I’ve come late to the Smartphone parade – having used a flip phone until last year. Now this iPhone has become so embedded in my daily routines – reminding me for appointments, checking up on my only (Lexican’s naturally) Facebook group, and using that camera.
That camera is the reason I shed my 6 months old iPhone 5S and got the 6SE – with an even better resolution….
For years I wondered why a camera could be so important to a “smartphone” – aren’t these disparate functions?
While the technology was there (Kodak even invented the digital camera back in the 1970s – but never developed it for fear of hurting their film sales), it took Steve Jobs to link the 2 allowing people to take pictures and instantaneously send them – anywhere in the world.
A good friend of mine – who was for over 40 years a familiar byline as a photographer on our major newspaper, was telling me that many papers now are just giving the reporters Smartphones – they email their news pictures straight to the editors…No long developing time, no passing the picture from desk to desk to see what is printed, it goes straight to editor who will place it in the newspaper (also digitally formatted, I would assume).
Anyway, before I go further off on a tangent that isn’t germane to the title, virtually all digital photographs contain Metadata. Metadata is simply data that describes other data.
Only when you take a picture and send it you are usually unaware of any of this. You don’t see any reference to it. It is a section of all those bits on the digital file that is the picture – 0’s and 1’s – dedicated to describing the information about that picture of Aunt Sally you just took.
And prior to Smartphones, this wasn’t of concern to people. It contained information such as the F-Stop, camera make and shutter speed.
But with Smartphones came GPS capabilities.
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had a nice collector’s car. It was the kind of car that has the insurance companies worried about where you store it, and what security does it have? It was a car that while beautiful, one couldn’t just drive to the mall and park it.
I wanted more than anything to take a picture of it and show it to my fellow gearheads, but then realized that a picture available to the world with this Metadata giving the exact location probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. (that could be the subject of another post, when you end up being owned by “things” rather than owning them!).
The designers liked to incorporate this feature because many times you’d like to know where and when you took the picture a few months/years in the future?
You can probably turn off the location feature on your camera (I haven’t really checked on my iPhone) but in any event, be aware of this when transmitting your pictures around. If you turned off this feature, no need to read further.
Until Apple came out with their upgraded operating system (iOS 10) one had to get this data by using another app or program, easily available. Now with iOS 10 when scrolling through my pictures all I have to do is tap on “details” and it tells me where the picture was taken, down to the street address.
And it’s very accurate. The technology that correlates a long-number longitude and latitude to a street address must be absolutely amazing. That computer is doing a lot behind the scenes. And your Smartphone is communicating to some huge computer with all of this data stored.
Can you imagine the size of a data base that contains the location of every street address to every structure in the world? And how do they update it – which changes constantly?
Don’t know about the Android side of things. I suspect that they would access the same data base, wherever that is.
I have noticed with a little experimentation that some websites remove this Metadata when you upload the picture. This one (WordPress) does remove it.
Others don’t. If you can download the picture, it is worth investigating. Better yet if you don’t want people to have this information, make sure it is removed before uploading.
There are programs and apps that will do this removal for you if you want to upload pictures.
I bring all this up because I mentioned this to someone up uploaded a picture of herself – and my trusty iPhone gave me her home address, which she probably had no intention of giving to the world. I mentioned this to her, and she corrected it.
Just be aware of the data you are sending….
Now, about Apple’s idea of automatically moving my cc# (necessary to have on file at their app store) and “assuming” I want to use it in this app on my phone called wallet ….That could be a wider subject on digital security.
The digital age has brought amazing new capabilities to the world with the ability to move any bit of digitized information anywhere in the world but that is the proverbial double-edged sword.