Want to remove metadata from your files on Linux easily?

If so, check out Metadata Cleaner. This Python-based app gives you a simple GTK4/libadwaita frontend to mat2, a comprehensive command-line metadata removal tool.

But what is “metadata” and why might you wish to remove it?

I’ll allow this app’s homepage to explain:

Metadata within a file can tell a lot about you. Cameras record data about when and where a picture was taken and which camera was used. Office applications automatically add author and company information to documents and spreadsheets. This is sensitive information and you may not want to disclose it.

If you’re concerned about privacy and/or inadvertently sharing data about yourself, you can use Metadata Cleaner to check for and view metadata attached to your files — and remove it or as much of it as possible, should you wish.

Strip extraneous data from files quickly

While Metadata Cleaner is not the only tool capable of removing file metadata on Linux it’s the most user-friendly and well-featured:

  • View file metadata
  • One-click removal of metadata
  • Lightweight cleaning mode
  • Remove metadata from multiple files
  • Remove metadata from files in folder(s) 
  • Keyboard shortcuts

It has broad (though not exhaustive) file support covering most “common” file formats, including JPG, GIF, MP3, MP4, ODF, ODT, PDF, DOCX, SVG, WAV, ZIP, TAR.x, EPUB, CSS and more.

How does it work? The app copies the contents of a file(s) with metadata attached to a new file without copying the metadata across. It then copies the new file back to the original, overwriting it.

Because of this there are caveats to be aware of.

Not all metadata can or will be detected, parsed, and removed; and some files (mainly documents and PDFs) may be ‘affected’ by metadata removal (such as PDF text no-longer being selectable, compressed images being re-compressed, etc).

For this reason you’re advised to backup super-important files before you pass them through this app, and where possible use the “lightweight cleaning” mode.

Be aware of the data you share inadvertently

Metadata Cleaner is free, open source software. You can find the source-code on Gitlab (where is where bugs should be reported).

• Get Metadata Cleaner on Flathub