WhatsApp offers a range of options for sending files, including sending from the gallery, HD images, and attached documents. The latter two options allow users to share files in their original quality and share sensitive information like location coordinates.
When sending an image through WhatsApp, the most common way 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 images as documents. The HD photo option allows users to send images without losing resolution, while the document option lets users share files up to 2GB and maintain original quality photos and videos.
While these options preserve 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 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. Additionally, users should 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 which can display coordinates of where the photo was taken. This poses potential privacy risks if shared with others.
It’s essential for users to be mindful of what information they include when sharing images through messaging platforms. They should take steps to protect their privacy by modifying image settings on their device’s camera or using third-party applications to remove sensitive metadata before sharing any photos or documents on WhatsApp or any other messaging platform.