with your image. Let's explore what picture metadata is, how to view Exif data, and how to remove Exif data from photos easily at any time. 

What is Exif data?

Exif stands for exchangeable image file format. It contains a lot of supplementary metadata that gets attached to every image, such as date, time, camera type, camera settings, GPS coordinates, copyright information, and more. 

Every time you post a picture online, you might unknowingly be sharing much more information than you'd like to, including your location. Not only can this be a privacy issue, Exif metadata also makes the images heavier, which can be a problem if you're looking to optimize storage or loading time. 

So how can you manage Exif metadata on Mac? 

How to view Exif data on Mac

Depending on the app or camera you take pictures with, you might be able to view all the Exif data right in it. However, if you've transferred your images to Mac, you need to use other tools. 

For a quick but limited look at Exif metadata, you can just use the Get Info option when you right-click on the image file (or use the shortcut ⌘ + I). 

get info

If you want to see all the Exif data, you can do so by opening an image in Preview, selecting Tools ➙ Show Inspector (⌘ + I), and then picking the info tab and the Exif tab after that. 

see all the exif data

These options are fine when you only need to see Exif data for a single image from time to time. But if you look at Exif data for multiple images, it's best to switch to a better third-party solution like MetaImage. 

MetaImage makes any manipulations with picture metadata easy and seamless. With this utility, you don't need to enter or adjust Exif data manually as you'd do in the Photos app — the whole workflow can be completely automated. Moreover, the app goes beyond Exif to IPTC and XMP formats, makes adding GPS coordinates a breeze, and lets you make presets to apply to multiple images at once. 

To view Exif metadata with MetaImage: 

  1. Launch the app
  2. Drag and drop your images or select Open Images from Finder
  3. Click on selected images and see all the metadata in the sidebar

see all the metadata

How to remove Exif metadata from photos

If you post or share lots of images online, it might be a good idea to remove metadata beforehand. As mentioned above, Exif data can leak your location, the time and date of the shot, your camera settings, and much more. Plus, it makes the images heavier than they should be. 

So, unless you have a specific reason to keep the Exif metadata in, you should just delete it. Especially since metadata removal can be a quick and easy process. 

You can use Preview to delete GPS coordinates from photos: 

  1. Open a photo in Preview
  2. Go to Tools > Show Inspector (⌘ + I)
  3. Switch to the Information then GPS tab
  4. Click Remove Location Info

GPS info

To get rid of more information, you need to use a third-party Exif data remover, such as MetaImage. 

Here's how to remove metadata from photo with MetaImage

  1. Launch the app
  2. Drag and drop any image in the metadata remover
  3. Select any Exif value on the right and simply click Delete

Metadata Editor

With MetaImage, you can even select multiple values at once, or use the Exif remover on multiple images at the same time too. It's the fastest way to remove metadata from dozens or even hundreds of images. 

As you can see, knowing how to remove metadata from photos can help you stay in control of any photo-related workflow. You'll know exactly what information you're sharing with the world and have a chance to correct it. And the easiest way to remove Exif data is to use MetaImage

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