WhatsApp offers various options for sending files through its platform. These include sending files from the gallery, HD images, and attached documents. The latter two options are useful for sharing images with sensitive information, such as location coordinates.
WhatsApp’s most common way to send an image is through the ‘Attach’ button, which allows users to 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 allow users to send images without losing resolution.
While these options prevent the platform from reducing the quality of content, they carry the risk of sharing sensitive data through image metadata. EXIF data stored in images can reveal information like resolution, file type, date and time taken, and more. To avoid sharing this information, users can use third-party applications to modify or remove EXIF data or be cautious about sharing images with embedded location data.
If an image is shared in HD or as a document through WhatsApp, the EXIF data is retained. Recipients can access this information through applications like Google Files and display coordinates where the photo was taken. This poses potential privacy risks if shared with others who may have access to this information.
It is crucial to be mindful of what information we share when using messaging platforms like WhatsApp and how it may impact our privacy and security online.