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How to view image EXIF data

Most photos taken today are taken on smartphones. The camera on a smartphone captures more than an image when it takes a photo. The camera has access to the many sensors, data, and device configuration of the phone and much of this information is included when a photo is taken. For example, if you want to check if a photo was taken on an iPhone, you can normally check by looking at the photo’s EXIF data.

image EXIF data

Image EXIF data

EXIF data is stored by all cameras, not just the ones on our phones. Professional cameras will save information about the camera settings that were used to take a photo but phone cameras have access to more information and therefore they store more of it as EXIF data. For example, a photo captured on a phone will likely include longitude and latitude coordinates for the exact place the photo was captured. 

EXIF data is fairly easy to view if you know how to view it. Professional photo management tools will allow you to look at everything that’s stored while basic image viewing tools may only show a small subset of the information instead of all of it.

View image EXIF data – Windows File properties

File Explorer in Windows lets users view properties for a file. This is a basic overview and may not show all the data that is saved for an image. It’s a quick way to view image EXIF data.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the image you want to view EXIF data for.
  3. Right-click the image and select Properties from the context menu.
  4. Go to the Details tab to view EXIF data.

View image EXIF data – Windows IrfanView

If you’d like to view every bit of information saved to the EXIF data of an image, you need a third-party app on Windows 10.

  1. Download and install IrfanView (it’s free). 
  2. Open the image in IrfanView.
  3. Tap the E key.
  4. EXIF data will be displayed in a new window.

View image EXIF data – macOS Preview

macOS comes with a powerful photo management tool but Finder itself is able to display basic EXIF data that accompanies an image. 

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Navigate to the image and open it in Preview.
  3. Go to Tools>Show inspector.
  4. A window will open with several tabs that show the EXIF data for the image.

Can EXIF data be deleted?

EXIF data can be deleted. In order to delete the EXIF data, you will need to install a third-party app for the job. There are plenty of free apps for both macOS and Windows that can delete EXIF data.

Should you delete EXIF data?

EXIF data can often be a security risk e.g. if you upload selfies online, they may contain location data. The photo can giveaway your home address or places that you frequently visit. It is normally a good idea to delete EXIF data from personal photos that you plan on uploading online. Deleting EXIF data does not reduce the quality of the photo.

Can EXIF data be faked?

EXIF data can be faked. There are plenty of apps that can edit the data and anyone can change every single bit of information that is stored for an image. 

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