Remove EXIF data

There are many reasons why you might want to strip EXIF data from your photos. Here's how you can do it.

Reasons to Remove Exif & XMP Metadata

If you don‘t want people to see camera settings, GPS coordinates (if your camera supports them) or you simply don‘t want other people to see how you edit your photos, you‘ll want to remove Exif and XMP from your photos.

These are all valid reasons, but you should always keep the versions with metadata somewhere. Here‘s why:

Why You Should Not Do It

The reason is simple: you may need that information in the future.

Metadata contains many useful settings (Lightroom edits, camera and lens model, camera settings).

After some time you might revisit your photos and wonder how you took that shot, what edits you made, what lens you used, what aperture, what was the time of day the photo was taken. If you remove metadata, you‘ll get rid of all this information.

If you spent a lot of time refining your edits or creating your own presets, you should always have a back up somewhere.

When your hard drive dies or Lightroom loses your presets, it‘ll still be possible to recover them from your exported JPGs – but if you strip EXIF and XMP metadata on export, you won‘t be able to recover anything.

What Should I do then?

You should always keep the original exports with metadata included. Store them somewhere safe, back them up in the cloud (Dropbox or similar), so you‘ll have access to them in the future.

If you don‘t want other people to see your settings, before you upload files anywhere, create copies and run them through some kind of software that will remove metadata without re-compressing the image (e.g. ImageOptim).

Remove metadata without affecting quality

Removing Exif data from photos without affecting image quality or re-compressing the image is essential. Here are a few methods you can use to achieve this:

  1. ExifTool (Windows, macOS, Linux):

    ExifTool is a powerful, free, and cross-platform command-line tool for reading, writing, and editing metadata in image files. To remove Exif data using ExifTool, follow these steps:

    1. Download and install ExifTool from the official website (https://exiftool.org/).
    2. Open a terminal (Command Prompt on Windows, Terminal on macOS, or your preferred terminal on Linux).
    3. Navigate to the folder containing the image using the 'cd' command.
    4. Type the following command, replacing 'input.jpg' with your image's filename, and 'output.jpg' with the desired output filename: exiftool -all= -overwrite_original input.jpg -o output.jpg

      This command will create a new file without Exif data while preserving image quality.

  2. Exif Purge (Windows):

    Exif Purge is a simple and free Windows utility for batch removing Exif data from images without re-compressing them.

    1. Download Exif Purge from the official website (https://www.exifpurge.com/).
    2. Install and run the application.
    3. Click on "Add Files" to select the images you want to remove Exif data from, or drag and drop them into the application window.
    4. Choose an output folder by clicking "Browse" next to the "Save Files In" box.
    5. Click "Purge Exif Data" to process the images and remove Exif data while maintaining image quality.
  3. ImageOptim (macOS):

    ImageOptim is a free macOS application that optimizes images without re-compressing them, and it can also remove Exif data.

    1. Download ImageOptim from the official website (https://imageoptim.com/mac).
    2. Install and run the application.
    3. In the preferences menu, make sure "Lossless optimizations" is enabled, and under "Metadata," select "Remove metadata (Exif, XMP, etc.)."
    4. Drag and drop your images into the ImageOptim window. The application will process the images, removing Exif data without re-compressing them.

    IMPORTANT: Remember to make backups of your original files before removing Exif data, as the process is irreversible.