The Photos app can keep track of where your photographs are taken, assuming the photos in your Photo Library have location-based metadata attached to them. Even images you save from the internet can have this location data baked into them from time to time.
What most people don’t know is that it’s possible to spoof a photograph’s location data to make it look as if it were taken somewhere else. In today’s tutorial, we’ll show you how you fake the location of your photos in less than 5 minutes with an app called Mappr.
GPS location metadata can be seen by anyone who has access to the image file. Most photo-viewing software on mobile devices and personal computers will display this metadata information, and while you might see it on your own devices and think you’re the only one who can see it, the people you send the file to can view this information on their devices too.
To view the location where a photograph was taken on your iPhone or iPad, simply open an image file from your Photo Library and tap on the “Details” button at the top right of the app to see more:
As you can see, the information about where the photograph was taken, as well as a map, is displayed under the “Places” header.
You may want to spoof the GPS location of a photo either as a joke or to protect your own privacy. On the other hand, you can simply disable location recording in your photographs by disabling location services access for the Camera app to prevent your location from being stored in your photographs, which makes the latter argument more of a moot point.
On the other hand, if you want to be that guy who exclaims the joke, “Hey look! I took a picture of the Statue of Liberty while I was in Colorado!” because your sense of humor gets the best of you, then by all means… fake your photograph’s location.
To those who ask “why?…” I simply respond with “why not!?”
How to fake the location of your photos
To spoof an image’s location metadata, you will need an app called Mappr, which can be downloaded from the App Store for free. After you install the app on your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:
1) Launch the Mappr app from your Home screen.
2) Tap on either the Camera or Photos button, depending on the source of your desired photograph.
Use the Photos option if you want to spoof the location of an existing photograph. Use the Camera option if you want to take a fresh picture and spoof its location. We’ll be using the Photos option for this demonstration, but the steps are essentially the same in either case.
3) Enable access to your Camera or Photos app if prompted.
4) Tap on a photograph from your Photo Library.
5) Take note of where the pin lands on the map; this was the location where the photograph was originally created.
6) Tap on the pin and drag it to a new location on the map that you want recorded in the image’s metadata, then release your finger.
7) Tap on the Share button at the top right of the app.
8) Tap on the Save button in the pop-up menu.
Now when you go into the Photos app, your newly-saved image file should display details of the new location that you set from Mappr instead of the original location:
It’s worth noting that your original photograph remains in your Photo Library with the original location information. Mappr generates a second image in your Photo Library with an alternative location, which means you should now have two of the same photograph in your Camera Roll, each having a different and separate location tied to it.
When you share the location-spoofed photograph with someone else, they too will see the spoofed location any time they view it from their device(s). They won’t be able to tell where the original photograph was actually conceived since you’re not actually sending the original file.
While not everyone has a reason to spoof the location of their photographs, it’s still good to know that there’s a way to fake it if you ever wanted to. After all, knowledge is power.
Do you think you’ll ever spoof your photograph locations? Share why or why not in the comments section below.