Geotagging Photos and Videos

In Brief

Geotagging lets people know where and when you took a photo or video. Many devices automatically geotag content. When you share that content, the geotag information can easily be read by others, letting them know the places you go and the times you tend to be there. To protect your privacy and ensure your family's security, know what devices have geotagging capabilities and be careful when you share or post photos that have geotagged information.


Geotagging is a technology that adds information a to a digital photo or video so that you know the exact time and place it was taken.  Most cell phones, tablets, and even some digital cameras have this capability.    Some web sites even allow you to geotag photos after you have uploaded them.

On the plus side, it makes organizing your media a snap. However, as great as this technology may be for scrapbooking and photo management, it can potentially have unintended consequences.   You could unknowingly be compromising the safety of your family if you frequently share and post photos and videos that use this technology.  For example, someone downloading your photos or videos can see the exact place and time that these were taken and easily determine where you live, the places you frequent, and the times you tend to be at certain locations.  Don't accidentally aid thieves staking out homes or online predators.

Reducing the Risks of Geotagging

  • Does your device have this capability? Know if your cell phone or camera automatically embeds geotagging information into your photos or videos.  Most importantly, know how to turn it off.  iPhones and Android phones all have this capability.  Look at your device's owner's manual for information on how to disable this feature.
  • Know when to use geotagging and when to disable it.  As a general rule, geotagging should not include content with: children, people's homes, schools or other private locations.  Public locations or when you are on vacation may be fine for geotagging; however think twice about anything that could reveal something personal about you that you don't want made public.
  • Know how to remove geotagging information from your photos.  If you do have photos with geotagging, you can remove that information using tools like Pixelgarde (, Picasa ( simply perform an online search for "remove a geotag" to get a listing of the various utilities that will do this for you.
  • Know if the services you use keep or remove geotagging.  Some online services remove geotagging data from photos uploaded to their sites.  Others, don't.  It's important for you to know whether or not the services you use keep geotagging information on photos that you or your friends upload and share.

Don't share geotagged photos or videos If you use geotagging, then be sure to remove any geotagging data before you email or upload those photos or videos.

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Parent's Checklist
  • Check each cell phone to be sure that geotagging is not enabled accidentally.
  • If you choose to use geotagging for scrapbooking or photo management, then remove geotagging data before sharing.
  • Use only photo sharing services that automatically remove geotagging information from any photos you post or share.
  • Keep a utility on your computer that will remove geotagging data from any photo.

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