the title says it all. is there a tool?

I installed ExifTool, but can't find a way to remove all at once with one command.


6 Answers 6

exiftool -all= inputfile

The latest version of exiftool supports most file formats.


  1. If the input file contained metadata, it removes the metadata and overwrites inputfile, but saves a copy of the original as inputfile_original in the same folder.
  2. If the input file did not contain metadata, it performs no changes.

There are options in ExifTool to delete the original file: -overwrite_original and -overwrite_original_in_place.

  • 1
    Easy to make a mistake, do note the = Jul 10, 2019 at 15:26
  • 3
    Be careful, this only hides data and does not delete it: askubuntu.com/questions/308250/…
    – baptx
    Apr 14, 2021 at 9:55
  • 1
    @baptx regarding PDF files, that is.
    – jarno
    Apr 14, 2021 at 21:17
  • @jarno indeed, at least for PDF files it was not enough but maybe there are also other file formats where using exiftool alone is not enough.
    – baptx
    Apr 15, 2021 at 10:11
  • @baptx, yes, hard to know.
    – jarno
    Apr 15, 2021 at 18:34

The Metadata anonymisation toolkit would do the trick for you. It has a GUI as well.

After Enabling the Universe Repository you can install it with:

sudo apt-get install mat
  • Doesn't support PDF files.
    – Foreever
    Apr 29, 2019 at 8:20
  • 1
    currently apt install mat actually installs the mat2 command. Here's its canonical repository. It's easy to use, just mat2 foo.jpg.
    – tedder42
    Feb 7, 2021 at 18:40
  • @Foreever it supports PDF files but compared to the combination of exiftool / qpdf, it does the PDF export as an image, which is less nice / accessible than a PDF that contains text that you can copy-paste. Maybe they do this on purpose so people cannot guess the date / software version used based on the PDF structure.
    – baptx
    Apr 14, 2021 at 10:31
  • I asked the author of mat2, he said it is possible to use text instead of images with the lightweight mode (-L option: 0xacab.org/jvoisin/mat2#notes-about-the-lightweight-mode) but it will not clean metadata of embedded resources like images (0xacab.org/jvoisin/mat2/-/blob/master/doc/…).
    – baptx
    Apr 22, 2021 at 10:06

Yes, there is a tool to remove metadata called exiv2.

Usage: exiv2 rm /path/to/location/files

  • 2
    thanks for the answer. but thats only for images, right?
    – aaaa
    Jun 14, 2013 at 17:10
  • @aaaa yes my friend.
    – Raja G
    Jun 14, 2013 at 17:37

When using the command exiftool -all= inputfile shared here on PDF files, I got this message:

Warning: [minor] ExifTool PDF edits are reversible. Deleted tags may be recovered!

And by looking for the error message on a search engine, I found https://exiftool.org/forum/index.php?topic=4722.0 with a link to https://exiftool.org/TagNames/PDF.html that mentions:

All metadata edits are reversible. While this would normally be considered an advantage, it is a potential security problem because old information is never actually deleted from the file. (However, after running ExifTool the old information may be removed permanently using the "qpdf" utility with this command: "qpdf --linearize in.pdf out.pdf".)

So if you really want to delete the metadata from PDF files so it cannot be recovered instead of just hiding it, you should use the command qpdf --linearize in.pdf out.pdf afterwards.

If you want to try to recover the hidden / removed metadata from PDF files, the man page https://exiftool.org/exiftool_pod.html explains how to do it:

Changes to PDF files by ExifTool are reversible (by deleting the update with -PDF-update:all=) because the original information is never actually deleted from the file. So ExifTool alone may not be used to securely edit metadata in PDF files.

So the command will be something like exiftool -PDF-update:all= inputfile. You can then check the properties of the file in your PDF viewer to see if the metadata is restored.

Note: this solution does not clean metadata of embedded resources like images unlike the tool mat2 shared in another answer (except when using lightweight mode: https://0xacab.org/jvoisin/mat2/-/blob/master/doc/implementation_notes.md#lightweight-cleaning-mode). But images metadata is not always present in PDF files. For example to do a PDF export with LibreOffice Writer and keep metadata, we need to disable "Reduce image resolution" (an answer also mentioned that we need to enable "Lossless compression" but I did not need it: https://security.stackexchange.com/questions/185507/does-embedding-images-in-pdf-retain-metadata). Then I was able to save the image with metadata from the PDF file with LibreOffice Draw and view the metadata with GIMP in the menu "Image -> Metadata -> View Metadata".


You can use Metadata Extraction Tool

The Metadata Extract Tool includes a number of 'adapters' that extract metadata from specific file types. Extractors are currently provided for:

  • Images: BMP, GIF, JPEG and TIFF.
  • Office documents: MS Word (version 2, 6), Word Perfect, Open Office (version 1), MS Works, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, and PDF.
  • Audio and Video: WAV, MP3 (normal and with ID3Tags), BFW, FLAC.
  • Markup languages: HTML and XML.
  • Internet files: ARC

If a file type is unknown the tool applies a generic adapter, which extracts data that the host system 'knows' about any given file (such as size, file name, and date created).

For more information, and to download visit Metadata Extraction Tool

Source:Metadata Extraction Tool

  • 1
    This program seems to only read the metadata, not remove it. Jul 30, 2017 at 5:18
  • 1
    Error: Writing of MKV files is not yet supported Apr 12, 2022 at 19:31

First, install exiftool using this command:

sudo apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl

Then, go into the directory with the JPEG files. If you want to remove metadata from every file in the directory, use

exiftool -all= *.jpg

For single file, use

exiftool -all= <filename>.jpg
  • This doesn't work for mp3 files
    – baxx
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:43
  • @baxx OP does not mentioned to use this with .mp3 files
    – Hassaan
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:47
  • 2
    mp3 is a common file type that uses meta data and it's likely that someone will find this post as a result of searching ( I did )
    – baxx
    Jan 11, 2019 at 17:52
  • Be careful, like the other answer, this only hides data and does not delete it: askubuntu.com/questions/308250/…
    – baptx
    Apr 14, 2021 at 10:08

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