Google has an excellent online photo service. It is unrivaled, and nobody in the tech world offers up something quite as easy to use, or as packed with features. Unfortunately, the Photos tool doesn’t have a native desktop application for Linux users, which means if you want to use Google Photos on Linux to manage your photos, you’ll have to deal with opening up a web browser.
If you’re sick of having to open up the browser to upload a photo or two, this guide is for you. Follow along to learn how to set up Google Photos on the Linux desktop.
Note: to use Google Photos with Imagenes or Nativefier; you’ll need to have a Google account. If you do not already have one, click here to create one.
Method 1 – Imagenes
Imagenes is one of the best ways to get easy access to Google Photos on Linux. To get access to the Imagenes application, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Once the terminal window is open, you’ll need to follow our guide on how to enable Snap packages on your Linux PC. As of now, Snaps are supported on Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Gentoo, and other distributions.
Note: not running a Linux distribution that has support for Snap packages? Consider installing Ubuntu. It has Snap support out of the box, and there’s no need to configure it!
With the Snap runtime up and running, you’ll be able to install the Imagenes application from the Snap store with the snap install command below.
sudo snap install imagenes
Let the app download and install. Once it’s done installing through the store, open up your app menu, and launch the application. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions to get set up with Google Photos.
Step 1: Load up Imagenes, look for the blue “Go to Google Photos” button and click on it to access the login page for Google.
Step 2: Fill out your Google account name, and password into the box so that you can log in to Google Photos in Imagenes.
Step 3: Once logged in, you’ll see your pictures accessible in the Imagenes application. Click “albums” to access your picture albums, or use the search box to find a particular photograph.
To upload photos to Imagenes, launch the Linux file manager, find a picture, and drag it directly into the app window. Or, hold Ctrl down, and select multiple with the mouse if you’d like to upload a few at a time.
Method 2 – Nativefier
Imagenes is a nifty application to install if you’re not interested in building your own Photos app. However, it hasn’t been updated in quite a while, so the UI needs work. Another way to make Photos accessible on the Linux desktop is to create your own with Nativefier.
The Nativefier application can package nearly any website as an electron app. However, you’ll need to install it first, before attempting to use it. To get the latest version of Nativefier, head over to our guide on how to use Nativefier. When done, open up a terminal window and follow the step-by-step instructions to build your own Google Photos app for Linux.
Step 1: Using the CD command, move into the temporary directory.
Step 2: In the temporary folder, use the mkdir command to create a new build directory for Nativefier to work in.
mkdir -p gphotos-linux-build-dir
Step 3: Move into the new build folder with CD.
Step 4: Using the wget download app, grab the Google Photos icon from Wikimedia.
wget https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/Google_Photos_icon.svg/1024px-Google_Photos_icon.svg.png -O icon.png
Step 5: Run the Nativfier command to generate a new Linux Electron binary. Keep in mind that when the app is building, it may fail. If it does, re-run the command.
nativefier -p linux -a x64 -i icon.png --disable-context-menu --disable-dev-tools --single-instance https://www.photos.google.com
Step 6: Rename the Google Photos build directory from “google-photos-all-your-photos-organized-and-easy-to-find-linux-x64 ” to “google-photos”.
mv google-photos-all-your-photos-organized-and-easy-to-find-linux-x64 google-photos
Step 7: Place the newly built app into the “opt” directory on your Linux PC.
sudo mv /tmp/gphotos-linux-build-dir/google-photos /opt
Step 8: Rename the Google Photos binary file from “google-photos-all-your-photos-organized-and-easy-to-find” to “google-photos” with the mv command.
sudo mv /opt/google-photos/google-photos-all-your-photos-organized-and-easy-to-find /opt/google-photos/google-photos
Step 9: Update the permissions of the app, so that users on your Linux PC have access to it.
sudo chmod 755 -R /opt/google-photos/
Step 10: Create a new desktop shortcut icon file.
sudo touch /usr/share/applications/google-photos.desktop
Step 11: Open up the new desktop shortcut file in the Nano text editor.
sudo nano -w /usr/share/applications/google-photos.desktop
Step 12: Paste the code below into the Nano text editor.
Comment[en_US]= Access Google Photos on Linux.
GenericName[en_US]=Google Photos desktop app.
Step 13: Save the edits to the file in Nano by pressing Ctrl + O. Exit with Ctrl + X.
Step 14: Update the permissions of the shortcut using chmod.
sudo chmod +x /usr/share/applications/google-photos.desktop
Step 15: Open your app menu, search for “Google Photos” and launch it. Then, sign in with your Google Photos account.
Once you’ve signed in to Google Photos in the app, you’ll be able to access your pictures by clicking “photos,” albums by clicking “albums,” or upload new things by clicking the “upload” button.