Organize your exported Google Photos collection with this Python script

Organize your exported Google Photos collection with this Python script

It was news we knew would eventually come. After offering free unlimited high-quality backups since 2015, Google Photos will begin counting storage for high-quality uploads against your Google Account beginning June 2, 2021.

Naturally, people have started to consider what they’ll do with their photo and video collection when the time comes. One option is to export your photos and go with an alternative service. You can use Google Takeout to download your entire library, but using that option may result in some headaches if you have a ton of photos and videos. That’s because, for whatever reason, Google chose to export photos separated by folders with .json files inside. But what if you just want to have a single folder containing all of your photos in chronological order, or if you want to organize all of your photos by month and year?

Google Photos export in Google Takeout

Exporting photos and videos from Google Photos using Google Takeout

The output folder structure from a Google Takeout export.

Luckily, there is a way to quickly organize your downloaded Google Photos after you’ve used Google Takeout. GitHub user TheLastGimbus created a Python script that will organize and clean up your Google Takeout export so you have one folder with all of your photos in chronological order or, alternatively, multiple folders with photos categorized by the year and month.

To run the script for your Photos export, you need to download and install Python 3 for your system. Then, you can install the script using Python’s pip command. Finally, you can execute the script after extracting the archive you downloaded from Google Takeout. You can find the full instructions provided by TheLastGimbus on GitHub below.

Google Photos Takeout Helper on GitHub

It’s hugely disappointing, but entirely expected, that Google is changing its policies around Photos. It’s been one of the company’s best services for years, so seeing it go behind a paywall makes it a lot less appealing. Also worth noting is that future Pixel phones won’t offer free unlimited photo uploads. But thankfully, you aren’t forced to stick around with the service, so you can download your photos and take them offline or move them to another service, and this Python script can help you save some headaches in the process.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.