Smart phone cameras geotag pictures

How to disable a smart phone's geotagging feature

Security experts have been warning about the potential risks of geotags for a couple years now. For instance, a photo taken by a U.S. soldier on his or her smart phone could potentially reveal location information and endanger the mission. While this feature does occasionally catch a criminal, the risk to military and government personnel working abroad, or anyone whose location could be considered confidential, is too great to ignore.

The arrest of fugitive John McAfee and the revelation that his location had been given up by the geotagging feature on a smart phone might get users wondering if this feature is tagging things they do on their own phones. And, unless they’ve changed any settings, the answer is likely to be “yes.”

“So, how do I turn this feature off?” you ask. Good question. Here are the steps to disable geotagging for the four major mobile operating systems. Note that manufacturer websites are largely silent on this issue; these tips are pulled from user experience, community blogs and how-to websites.

Android 4.2 phones

  1. Start camera application
  2. Hit the Settings button
  3. Scroll down and find the GPS Tag option and turn it off

In older versions, the option may be called “Store Location,” but is it essentially the same process.

BlackBerry 6.0 and 7.0

RIM suggests through the online documentation that disabling geotagging be done on BlackBerry Enterprise Server,  which would work from an admin’s point of view if an agency uses BES. If not, to turn the setting off on an individual BlackBerry  phone:

  1. Open Camera
  2. Set the Location icon to “Disabled”

For some earlier versions, hit the Menu and Option buttons before changing the setting.

iPhone 4 and 5

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select General
  3. Select Location Services
  4. Set Camera to “Off”

For older versions users can’t really turn off geotagging for the camera without disabling it for all applications. But location warnings can be set to go off when an application is using them.

Windows Phone 7 and 8

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Navigate to Applications
  3. Scroll down to Pictures & Camera
  4. Set “include location (GPS) info in Pictures you take” to “Off”

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Reader Comments

Fri, Jun 3, 2016 Avi

I have an iPhone 4s, I have previously used only Android phones and while I am familiar with disabling this feature on that platform I am new to iOS. Is there a way to disable the geotag feature in iOS without turning off all location services?

Sat, Jan 23, 2016 Umar

Simply turn off the Location (GPS device) on your phone.

Wed, Jan 21, 2015 Xavier

Pixelgarde, is nice, but I found another android app - "GPS Privacy", that removes the GPS coordinates automatically. You just define your "Privacy areas", and your pictures won't have GPS tags when taken in these areas. Very useful if you have the pictures uploaded automatically online.

Fri, May 16, 2014 dj USA

use free app called pixelgarde. it can remove gps, and you can edit geotags to other locations. this control shold be in your phone, but android and iOS figure it out, I'd go their website and download it.

Fri, Feb 28, 2014

Is there an easy method to manually insert a false set of coordinates into the geotag such that the photo shall appear to be a location far different than where it actually is?

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