1. Go to Google Photos
  2. Add a few photos to a photo album
  3. Go back to All Photos

See all of the photos there, even ones you copied to the Album. No problem here, per se. At least not yet.

What if you want to delete photos that you did not copy to that album? Where is the selector or filter that filters those "in an album already" photos from this main view? Or is there a way to create such a filtered view such that I can then cherry-pick photos for deletion?

6 Answers 6


So, this is a bit of an old question.. but it still doesn't seem to be solved. Here are some additional people complaining about the issue...

I have many thousands of photos (~10k) in Google Photos and I wasn't about to manually go through each one by one - so instead I hacked together a little tool that uses the Google Photos API to get a list of URLs for photos that are NOT in any album.

The Google Photos API also provides no direct way to find not-in-album photos! So my tool builds a list of ALL photos and then goes through each album's photos individually and removes them from the all-photos list.. finally resulting in a list of photos that are NOT in any album.

It can take a while (with 10k photos, like 10+ min? I didn't time it). This isn't helped by the fact that the API only allows a few photo entries to be returned per API request (so it has to do a ton of requests to get them all).

I just hacked the tool together, so there may be bugs? But it should be safe (it only asks for read-only permissions), and it seemed to work fine for me. It simply outputs a list of URLs (for out-of-album photos) - it DOES NOT delete them or put them in an album or anything (although that could be done via the API it was more dangerous and I didn't need that feature myself).

The tool's source-code can be found here: https://github.com/jonagh/gapi-querier

You can run it directly off of github here: https://jonagh.github.io/gapi-querier

However, you will need to create Google API credentials (and get the client ID to enable access to the Google API).. some basic direction on how to go about doing that is in the readme (see: https://github.com/jonagh/gapi-querier).

Note that this is not a professional tool, it may have bugs, it may not be user friendly, it may require some technical knowledge to get it to work (ie Google API credentials), use at your own risk (though it should be fine).

  • 1
    I verified this works. Thank you!!!
    – bgoodr
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 15:09
  • 1
    Verified that it works. It took several minutes for the process to finish, and another several minutes for the list of photos to render, but it's exactly the kind of tool that I needed. Thanks!
    – bobasti
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 19:23
  • Wow, it took just 15 minutes - much faster than I expected! Thanks!
    – DimanNe
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 9:03

At this time it's not possible.


Other similar posts

Google Photos Help Forum

  • 43
    This is incredibly annoying.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 20:25
  • 5
    I can't believe they didn't implement this by now, this is like a basic feature that any photo manager should have Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 21:30
  • 5
    I am ready to throw Google out the window. Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 6:11
  • This is what happens you make engineers design everything.. or arrogant people who want to tell the world how simple things like photos should be managed.. not having this feature is outright silly and as of today it is still not there.. how do you make so called great "Product Managers" listen to us?
    – endless
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 0:01
  • 1
    One suggestion I can give is, you can download the photos from each album, upload them to Flickr (1TB at original quality), as Albums and delete everything in google photos and never come back..
    – endless
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 0:11

I did it!

Shift dates for photos in albums. Act on the remaining photos as desired. Shift the dates back again.

Open your albums one by one. For each album:

  • Select every photo (click first photo and SHIFT + Click the last photo)
  • Click kebab menu (three dots)

  • Select Edit Date and Time

  • Shift dates and times

  • Change the century to 10xx: If the latest photo was 2019 change the century to 1019, change an album with latest photo of 2008 to 1008. If you have 1999 photos then work it out yourself :) )

  • Preview. Google shifts all dates and times by the same amount so they stay in order.
  • Save
  • Repeat for all albums

Now all photos in all albums are at the very bottom of your timeline. Any that did not get shifted are not in an album, and at the top of your timeline. You can now add them to existing or new albums as you wish - do it left to right top to bottom and they all get added/ deleted / left out of an album deliberately.

To restore, go to the bottom of your timeline for the 1xxx dates (may be your whole time line if you have date shifted all photos))

  • Select all photos in the date range of 1919 (or whatever you chose) and earlier.
  • Click kebab menu (three dots)
  • Select Edit Date and Time
  • Shift dates and times
  • Change century back to 20xx
  • Preview. Google shifts all dates and times by the same amount so they stay in order.
  • Save

So there is some manual work, but only as many operations as you have albums + 1 (restore). Please proceed with caution to make sure you don't mess up all your dates. Maybe you can do a bulk copy/ backup or something first.

Please comment if this does or does not work for you.

P.S. Sometimes you add new photos to an album and it doesn't sort them by date so you can't redate the new additions. You can fix this, although many threads say you can't. Go into the album, click the kebab menu, "Edit Album", two up/down arrows appear top right - click these and you get the choice to sort by date (or recently added - also useful).

  • "Select every photo" is a time-consuming operation. See "I wasn't about to manually go through each one by one" in the currently accepted answer at webapps.stackexchange.com/a/125617/14529 for why I have accepted that one.
    – bgoodr
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 0:05
  • Select every photo - just click the first and last is what you do here, not time consuming. Still should be in the product but this work around works.
    – Quentin
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 1:15
  • "Open your albums one by one" is still a repetitive manual operation.
    – bgoodr
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 14:47
  • I did not find a single secret magic button that automatically did it all, true. That's why we have a thread here. I edited the restore to make it just one step. So, unlike Google's suggestion, you don't need to open each photo, but each album once.
    – Quentin
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 15:39
  • I have high tens of albums….
    – Ed Randall
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 5:34

Given that this issue is "prone to evolving", I am posting an updated answer.

As of today, this is not yet possible. Besides the posts listed by Rubén, I am adding:

Google Photos Help Forum

There it is suggested that users keep tweeting to @dflieb (head of Google photos), perhaps they feel a little more "encouraged" to add this feature.

  • 1
    One suggestion in the linked post is to Archive photos that are in an album. However you can't archive from within an album.
    – seb
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 4:13

IT IS POSSIBLE!! Sort of..

You can select the photos, + them into an album, and then archive them! (Found in the menu at the top right while selected).

Unfortunately there is no way to easily see which photos you have already sorted into folders so you'll have to do them all again and forever really… but hopefully this helps a little! It has for me :)

You can also just sort photos from the albums' on your device by going to Albums then your Camera album. Select the photos you want moved and then DO NOT use the +, instead select the menu in the top right corner and then Move to folder.
The + is just tagging the photo to an album without moving it. I don't think sorting them in this way takes them out of your main Google photos though so keep in mind it is separate.

  • 1
    "then select your Camera album". Such does not exist in my view from my browser, in the Albums area. And this supposes I want to first move many photos into an album, but that is not what the title of the original question asked to do. I don't want to move them all, I want to list the ones that are not in an album already.
    – bgoodr
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 20:14
  • Edited my answer!! Think I found a solution using the archive feature! And also just noticed it was posted in someone's comment previously..
    – JCole
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 5:38
  • I not only do not want to Archive them all, I don't want to move them yet. I want to be able to see them so that I can then make a decision about which albums they need to go into.
    – bgoodr
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 12:44

If you open the album and then tap on the + sign at the top, it would show you which photos are already selected and which ones aren't. You can then select the ones that aren't. There is no way to find photos not already in an album.

  • It should be safe, and it seemed to work fine for me. It simply outputs a list of URLs (for out-of-album photos) - it deletes them or puts them in an album or anything. Although that could be done via the API. Meanwhile, you can try the bright pink suit Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 6:17

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