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

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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 properties correctly, and put it in one big folder (or folders divided by a month)


  • If you have new "year folders" (that is, few folders named like "Photos from 2012") (+albums) - use the newest version 2.0.0rc1
    • pip install -U google-photos-takeout-helper==2.0.0rc
  • If you have old "date folders" (that is, ton of folders named like "2012-06-23") - use version 1.2.0
    • pip install -U google-photos-takeout-helper==1.2.0

I don't know if new version fully works, so let me know if it doesn't :+1:

How to use:

  1. Get all your photos in Google Takeout (select only Google Photos)
  2. pip install -U google-photos-takeout-helper
  3. Extract all contents from your Google Takeout to one folder
  4. 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, instead of one big folder, you want your photos to be divided by a 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 interpreter 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 installer 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 pip <options> or python3 -m pip <options>:

  1. pip install -U google-photos-takeout-helper

// Or python3 -m pip install -U google-photos-takeout-helper

// Watch out for versions, described in "BIG DISCLAIMER" above

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 divided into multiple .zips, you will need to extract them, and move their contents into one folder. 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]

// Ps note: Don't use the "[ ]" in the command above.

If you want your photos to be divided by a 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

...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 Photoprism 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 - Thank you @DalenW :sparkling_heart:
  • Some way to handle albums - THANK YOU @bitsondatadev :kissing_heart: :tada: :woman_dancing:

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