a screenshot of the metadata cleaner app for Linux

Looking for a simple, straightforward way to remove metadata from photos, MP3s, PDF documents, and other files on Linux?

The GTK-based Metadata Cleaner app on Flathub looks ideal.

This Python-based GTK app lets you view and clean metadata from a variety of file types. The app is totally open source and leverages the mat2 library for its file-washing abilities.

While most metadata routinely embedded in files is innocuous or banal some may reveal more information than you’d like.

For example, photos taken on most cameras and smartphones embed a data about where a picture was taken, the device it was taken on, and more as EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format). You don’t need to be über-paranoid to want to remove location data from photos you share with others!

But other types of software attach addendum to files they create too, as the project description notes: “Office applications automatically add author and company information to documents and spreadsheets. This is sensitive information and you may not want to disclose it.”

screenshot of metadata cleaner for linux showing a successfully cleaned message
Spot-clean your selfies

Metadata Cleaner lets you scan files/folders for ancillary additions, shows you what it finds, and gives you a one-click ‘Clean’ that will attempt to remove as much of the data as possible (it says it does this by saving the contents of the file as a new, albeit overwriting the original in the process so do backup anything important as it suggests).

The app also includes a lightweight cleaning option. This less abrasive approach should be used when cleaning PDFs to ensures fillable fields and text remain selectable, or when cleaning compressed images that you don’t want to re-compress during cleaning.

In summary, Metadata Cleaner is a well designed and easy to use utility that’s worth having in the toolbox for times when you want to share a file, but not anything else.

You’ll find Metadata Cleaner on Flathub, and source code on Gitlab. An older version is available to install from the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS repo.

Apps GTK Apps metadata utility