How to find a location using the GPS coordinates of a photo, best apps to check where the photo was taken, how to manage the GPS settings or disable saving location data on Android phone.
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Mobile devices on iPhone and Android have the ability to store location information when you take a photo with the camera. The file contains EXIF information with the GPS coordinates of the place.
onlineexifviewer is a simple online service developed by Andy Feliciotti. The service allows you to read EXIF data from photos. It works through a browser. It is easy to use Onlineexifviewer both on your iOS / Android phone and computer.
The following photo formats are supported: JPG, TIFF, PNG, WebP and HEIC. Thus, you can analyze everything that was taken with a mobile phone and digital camera.
Note. If the GPS recording was disabled, you will not know where the picture was taken.
Uploading works via drag-n-drop method. It allows you to extract the following data: Camera Model, Location Details, Date and Time, all about the coordinates.
How to use the service:
- Go to Onlineexifviewer.
- Click on Select image buttton
- Select a photo to analyze
- In the left column, Camera Location Details, the coordinates of the photo are displayed, as well as a mini-map with the point where the photo was taken
- In the right column (All Photo EXIF Data) you can see all the info of the photo
- Check GPSLatitude, GPSLongitude and other parameters with GPS postfix: Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, TimeStamp, Speed, ImgDirection, DestBearing, DateStamp, HPositioningError.
ExifTool by Phil Harvey is a great software available for Mac and Windows for free. Via it, you can extract GPS coordinates from photo.
It works with most popular media formats, including photos and video, and extracts GPS data from the EXIF. There are a dozen other useful features.
Let's note some of the features of ExifTool:
- many supported media formats
- support for a wide range of digital cameras and cell phones
- GPS track support for video formats
- (you'll find a table with a description on the exiftool.org website)
Note. The program works on Windows, Mac, Unix, etc. Use of ExifTool on Windows platforms requires no additional libraries, while other operating systems require Perl.
ExifTool has no graphical interface, you will have to open it from the command line to see the data.
- Copy the exe file to the folder with the photos you want to read.
- Open command line using Run menu or any other tool (for example Total Commander, by entering cmd).
- Type exiftool.exe command IMG_0135.jpg, where IMG_0135.jpg is the name of the file.
- The window will display all the information about the photo, we are most interested in GPSLongitude and GPSLatitude data.
Where the photo GPS data is stored
Information about the coordinates is embedded in metadata, which can be found in photo properties. In order to read the metadata, check the properties of the desired file.
Instructions for Windows 7 - 11
This method does not require a specialized program, just go to the file properties and open the tab with the exif data.
Getting GPS coordinates from a picture for Windows:
- Right-click on the photo file, and open the context menu.
- Go to Properties.
- Open the Details tab.
- Find the Longitude and Latitude settings in the GPS section.
Instructions for Mac OS
This method of getting coordinates is suitable for photos that contain exif data, including GPS coordinates. Otherwise, longitude and latitude will not be available, whichever option you use.
In order to extract GPS from photo:
Ctrl + click on the image file.
Open the Get info via the context menu.
- The Details section displays the exact location when the photo was taken (Latitude / Longitude in particular).
In the case of a HEIC file, you should use a converter app in order to save JPG and open the photo on your computer.
Viewing EXIF metadata for GPS data: the best apps
- ExifTool is a mobile application for Android. It uses the same library as the aforementioned program. Using EXIF you can extract GPS coordinates saved by digital or phone camera.
- https://www.metadata2go.com/ is a free online service for getting all the metadata embedded in a photo.
How to use metadata2go to get GPS coordinates from picture:
- Upload a photo.
- Press the "Start analyzing file" button.
- You will get the coordinates (if the photo has them).
What is EXIF data?
EXIF data include various information such as:
- camera model
- mobile device and its type
- shooting parameters (shutter speed, aperture, ISO),
Let's say you have the longitude and latitude of a location on Earth. How can you easily find your location on a map?
- It is convenient to use services mentioned in the review.
- The second option is to use mobile applications for Android / iOS. Open a file in the built-in iPhone Photos app displays the information on the map in the Places section.
- You can also use the search bar on Google Maps to find the exact location where the taken photo will be displayed.
Why GPS data is not always available in photos
Sometimes even when a phone is set to save location data, a photo may not have it in its current location. This can be caused by a few different actions.
The location data may have disappeared from the final file if the photo was saved multiple times. This happens when the converter does not save coordinate data or the user deliberately disabled storing additional metadata options. Saving of EXIF information is possible in Photoshop, Lightroom or any image viewer. Online services also prefer to delete confidential information in both the original copies and the thumbnails.
How to disable saving location data in photos
Coordinate data is handy not only for getting information about the place where the picture was taken, but also for organizing photos into categories. Desktop programs like Adobe Lightroom allow you to do this automatically.
Of course, you can quickly disable saving location data. This is done primarily due to security purposes; anyone can discover where and when you were at that location by looking at the properties of the photo taken with a camera. So let's figure out how to disable saving location data.
On the iPhone:
- Go to Settings > Security > Location Services > Camera
- Move the Allow Location Access slider to the Never position.
This prevents your phone's camera from accessing the GPS settings and from controlling location properties.
For Android 10-11 and later:
- Go to Settings > Location.
- Location > App Permissions.
- For the Camera app, set the Location access to Deny.
Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.