Photo Geotagging – How It Works & How to Disable It

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Flickr-geotags Geotagging: the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs, video, websites, [etc]. That’s the definition from Wikipedia.

If you’re still unclear on what this means, just imagine using your smartphone to take photos of your child at his/her school performance, then uploading them from your smartphone to a site like Facebook or Flickr, or directly to Twitter. Now imagine a complete stranger being able to pinpoint the exact location of where those photos were taken. Well, that’s what geotagging does. And it’s the same technology you’ll find in social networking apps like Facebook Places or Foursquare.

NBC Action News gives you a nice glimpse into how geotagging technology works and why you might want to consider disabling it on your smartphone and your child’s.

Some people want to disclose their exact location. But that doesn’t mean you or your kids have to. Unfortunately, geotagging isn’t something a lot of people are aware about. Most people just click “allow” when geotagging-enabled mobile apps ask for permission, without really knowing why it’s asking that or what it means.

The New York Times shows just how easy it is to find someone’s location from a photo they took on their smartphone.

“By downloading free browser plug-ins like the Exif Viewer for Firefox ( or Opanda IExif for Internet Explorer (, anyone can pinpoint the location where the photo was taken and create a Google map.”

Full article

How to disable geotagging on the iPhone – 

– Go to the Settings app and select General.

– Now look for the Location Services option.

– You might not want to disable Location Services for apps like Google Maps, but there’s an option to turn it off for the Camera app. Doing this will stop all geotagging on your mobile photos.

It’s also worth noting that not all iPhone’s have the option to disable location services on specific apps–some only have the option to turn it off or on altogether. Unfortunately, this is a hassle as you’ll have to turn this off and on manually everytime you need to use Google Maps or the Camera app. 

In the future, if something comes up that looks like this, make sure you say “Don’t allow”.



How to disable geotagging on Android devices – 

Again, most people won’t want to disable geotagging on their entire device since doing so would render things like GPS useless. So here’s a quick guide on how to disable it just for the camera on your Android device.

– Start the camera app

– There should be a menu that slides out from left to right.


– Here you’ll see an option called Store Location. Make sure it’s set to off. This will ensure that your camera no longer geotags your images.


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