Just got an iPhone and it’s a great upgrade from my clunker LG device, but I’m worried about the photos I post having location information included. How can I turn off this feature? [ed note: it's called "geotagging"]
You’re right to be concerned about privacy with photos taken on devices that know their location on Earth because by default they all add the exact latitude and longitude as part of what’s called the “EXIF” (pronounce that ‘ex-if’) information tucked into every photo you share.
If you think that it’s probably not very accurate, well, then you’re not paying attention. In fact, it’s startling how accurate things are now and how easy it is for software to even tell you the street address where a photo was taken. I know, I bumped into that just a few days ago with a panorama app I was testing at home. I created the panorama (a scrolling spherical view of my home interior) and posted it to their site, just to be startled that immediately below the photo it included not just my street address, but a map with “get directions”. Yikes!
On the other hand, this geotagging is pretty slick if you are on vacation because then your photo software can automatically organize your snapshots by location in addition to date and time. Backpacking through Europe? It’s a terrific feature.
But, of course, there’s that privacy thing.
So let’s start by tapping the capabilities of a very slick — and free — iPhone app called Koredoko to view a photo I took on a recent trip to Seattle:
As you can see, it identifies down to the exact street location where that photo was taken, even days after I returned back to Colorado. That’s because the geotag information is buried in the photo’s EXIF data.
To turn off geotagging is a bit tricky on the iPhone and iPad too, because it’s not where ya think it’d be located.
Go to “Settings” on your iOS7 device and swipe down to this view:
Logically, it should be in “Photos & Camera”, but if you look there, you’ll see a variety of things to modify, but no “geotagging” “geolocation” or similar:
Instead, you need to go back up to “Settings” (tap on the blue “Settings” on the top left of this view) and swipe up until you identify this set of options:
It’s the “Privacy” option you want here, just below Wallpapers & Brightness.
Tap on it.
Even here, “Photos” is not what you want. Try it, you’ll see that lets you control what other apps can look at your photo albums, nothing more.
Instead, tap on “Location Services”.
Ah, finally. To disable geotagging of the photographs or portraits you take on your iPhone or iPad (or any other iOS device), tap on the green slider switch adjacent to “Camera” and while it’ll complain, it’ll stop tagging the photos you take with your geographic latitude / longitude and that bit of your privacy will be restored.
Why Apple locates the control there and not somewhere more obvious is a bit puzzling to me, but perhaps the design team just assumes we are all perfectly fine sharing exactly where we are and what we’re doing all the time. Me? Not so much.