June 14, 2021

search by date to instantly find old pictures in Google Photos


Google Photos is designed to be the one place where all your pics live, but what good is simple storage if you can’t find the shots you’re looking for? Thankfully, Photos has some great search tools, and in addition to helping you find pics featuring a particular subject, it can even narrow down your search based on when you uploaded them. What about if you’re looking for photos across a particular time frame?

If you happen to know what day or month your photo was taken, there’s an easy way to go right to it. Just put the date in the search bar, and Photos will immediately return photos taken and uploaded to your account on that day. The search string works in the month-day-year (8-1-2019) format for me, but I’m in the US—it might be different elsewhere.

It’s a perfect way to find photos from birthdays, holidays, et cetera. The same date string search will work on the web version of Photos, as well as the iOS app.

https://www.androidpolice.com/

Photos doesn’t seem to be able to parse speech-style dates: writing out “August 1st, 2019” showed me all of the photos from that month, starting with the latter ones. Trying the same trick for more general terms isn’t as useful; a search for “Monday” included a bunch of screenshots I’d taken that just happened to have Monday in the text of the page, returning results based on OCR instead of a timeframe.

You can add modifiers to your search, like “dogs 10-14-2020.” You can even combine these modifiers and ranges: “dogs 2015-2020.” And you can also search using time modifiers, like “photos before 1-1-2021” or “photos after 1-1-2021”. Oddly, combining specific terms with the before or after modifiers doesn’t seem to work, and I couldn’t get it to apply modifiers to more specific day and month dates.

https://www.androidpolice.com/ https://www.androidpolice.com/ https://www.androidpolice.com/

Even so, this is a great way to quickly dial into specific photos based on a very narrow range. Give it a shot the next time you’re looking for one.

Google Photos
Google Photos

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