Is it possible to upload photos to Google Drive (not the /Google Photos folder) and still view them through Google Photos?

I'm asking this because of the following: Usually I have two sources of photos, those taken with my smartphone, which get uploaded instantly to Google Photos, and photos from other cameras or friends' cameras, which I upload manually to Google Drive.

I could upload the latter to Google Photos, but in that case they will be sorted into /Google Photos/YEAR/MONTH which is not very useful (I'd rather prefer my original structure, as these photos are "occasion-related", e.g. /Other Photos/YEAR/Summer-Vacation-France). It is possible to upload them to Google Drive in my desired folder structure, but then I won't be able to view them in Google Photos.

In any case I want to use Google Photos as a web photo management software for ALL my photos, as it is very comfortable to have everything readily available when not having access to my computer (besides that, I sync Google Drive and thereby also Google Photos with my Mac, and use the local files for my desktop photo library).

Any sugggestions are appreciated!


3 Answers 3


Yes, Google Photos can access photos saved in Google Drive. The Google Drive search view in Google Photos displays photos by date, not by the Google Drive folder structure.

From How Google Drive works with Google Photos - Photos Help

View your Google Drive photos & videos in Google Photos

In Google Photos, you can do things like create collages and GIFs, edit your photos, make movies, and share with people you care about.

You'll see your Google Drive photos and videos in the "Photos" section of the Google Photos app, but you can also see just your Google Drive photos & videos using the Google Photos app.



  1. Go to photos.google.com/search.
  2. At the bottom right, click Google Drive.


Note: If you edit a photo in Google Photos, those edits don't show in the Drive version of the photo. To have the edited photo appear in your Drive folder, download the edited photo in Google Photos and upload it to your Drive folder.

  • I'm sorry, but I already tried this (actually the fact that this was mentioned on Google, but doesn't seem to work, was why I came here in the first place). I also checked for the correct date, but didn't find anything. See My Drive Photos returns "No results".
    – snurden
    Jun 30, 2015 at 22:24
  • @snurden: I think that you have an issue so you could require troubleshooting guidance. Consider to post a help request into the Official Google Photos Help Community Jun 30, 2015 at 22:59

Just found out what is the problem, might also be interesting for other people: Google Photos Settings has an option "Google Drive" that must be enabled first - otherwise your photos won't show up.

I can confirm this works, all photos from Google Drive then show up in Google Photos, sorted by date.

However, there are some issues when it comes to searching through these photos: "June 2015" will only show photos from Google Photos, not Drive, but "2015" for some reason works for both. Then again, "2008" won't show me any photos from Google Drive that were taken 2008. Searching for file names like "IMG_012345" will work, for both Google Photos and Drive. This is really confusing... The initial question has been answered, but I will update this answer if I find out what's wrong with Google Photos' search. If you know anything, let me know!


Pictures that were shared with me via Google Drive, and I saved into my Drive - were only shown in my "Google Photos" Folder of Google Drive, but were missing from my Google Photos Web App.

Many attempts to enable "Google Photos" in "Google Drive", and vise versa, did not work. The only thing that worked eventually, was to make a copy of the pictures into a new folder in Google Drive:

enter image description here

Then, going to Google Photos Web App, and searching for that new folder name, I could finally see the "hidden" photos!

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