WhatsApp offers several options for sending files through the platform. Users can attach content from the gallery, send an image in HD quality, or attach a document, with the latter two options allowing files to be sent in original quality. This can pose a risk as it may inadvertently share private data such as the location of the place where the photograph was taken.
The most common option for sending images is to access the ‘Attach’ button and choose the ‘Camera’ or ‘Gallery’ option. However, WhatsApp automatically compresses the image when sending, resulting in a loss of resolution. To address this issue, WhatsApp introduced the option to send high-quality (HD) photos in August last year, allowing users to send images and videos without losing resolution on both iOS and Android devices.
Another option for sending files is as a document, which allows users to send original quality photos and videos from the device gallery without risking them being compressed. However, this method can also introduce sensitive information about the image, such as its location, through image metadata, known as the Exchange Image File Format (EXIF) tags.
Sharing these files through WhatsApp can inadvertently share sensitive data with other users. For example, it is possible to access this information through the Google Files app, which can display the location coordinates of a photo.
To address this concern and protect user privacy, WhatsApp users should be mindful of how they share personal content through the platform and be aware of the potential risks associated with sharing files in certain formats. Additionally, they should explore options to erase metadata from their photo files if they wish to avoid sharing sensitive data.