Apply filters

Required authentication scope

The Google Photos Library API contains multiple scopes used to access media items and albums. The media items returned from various calls are different based on which scopes have been requested by the developer.

The .readonly scope allows access to all media items in the user's library. The .readonly.appcreateddata scope allows access only to media items that were created by the app. For more information, see Authentication and authorization scopes.

Available filters

You can search a user's library for specific kinds of media. For example, you might only want items that are of animals, from a certain day, or you may wish to exclude photos of receipts. You can exclude or include specific items by applying filters to an album or library listing. There are five available filters based on media item properties:

Filters shouldn't be used in a mediaItems:search request if the albumId is set. If a filter is used when the albumId is set, an INVALID_ARGUMENT error (400) is returned.

Allow some time for newly uploaded media to appear in your searches. The media appears in unfiltered searches immediately.

Media items that have a date in the future don't appear in filtered searches. They appear in unfiltered searches and album searches.

Applying a filter

To apply a filter, call mediaItems.search and specify the filter property.

REST

Here is a POST request:

POST https://photoslibrary.googleapis.com/v1/mediaItems:search
Content-type: application/json
Authorization: Bearer oauth2-token
{
  "pageSize": "100",
  "filters": {
    ...
  }
}

The POST request returns the following response:

{
  "mediaItems": [
    ...
  ],
  "nextPageToken": "token-for-pagination"
}

Java

try {
  // Create a new Filter object
  Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
      // .setContentFilter(...)
      // .setDateFilter(...)
      // ...
      .build();

  // Specify the Filter object in the searchMediaItems call
  SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);
  for (MediaItem item : response.iterateAll()) {
    // ...
  }
} catch (ApiException e) {
  // Handle error
}

PHP

try {
    $filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
    // $filtersBuilder->addIncludedCategory(...);
    // $filtersBuilder->addDate(...);
    // ...
    // Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
    $response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
        ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
    );
    foreach ($response->iterateAllElements() as $element) {
        // ...
    }
} catch (\Google\ApiCore\ApiException $e) {
    // Handle error
}

For details, see List library contents, albums, and media items.

Content categories

All media items are processed and assigned labels. You can include and exclude any of the following categories.

ANIMALS FASHION LANDMARKS RECEIPTS WEDDINGS
ARTS FLOWERS LANDSCAPES SCREENSHOTS WHITEBOARDS
BIRTHDAYS FOOD NIGHT SELFIES  
CITYSCAPES GARDENS PEOPLE SPORT  
CRAFTS HOLIDAYS PERFORMANCES TRAVEL  
DOCUMENTS HOUSES PETS UTILITY  

Utility photos cover a broad range of media. This category generally includes items the user has captured to perform some task and is unlikely to want after that task is completed. It includes documents, receipts, screenshots, sticky notes, menus, and other similar media items.

The categories are only as accurate as the equivalent labels in Google Photos. On occasion, items may be mislabeled, so we don't guarantee the accuracy of the content category filters.

Including categories

When you include multiple categories, media items that match any of the categories are included. A maximum of 10 categories can be included per request. This example filter returns any items of LANDSCAPES or LANDMARKS.

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "contentFilter": {
      "includedContentCategories": [
        "LANDSCAPES",
        "LANDMARKS"
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a content filter that includes landmarks and landscapes
ContentFilter contentFilter = ContentFilter.newBuilder()
    .addIncludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.LANDMARKS)
    .addIncludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.LANDSCAPES)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setContentFilter(contentFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filter object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a content filter that includes landmarks and landscapes
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->addIncludedCategory(ContentCategory::LANDMARKS);
$filtersBuilder->addIncludedCategory(ContentCategory::LANDSCAPES);
// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Excluding categories

Only media items that don't match any of the excluded categories are shown. Similar to the included categories, a maximum of 10 categories can be excluded per request.

