May 25, 2022

You Can Reveal Sensitive Information Blacked Out in Images with a Few Quick Edits on Your iPhone.

Most of the images we post online or share with others these days are taken with our smartphones. When they contain personal data, such as debit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information, it’s simple to use your iPhone’s markup tools to blackout the text before sharing. However, a digital marker may not be able to conceal everything.

When you use Markup in iOS, whether from Photos, Files, Mail, another app or directly in the screenshot editor, you may only be hiding a portion of the data you want to keep private. The marker, sometimes known as a highlighter, is a popular tool for rapid obfuscation due to its broad strokes. However, it has an opacity issue that is not obvious to the human eye.

Because it’s a highlighter rather than a solid marker, a single swipe with your finger generates even with the opacity set to 100%. A translucent layer above the text effectively highlights it. The effect overlays as you swipe your finger back and forth a few times, creating what appears to be a non-transparent solid line that conceals the material beneath it. However, for many colours, mainly black and white, you can adjust the marker in editing to reveal the sensitive information it is concealing.

iOS versions affected: iOS 15, iOS 14, iOS 13, iOS 12, iOS 11.

Don’t Miss: How to Enable or Disable TikTok Comments

Using Markup Tools to Black Out Text

Put it to the test by obscuring some text in a photo or screenshot with Markup’s highlighter. If you already have some obfuscated images, you can skip to the next section to learn how to decipher what’s hidden.

Take a screenshot and tap the thumbnail — or open an image or document in an app such as Photos, Files, or Mail — and then look for the Markup tools. After that, select the highlighter tool, which resembles a thick marker. Tap the highlighter once more to adjust the thickness and opacity (make sure the slider is to the far right). Then, select black, the most commonly used colour for obfuscation using the colour picker.

Draw your finger over the information you wish to hide a few times back and forth until you can’t see it. To adequately conceal the text, you may need to apply several layers. When you’re finished, save the image or document as you usually would.

Getting Rid of Highlighter Obfuscation in Images

Now comes the exciting part. Locate an image with blacked-out text, open it in the Photos app, and then tap “Edit” in the top right to access the image editor. To remove the highlighter, use the tools at the bottom. Depending on how many black strokes are obscuring, you can uncover the text with two to six modifications. Experiment with the following and observe the results: Experiment with the following and observe the results:

  • Brilliance-100%
  • Shadows-100%
  • Brightness-100%

If you still can’t figure out what’s going on, try:

  • Exposure-100%
  • Highlights-100%
  • Contrast-100%

If necessary, zoom in on the highlighted area to get a better view of it. You won’t be able to see everything beneath the black highlighter, but you should be able to see enough. If it’s a phone number, email address, password, or username,

Many other factors may make this process easier or more difficult. If the black highlighter isn’t too thick, Instead of using all six adjustment tools, with just two or three of these, you might be able to get rid of it. Furthermore, the colour of the text and background may make the process more difficult. Removing the highlighter will be easier if you work with black or dark text on a light background. However, if the text is light, such as yellow, and the background is light, you may have difficulty seeing what’s beneath the black highlighter.

Experimenting with Different Background and Highlighter Colors

Depending on the highlighter’s colour, you may need to use additional photo editing tools or adjust the same tools up or down. Try using a red highlighter with Brightness (100), for example. If that doesn’t work, try Highlights as well (100). Is it still a no-go? Then experiment with some of the other adjustment tools.

For white highlighter try:

  • Sharpness (100)
  •  Brightness (–100)
  • Contrast (–100) 
  •  Brilliance (100)

 Several different highlighter colours are shown below and how photo editing tools affect them.

It doesn’t make much difference if you’re in Dark Mode. a black and white highlighter will vanish with the right tools, as shown below.

Don’t Miss:

Making it harder for others to find your personal information

You don’t have to abandon the Markup tools to conceal sensitive data. It’s still possible to make your creations vanish and never return. And if everything else fails, there are third-party solutions.

1st Tip:

Increase the Number of Highlighter Layers

The highlighter, which provides the best appearance, can still conceal content. More layers are required. Instead of merely swiping back and forth across the region you wish to hide, lift your finger off the screen before each next swipe. This will result in heavier layers of highlighter, making it much more difficult to reveal with simple adjustment tweaks.

2nd Tip:

Use the Highlighter on Specific Settings Pages

If you take a snapshot of a particular piece of information on your iPhone, iOS will recognise it, believe it or not, that data when you use Markup tools. It appears to work better when blurring from an app like Photos rather than the screenshot editor, so use caution.

For instance, on the “About” page, go to Settings –> General. iOS will believe you’re highlighting anything if you swipe once or twice on it, such as your serial number or IMEI. However, if you swipe three or four times, iOS will believe you are attempting to hide it and assist you by making it impossible to see. It only takes two swipes.

A screenshot in “Passwords” (iOS 14, iOS 15), “Passwords & Accounts” (iOS 12, iOS 13), or “Accounts & Passwords” (iOS 11) in Settings automatically removes the password from the page — a useful security feature. However, you can obfuscate the username with three or four swipes.

3rd Tip:

 Instead, use the Pen Tool

In Markup, the pen tool (the symbol on the far left) is a solid “marker.” A single layer of the pen in any colour, set to 100% opacity, is enough to hide what’s below from prying eyes and picture editing tools.

Although it behaves more like a highlighter, a pencil tool is an option since effective obfuscation requires many layers. Someone might expose the knowledge later if the layers are thin. When you need absolute confidence, staying with the pen is preferable.

4rth Tip:

Alternatively, use the Shape Tool.

You might also use another Markup tool to disguise information. Rather than using the sketching tools, select one of the shapes by clicking the addition (+) button in the bottom right corner. Place it over the text to be hidden, then click the bottom-left symbol to reveal other possibilities.

You can use the arrow tool to draw a thick line instead of a narrow one. To make everything a solid colour, fill in the comment box, square, and circle. Then, if the current colour isn’t what you want, you may select a new one. There’s no way to show what’s underlying no matter what you do with the picture editing tools later.

5th Tip:

Use a third-party app designed to conceal personal information.

Better, you could disguise sensitive information and faces using expert software. You may use a heavy-duty marker to hide information, as well as an outstanding blur tool to obscure faces, with Everest Pipkin’s Image Scrubber. You may even erase the location metadata from a photo so that no one can figure out where it was taken. Many applications are available, but this online tool is our current favourite.

Don’t Miss: How to Block Spam Snapchat Messages

2 thoughts on “You Can Reveal Sensitive Information Blacked Out in Images with a Few Quick Edits on Your iPhone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.