It's Easy to Falsify Photo Geotags on Your iPhone to Keep Real Locations Secret

It’s easy to fake geotag photos on your iPhone to keep real locations a secret

Without realizing it, you may be giving away the GPS coordinates of your home, workplace, school, and other important or secret places. Unless you’ve blocked the feature on your iPhone, location data is stored in almost every photo and video you take, and anyone you share the content with can know where you are or have been. But there are things you can do to protect the information.

When you first opened the Camera app, it asked if you could use your location while using the app, and you probably approved the request. And that’s perfectly fine. Tagging your photos and videos with location data helps you organize and track important moments in your life, and helps the Photos app create memory videos for you, to name a few benefits.

However, you may not remember that each image’s metadata stores the precise or approximate location where it was captured, or that anyone you share the image with can easily look up this information. You might even share GPS coordinates with hackers and the world if you upload content to services like DeviantArt, Flickr, Google Photos, and Unsplash.

Without location services turned off for camera apps, your iPhone doesn’t just use GPS networks to find your coordinates, it also uses Bluetooth connections, local Wi-Fi networks, and your cellular network. So even if you don’t have cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, location data can still be imprinted invisibly on your images.

Jump to a section:

  1. Completely disable geolocation
  2. Remove geotags when sharing
  3. Remove geotags before sharing
  4. Fake geotags before sharing

Option 1: Completely disable geolocation

If you never want your iPhone to tag photos and videos with location information, you can turn off location services for the camera and any other camera apps you use. To do this, go to Settings -> Privacy (iOS 15) or Privacy & Security (iOS 16) -> Location Services, then choose “Camera” or another app from the list.

From the app settings, you can:

  • Disable “Precise Location” to generalize saved location data.
  • Change “While using the app” to “Never” to disable the location access period.
  • Change ‘While using the app’ to ‘Ask next time or when I share’. When you log back into your camera app, it will ask you for location access. You can turn off precise location and choose “Don’t allow” (to never let it access your location) or “Allow once” (to ask the same question every time you log in).

Option 2: Remove geotags when sharing

Since iOS 13, you can quickly remove the location of any photo or video you share from the Photos app. Once you’ve opened the share sheet, tap “Options” at the top and turn off the “Location” switch before sharing content with a person or service. It even works when sharing multiple photos or videos with built-in geotags. If you don’t see the “Location” toggle, the content doesn’t contain any location data in its Exif metadata.

Option 3: Remove geotags before sharing

Since iOS 15, you can remove geotags from your photos and videos from the Photos app, which is handy if you don’t plan to share the content yet, but know you probably will.

To remove the geotag from a photo or video:

  • Open the content, then swipe up or tap the info button (i) to view content metadata. Tap “Adjust” below the map, then tap “No location.”
  • Open the content, tap the ellipsis icon (•••), choose “Adjust location” from the quick actions menu, then tap “No location”. (It only works on iOS 16 and later.)
  • Open content on iOS 15, tap the share icon, choose “Adjust location” in the share sheet, then tap “No location”. (It only works on iOS 15.)

To remove the geotag from one or more photos or videos:

  • Tap “Select” in the grid view, choose content, tap the ellipsis icon (•••), choose “Adjust location” from the quick actions menu, then tap “No location”. (It only works on iOS 16 and later.)
  • Tap “Select” in the grid view, choose content, tap the share icon, choose “Adjust location” in the share sheet, then tap “No location”. (It only works on iOS 15.)

To return to the original location:

If you need to retrieve the actual location, use the same process above for single photos and videos.

  • Open the content, then swipe up or tap the info button (i) to view content metadata. Tap “Add Place” below the map, then tap “Return.”
  • Open the content, tap the ellipsis icon (•••), choose “Adjust location” from the quick actions menu, then tap “Return”. (It only works on iOS 16 and later.)
  • Open content on iOS 15, tap the share icon, choose “Adjust location” from the share sheet, then tap “Return”. (It only works on iOS 15.)

You can’t restore multiple photos or videos to their original location at once, so you’ll have to do them individually if you have more than one that needs to be edited.

Option 4: Fake geotags before sharing

While it’s quick and easy to completely remove location data when sharing photos and videos, you can also make it look like you’re somewhere else. This way, if someone looks at the content’s metadata, they’ll see a fake location instead of the real one. This could lead them on a wild geese hunt if they try to locate your whereabouts, favorite hangouts, or frequently visited places.

It’s pretty much the same process to change the address of a photo or video in the Photos app as it is to delete it, as shown in option 3 above, only you choose a specific location instead of “No location”.

To fake the geotag of a photo or video:

  • Open the content, then swipe up or tap the info button (i) to view content metadata. Tap “Adjust” below the map, then find and select your desired location.
  • Open the content, tap the ellipsis icon (•••), choose “Adjust location” from the quick actions menu, then find and select the location you want. (It only works on iOS 16 and later.)
  • Open content on iOS 15, tap the share icon, choose “Adjust location” from the share sheet, then find and select your desired location. (It only works on iOS 15.)

To falsify the geolocation of one or more photos or videos:

  • Tap “Select” in the grid view, choose content, tap the ellipsis icon (•••), choose “Adjust location” from the quick actions menu, then find and select the location of your choice. (It only works on iOS 16 and later.)
  • Tap “Select” in the grid view, choose the content, tap the share icon, choose “Adjust location” in the share sheet, then find and select the location you want. (It only works on iOS 15.)

To return to the original location:

If you need to retrieve the actual location, use the same process above for single photos and videos.

  • Open the content, then swipe up or tap the info button (i) to view content metadata. Tap “Adjust” below the map, then tap “Revert.”
  • Open the content, tap the ellipsis icon (•••), choose “Adjust location” from the quick actions menu, then tap “Return”. (It only works on iOS 16 and later.)
  • Open content on iOS 15, tap the share icon, choose “Adjust location” from the share sheet, then tap “Return”. (It only works on iOS 15.)

You can’t restore multiple photos or videos to their original location at once, so you’ll have to do them individually if you have more than one that needs to be edited.

Keep your connection secure with no monthly bill. Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for all your devices with a one-time purchase from the new Gadget Hacks store, and watch Hulu or Netflix without regional restrictions, increase security when browsing public networks, and more.

Shop now (80% off) >

Other great deals to check out:

Cover photo and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

#easy #fake #geotag #photos #iPhone #real #locations #secret

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *