Initial Setup

Before you run gphotos_sync for the first time you will need to create your own OAuth client ID. This is a once only operation and the instructions are here: Creating an OAuth Client ID.

  • Once the client ID is created, download it as client_secret.json and save it under the application configuration directory:

    • ~/Library/Application Support/gphotos-sync/ under Mac OS X,

    • ~/.config/gphotos-sync/ under Linux,

    • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\gphotos-sync\gphotos-sync\ under Windows.

If you are running Windows, also see Additional Setup for Windows Machines.

You are ready to run gphotos-sync for the first time, either locally or inside of a container. The first run will require a user login see User Login OAuth Flow

Execute in a container

This project now automatically releases a container image with each release. The latest image will be here

Your container has two volumes /config for the client_secret.json file and /storage for the backup data. You should map these to host folders if you want to see them outside of the container.

Hence the typical way to launch the container with docker runtime would be:

$ CONFIG=$HOME/.config/gphotos-sync
$ STORAGE=$HOME/My_photos_backup
$ docker run --rm -v $CONFIG:/config -v $STORAGE:/storage -p 8080:8080 -it /storage

The options -p 8080:8080 -it are required for the first invocation only, so that the browser can find authentication service.

Note that the authentication flow uses a redirect url that sends authentication token back to the process. The default redirect is localhost:8080 and you can adjust the port with --port<PORT_NUMBER>.

Headless gphotos-sync Servers

The authentication flow only allows localhost for security reasons so the first run must always be done on a machine with a browser.

If you are running on a NAS or other headless server you will first need to run locally so that you can do initial login flow with a browser. Then copy <TARGET>/.gphotos.token to the server. For this first run you could use the following options so that no backup is performed:

--skip-files --skip-albums --skip-index

Local Installation

To install on your workstation (linux Mac or Windows) follow this section.

Check your version of python

You will need python 3.7 or later. You can check your version of python by typing into a terminal:

python3 --version

Create a virtual environment

It is recommended that you install into a “virtual environment” so this installation will not interfere with any existing Python software:

python3 -m venv /path/to/venv
source /path/to/venv/bin/activate

Install gphotos-sync

You can now use pip to install the application:

python3 -m pip install gphotos-sync

If you require a feature that is not currently released you can also install directly from github:

python3 -m pip install git+

The application should now be installed and the commandline interface on your path. You can check the version that has been installed by typing:

gphotos-sync --version

Running gphotos-sync

To begin a backup with default settings create a new empty TARGET DIRECTORY in which your backups will go and type:

gphotos-sync <TARGET_DIRECTORY>

For the first invocation you will need login the user whose files you are backing up, see User Login OAuth Flow.

Once this process has started it will first index all of your library and then start a download of the files. The download is multithreaded and will use most of your internet bandwidth, you can throttle it if needed using the --threads option.

For a description of additional command line parameters type:

gphotos-sync --help

As the download progresses it will create folders and files in your target directory. The layout of these is described in Folder Layout.

Next time you run gphotos-sync it will incrementally download all new files since the previous. It is OK to abort gphotos-sync and restart it, this will just cause it to continue from where the abort happened.