Most of the images in your iPhone’s Photos app contain interchangeable image file format data known as Exif or EXIF data, which has several useful uses. You can use numerous apps that can read Exif data, many of which are paid or limited. But you already have an app on your iPhone that can give you important details about any image – and I’m not talking about the Photos app.
Exif metadata contains information such as a photo’s geolocation, device model, focal length, and time, just to name a few things. The information helps your iPhone and other devices organize photos into categories and find results based on your searches. Exif data can also help you improve your photography skills so you can see what happened during each photo so you can learn how to proceed.
The Photos app gives you a few important details about each image, such as the time and location when it was taken, but that̵
Third party apps like Koredoko, Exif Viewer and ViewExif can show you all of them of the metadata for each photo, including interesting but potentially less useful details such as the altitude at the time, how fast the camera was actually moving in miles per hour, metering mode, color space profile, and so on. And again, these apps usually require a purchase to get all the features.
This is where the “Photo Details” shortcut comes into play. Created by RoutineHub user timnicholson, the shortcut gives you a quick way to view the important aspects of an image such as focal length, ISO speed, shutter speed, aperture, file size, media and file type, resolution, and more. And it doesn’t require an app you don’t already have, takes up less space than most apps, is easy to use, and can be updated to newer versions and even customized by you.
- iOS 13 or higher: The shortcut is made for iOS 13 but works perfectly on iOS 14 and later.
- Shortcuts app: It is pre-installed on iOS 13 and above, but if you uninstalled it, you can reinstall Shortcuts from the App Store.
- Allow untrusted shortcuts: Go to Settings -> Shortcuts, then enable “Allow untrusted shortcuts”, which allows you to add user-created third-party shortcuts.
Step 1: Add the ‘Photo Details’ shortcut
You can get the “Photo Details” shortcut from the direct iCloud link below. Alternatively, you can download it from the RoutineHub page, where the shortcut will be updated. However, the shortcut provides updates via the UpdateKit shortcut, which automatically gives you the latest version when it is available, so it should be good to use the iCloud link if you’re using UpdateKit.
You will be automatically redirected to the Shortcuts app. If not, tap “Get Shortcut”. You will then see a preview of the “Photo Details” shortcut, where you can scroll through the different actions in the workflow. To add the shortcut to your library, scroll down and tap the red “Add untrusted shortcut” button.
Step 2: View your photo’s metadata
There are two ways to view a photo’s metadata. The easiest is to use the Share sheet directly from the Photos app. That way, you don’t even have to leave the Photos app to reveal the hidden data in your images. The other way is to run the shortcut from the Shortcuts app. Either way, you can view the Exif data for a single image or a group of images.
Photo Details works with image types such as Live Photos, panoramas, portraits, and long exposures. However, it doesn’t provide much information from videos beyond the basic functions (file size, dimensions, time and geotags). It’s mostly for photos.
Option 1: Use the photo sharing sheet
For one image, expand it in the Photos app, then tap the Share button to open the Share sheet. If you want to view the Exif data for more than one image at a time, you can select more images from the Share sheet. You can also view your photos via the grid, tap ‘Select’, choose the images you want, then click the Share button. One in the Share sheet, scroll down and tap the “Photo Details” shortcut.
Note that videos do not work with this option, and you will not see “Photo Details” in the Share sheet unless you choose photos and videos as a group. If you run it on videos, they will just be converted to image files.
A banner will appear indicating that the shortcut is active. After a few seconds you will see a ‘web view’ of your photo, along with all the Exif metadata you would need about when it was taken: time, modified time (if applicable), file size, width, height, location, ISO speed, focal length, f-stop, shutter speed, aperture and more. If you chose multiple images, you can swipe left to view them.
If you want to share or save this information, you can tap the Share button and choose your gif. The preferred method is through the Files app, where you can save it as HTML text. Once saved, you can go to Files and view it, which looks just like “Photo Details”.
Option 2: Use the ‘Photo Details’ shortcut directly
If you don’t want to use the Photos app, you can run the shortcut using Siri (say “open Photo Details) or directly from the Shortcuts app. In Shortcuts, tap the” Photo Details “card in” My Shortcuts. The first time you run it this way, you will be prompted to grant it access to your photo library. Tap “OK” to continue.
A photo browser will then appear, where you can browse recent photos, albums or search. You can choose any number of photos, from one to 10 or even 30. The more you choose, the longer it will take to process. Unlike Sheet Share method, you can choose videos, but only get limited information about them. Once selected, tap “Add” at the top right.
Once the image or group of images has been processed, you will see the “web view” of the first photo with all available Exif metadata. You can swipe left to view more photos if you have selected more than one.
As with the Share sheet method, you can use the Share button to copy the image to your clipboard, share it with your friends and family, save it to Files, or send it to a third-party app.
When you’re done, you can click “Done” in the top left, and the shortcut will ask you to access other shortcuts, iCloud Drive, and a website. This is optional, but allows you to automatically keep the shortcut up to date using UpdateKit, if installed. Just tap “OK” and you never have to worry about manually updating the shortcut in case there are bug fixes or new features.
Remove Exif data from photos and videos
From an OSINT perspective, Exif metadata can be used by researchers, investigators, and even hackers during reconnaissance, to help identify what type of device you have, where you’re going, and other important details. Stalkers can also use it to find out where you live or your daily routine so they can track you.
Since iOS 13, you can remove geotags from photos you share through the Share sheet, and omit any metadata for images you use AirDrop. However, if you’re texting or messaging an image, you may want to delete all identifiable metadata. For that, you can use the aforementioned third-party apps such as Koredoko, Exif Viewer and ViewExif.
If you share on social media sites, most of the Exif data will be deleted during the upload process (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc), but not all (Flickr, Tumblr, etc).
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