When you take a picture with a digital camera or smartphone, a significant amount of hidden data is recorded. Almost every digital image holds secrets about a photograph, detailing where and when it was taken, what device it was taken on, and much more. This information even includes photography-specific details such as lens size and exposure settings.
This data is called EXIF ??metadata and is device dependent access to it. While there are built-in browsing options on macOS and Windows devices, you need to install the app to view it on Android or iOS. Here’s what you need to do if you want to view EXIF ??metadata on any of these platforms.
What is EXIF ??metadata?
They say that a photograph is worth a thousand words, and there is certainly some truth to this statement when considering digital photography. EXIF metadata is hidden technical data stored with photographs taken with cameras, smartphones and other imaging devices.
EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format and acts as a general standard for technical image data. When you take a photo with a camera or smartphone, the information is saved as part of the image file itself, including the GPS location showing where the photo was taken (if your device has the ability to record this).
It also includes camera make and model, image resolution, and various photographic data, including shutter speed and shutter speed. Photo editing tools like Photoshop can immediately access this data so you can, for example, quickly change certain image settings.
EXIF data is usually only available for JPEG or TIFF image files, although similar metadata is also available for other types of image files, including RAW image files.
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How to access EXIF ??metadata on iPhone
There are third party apps that allow you to view EXIF ??metadata for images on iOS devices such as iPhone. We recommend Exif Metadata with the original name, although alternatives are also available, such as Fluntro’s EXIF ??Viewer.
The Exif Metadata app is free to use, with paid in-app purchases available to remove ads and edit metadata. You can install it from the iOS App Store.
- Download and install Exif Metadata for your iOS device. Once installed, open the app and give it permission to view your photos by clicking OK.
- Tap the + (plus) sign to start selecting a photo to view in the app. In the “Photo Albums” menu that appears, find the photo, then tap it to open it in the app.
- As soon as you open a photo, information is immediately available, including geolocation data, image size and other detailed EXIF ??metadata. Scroll to view the details you want and then tap Back when done.
How to access EXIF ??metadata on Android
Due to the fragmented nature of Android, there is no default photo or file viewer app available for every device, so you need to install a suitable EXIF ??metadata viewer app on Android devices.
One of the most popular Android apps for this purpose is Photo Exif Editor, which has been downloaded by over 500,000 people.
- First, download and install Photo Exif Editor on your Android device from the Google Play store. Once installed, open the app and click Photos or Browse to find and select a suitable image on your device.
- When you select a file to view in Photo Exif Editor, the EXIF ??metadata for that file appears. Scroll through the list to view the complete dataset, including camera model, exposure and color balance settings, image resolution, and more.
How to access EXIF ??metadata on macOS
The macOS Finder app lets you quickly view the metadata of any file by showing you
the time of creation or access to the file, and any other available technical data.
- Some of the basic EXIF ??metadata is available by right-clicking an image and clicking Get Info to get started.
- A file information window will open, where you can view basic information about it. You can view some EXIF ??data in the Details tab – click on this category if it is not displayed.
- To view the complete EXIF ??metadata for an image file, you need the Preview application. Right-click the image and click Open With> Preview to start using it.
- After the preview opens, click Tools> Show Inspector from the toolbar menu.
- In the inspector window, click the information icon (shaped like an i), then click the EXIF ??tab to view the complete EXIF ??metadata for the image file.
- To access this data, right-click the image file in Windows Explorer and click Properties. In the Properties window, go to the Details tab. Here you can view some information about the image, including the resolution and image size, and some additional information, including the camera model and settings.
- Download ExifDataView for Windows to start and decompress the file using the built-in Windows decompression tool. Once unzipped, double click to launch the ExifDataView executable.
- To view EXIF ??data using ExifDataView, click File> Open File to open a suitable image file. Your EXIF ??data will appear as different lines in the ExifDataView window.
Additional image information may also be available on tabs on either side of the EXIF ??tab, depending on your camera model or image file type.
How to access EXIF ??metadata on Windows
Using Windows Explorer, you can view technical data about the file in the properties window. This area also displays EXIF ??metadata for images, offering a quick overview without installing this third-party software.
While Windows Explorer should provide you with a good overview of EXIF ??metadata, you can also use third-party tools for a deeper look. Many of these tools are already outdated for use on Windows, but one tool that still works well is ExifDataView.
Use or remove EXIF ??metadata
EXIF metadata can help you find where the photo was taken, or hone your photography skills by changing your camera settings. If you want to upload photos to the Internet without revealing your secrets, you can completely remove EXIF ??data from your photos.
Stored EXIF ??data or not, you can only capture your favorite memories if you keep your photos in a safe place. If you have a vast collection of photos, you should consider storing your photos in the cloud to keep them safe for future generations.
Are you using saved EXIF ??metadata on images? We’d love to hear your use cases in the comments section below.