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Script that organizes the Google Photos Takeout archive into one big chronological folder

Project description

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Google Photos Takeout Helper

What is this for?

If you ever want to move from Google Photos to other platform/solution, your fastest choice to export all photos is Google Takeout

But when you download it, you will find yourself with hundreds of little folders with few photos and weird .json files inside. What if you want to just have one folder with all photos, in chronological order? Good luck coping all of that :confused:

This script does just that - it organizes and cleans up your Takeout for you :+1:

It will take all of your photos from those tiny folders, set their exif and last modified, and other porperties correctly, and put it in one big folder (or folders divided by month)

How to use:

  1. Get all your photos in Google Takeout (select only Google Photos)
  2. pip3 install -U google-photos-takeout-helper
  3. Extract all contents from your Google Takeout to one folder
  4. Cut out/remove all "album folders" that aren't named "2016-06-16" or something like that
  5. Run google-photos-takeout-helper -i [INPUT TAKEOUT FOLDER] -o [OUTPUT FOLDER]

Alternatively, if you don't have PATH set right, you can call it python3 -m google_photos_takeout_helper

If you previously used this script in form where you download and run it - don't worry! Downloading it with pip is even simpler, and everything will work as previously :)

If, instead of one big folder, you want your photos to be divided by year and month, run it with --divide-to-dates flag.

How to use for dummies (non-programming people):

Click for detailed instructions

This script is written in Python. You need to install Python interpretert before you use it - don't worry, it's easy :wink: Then, everything with Python will be done through terminal/cmd

  1. Download and install Python for your system: (Google step by step installation instructions if you have trouble) - if the installator will ask you about some PATH and pip, make sure to check that too

Now, you need to install my script with pip - a builtin tool that can install other Python programs and scripts. You can run it either by typing pip3 <options> or python3 -m pip <options>:

  1. pip3 install -U google-photos-takeout-helper / python3 -m pip install -U google-photos-takeout-helper

If something goes wrong and it prints some red errors, try to add --user flag at the end

  1. Prepare your Takeout:

If your Takeout was dividied into multiple .zips, you will need to extract them, and move their contents into one folder.

Because I don't have good solution on how to handle albums, you will need to cut off all "Album folders" - those who are not named like "2016-06-26" or "2016-06-26 #2" - don't worry, all photos from albums are in corresponding "date folders" already - they would just make a duplicate.

Now, you should be able to just run it straight in cmd/terminal:

  1. google-photos-takeout-helper -i [INPUT TAKEOUT FOLDER] -o [OUTPUT FOLDER] // Or if this doesn't work: python3 -m google_photos_takeout_helper -i [INPUT TAKEOUT FOLDER] -o [OUTPUT FOLDER]

If you want your photos to be divided by year and month, run it with --divide-to-dates flag.

If you have issues/questions, you can hit me up either by Reddit, Twitter Email:, or if you think your issue is common: Issues tab

Why do you need to cut out albums?

They mostly contain duplicates of same photos that are in corresponding "date folder" This script tries to get all "photo taken time" stuff right. If it finds json - it sets everything from that json (it contains data of edited timestamp that you might've corrected in Google Photos). If it can't - it tries to get Exif data form photo. IF it can't find anything like that, it sets date from folder name.

All of this is so that you can then safely store ALL of your photos in one folder, and they will all be in right order.

Unless you move them around your Android phone.

Beware, that (99% of the times), if you move some files in Android, their creation and modification time is reseted to current.

"Simple Gallery" app usually keeps original file creation time when moving and coping (but I don't guarantee it). It's also pretty cool and you can check it out:

What to do when you got rid of Google Photos? What are the alternatives?

  • I really recommend you using Syncthing for syncing your photos and files across devices. It does so through your local WiFi, so you're not dependend on any service or internet connection. It will also keep original file creation date and metadata, so it resolves Android issue that I mentioned before.

  • If you want something more centralized but also self-hosted, Nextcloud is a nice choice, but it's approach to photos is still not perfect. (And you need to set up your own server)

  • Guys at Photoprims are working on full Google Photos alternative, with search and AI tagging etc, but it's stil work in progress. (I will edit this when they are done, but can't promise :P )

Other Takeout projects

I used this tool to export my notes to markdown - you can then edit them with any markdown editor you like :)

This one saves them in format ready for Evernote/ClintaNotes:

TODO (Pull Requests welcome):

  • Videos' Exif data
  • Gps data: from JSON to Exif
  • Some way to handle albums

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