WhatsApp offers multiple ways to send files through its platform, including sending files from the gallery, HD images, and attached documents. These options allow users to share files in original quality and with sensitive information like location coordinates.
The most common way to send an image via WhatsApp is through the ‘Attach’ button, which lets users choose content from their camera or gallery. However, WhatsApp automatically compresses images when sending them, resulting in a loss of resolution. To address this issue, WhatsApp launched the option to send high-quality (HD) photos and documents, which allows for sharing files up to 2GB without losing resolution.
While these options prevent the platform from reducing the quality of the content, they carry the risk of sharing sensitive data through image metadata. EXIF data stored in images can reveal information like the resolution, file type, date and time the photo was taken, and more. To avoid sharing this information, users can use third-party applications to modify or remove EXIF data. Furthermore, users should be cautious about sharing images with embedded location data.
If an image is shared in HD or as a document through WhatsApp, EXIF data is retained. Recipients can access this information through applications like Google Files and display coordinates of where the photo was taken. This poses potential privacy risks if shared with others who may not have permission to view this information.
It’s important for users to be mindful of what information they include when sharing images through messaging platforms and take steps to protect their privacy by modifying image settings on their device’s camera or using third-party applications to remove or modify EXIF data before sharing sensitive images on social media platforms like WhatsApp.