This overlooked One UI 3.1 feature can greatly boost your online privacy

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One UI 3.1 has introduced a slightly redesigned UI and a handful of cool new features to Samsung’s Galaxy phones, but perhaps one of the most overlooked additions is a new privacy and security option that lets you remove location information from your photos before sharing them on social media or otherwise.

This feature debuted with the Galaxy S21 series and, at that time, nobody knew with certainty if it will remain a Galaxy S21-exclusive privacy feature or if it will become a standard One UI 3.1 characteristic. As it turned out, the feature is being made available for virtually every Galaxy device running One UI 3.1. Here’s all you need to know.

What is metadata and how to remove location from photos in One UI 3.1?

Digital photos contain a lot of hidden information that’s not easily accessible without a third-party app. This information, known as metadata, includes details about the device that has captured the photo, date and time details, as well as location information, just to name a few.

From the user’s perspective, location data can be of help when trying to organize photos based on the time of capture and location. However, there’s also a history of metadata being used by governmental institutions to locate and find individuals under criminal investigation.

And indeed, nothing stops malicious parties from using the same data for their own purposes. Therefore, location information can pose a security / privacy risk if it falls into the wrong hands, especially now that there are billions of images shared online every single day. Some social media platforms are well-aware of the ways in which metadata can be used and they remove location data from user photos automatically whenever they’re uploaded, but others don’t.

With One UI 3.1, Samsung is putting the power of metadata removal in the palms of the users, at least to a degree. The latest firmware introduces an easy way to remove location information from photos via the Gallery app before sharing them. The option appears at the top of the share list, right above the Nearby Share button and the list of contacts / social media networks, and it doesn’t require additional steps.

No other metadata aside from location information seems to be removed, but even so, this is a small change (in appearance) that can greatly safeguard privacy and improve security without requiring much in return from the user.

There’s also great potential here, as future versions of One UI could give Galaxy smartphone and tablet owners even more control over the type of metadata they wish to remove from their photos before sharing them.

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