How to Remove Metadata from Files

~3 min read | Published on 2023-11-27, tagged GuidesPrivacy using 541 words.

Metadata can be simply defined as a summary of basic information about data that is embedded in files. Metadata includes information such as the file's time and date of creation, creator, size, and location.

Information revealed by an image's metadata

Metadata can be found on all forms of files including PDFs, images, and audio files. The metadata in an image file, for example, could include pieces of information such as the date, time, and location of when the photo was taken.
The sharing of files that contain this metadata could lead to the revelation of private and confidential information. Sharing of files with metadata could place the freedom and lives of people such as whistleblowers and journalists at risk.
Law enforcement can use location data available in files to identify and acquire warrants against suspects. This dark web drugs vendor was identified thanks to GPS data found in the metadata of images he used in his listings.
To remove metadata from your files use any of the following tools:


ExifTool is a Perl library and command-line tool that can be used in reading, writing, and editing metadata in a wide variety of file formats.
ExifTool is available on Tails and Whonix Workstation by default. It is also available in most Linux distribution repositories.

ExifTool in Windows

You need to install ExifTool to be able to use it on Windows.

ExifTool in macOS

Removing Metadata with ExifTool

We are going to use an image named "filename.jpg" as an example.


ExifCleaner is a metadata removal application available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
It removes metadata from files automatically after you drop them into the application.

ExifCleaner in Action


mat2 is capable of removing metadata from a wide variety of file formats.
mat2 is available on Tails by default.
To remove data from files on Tails, Right click on the file and choose Remove metadata.
In Linux, mat2 allows you to use either a command line tool or a graphical user interface
To install mat2 on Linux run the following commands
sudo apt update
sudo apt install mat2

Using mat2 in Linux to remove metadata

We will illustrate with an image named "filename.jpg".

There exists a GUI tool for mat2 called Metadata Cleaner. Metadata Cleaner is available for download on Flathub.
Files we share with others especially images contain lots of data that we may not want to disclose. To avoid revealing sensitive information, use any of the above tools to remove metadata from your files before sharing.