This filter returns any items that aren't PEOPLE or SELFIES:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "contentFilter": {
      "excludedContentCategories": [
        "PEOPLE",
        "SELFIES"
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a content filter that excludes people and selfies
ContentFilter contentFilter = ContentFilter.newBuilder()
    .addExcludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.PEOPLE)
    .addExcludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.SELFIES)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setContentFilter(contentFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filter object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a content filter that excludes people and selfies
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->addExcludedCategory(ContentCategory::PEOPLE);
$filtersBuilder->addExcludedCategory(ContentCategory::SELFIES);
// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Including and excluding multiple categories

You can include some categories and exclude others. The following example returns LANDSCAPES and LANDMARKS, but removes any media items that contain PEOPLE or that are SELFIES:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "contentFilter": {
      "includedContentCategories": [
        "LANDSCAPES",
        "LANDMARKS"
      ],
      "excludedContentCategories": [
        "PEOPLE",
        "SELFIES"
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a content filter that excludes people and selfies and includes landmarks and landscapes
ContentFilter contentFilter = ContentFilter.newBuilder()
    .addIncludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.LANDSCAPES)
    .addIncludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.LANDMARKS)
    .addExcludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.PEOPLE)
    .addExcludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.SELFIES)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setContentFilter(contentFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a content filter that excludes people and selfies and includes landmarks and landscapes
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->addIncludedCategory(ContentCategory::LANDMARKS);
$filtersBuilder->addIncludedCategory(ContentCategory::LANDSCAPES);
$filtersBuilder->addExcludedCategory(ContentCategory::PEOPLE);
$filtersBuilder->addExcludedCategory(ContentCategory::SELFIES);
// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Dates and date ranges

Date filters restrict the date of the returned results to a specified set of days. There are two ways to specify a date filter: dates, or ranges. Dates and ranges can be used together. Media items that match any of the dates or date ranges are returned.

When your query can be represented in a date format, use dates. Use ranges when you require more flexibility. There's a limit of 5 dates and 5 ranges per request.

Dates

A date contains a year, month, and day. The following formats are acceptable:

  • Year
  • Year, month
  • Year, month, day
  • Month, day
  • Month

Where a component of the date is empty or set to zero, it's treated as a wildcard. For example, if you set the day and month, but not the year, you're requesting items from that day and month of any year:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "dateFilter": {
      "dates": [
        {
          "month": 2,
          "day": 15
        }
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a new com.google.type.Date object using a builder
// Note that there are different valid combinations as described above
Date dayFebruary15 = Date.newBuilder()
    .setDay(15)
    .setMonth(2)
    .build();
// Create a new dateFilter. You can also set multiple dates here
DateFilter dateFilter = DateFilter.newBuilder()
    .addDates(dayFebruary15)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setDateFilter(dateFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new Google\Type\Date object with a day and a month
// Note that there are different valid combinations as described above
$dateFebruary15 = new Date();
$dateFebruary15->setDay(15);
$dateFebruary15->setMonth(2);
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
// Add the date to the filter. You can also set multiple dates here
$filtersBuilder->addDate($dateFebruary15);
// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Date ranges

Date ranges provide more flexibility than dates. For example, rather than adding multiple dates, a date range can be used to see a set of days within a month.

A date range has a startDate and endDate, both of which must be set. Each date in the range has the same format constraints as described in Dates. The dates must have the same format: if the start date is a year and a month, the end date must also be a year and a month. The ranges are applied inclusively, the start and end dates are included in the applied filter:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "dateFilter": {
      "ranges": [
        {
          "startDate": {
            "year": 2014,
            "month": 6,
            "day": 12
          },
          "endDate": {
            "year": 2014,
            "month": 7,
            "day": 13
          }
        }
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create new com.google.type.Date objects for two dates
Date day2014June12 = Date.newBuilder()
    .setDay(12)
    .setMonth(6)
    .setYear(2014)
    .build();
Date day2014July13 = Date.newBuilder()
    .setDay(13)
    .setMonth(7)
    .setYear(2014)
    .build();
// Create a DateRange from these two dates
DateRange dateRange = DateRange.newBuilder()
    .setStartDate(day2014June12)
    .setEndDate(day2014July13)
    .build();
// Create a new dateFilter with the date range. You can also set multiple date ranges here
DateFilter dateFilter = DateFilter.newBuilder()
    .addRanges(dateRange)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setDateFilter(dateFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create two new Google\Type\Date objects
    $date2014June12 = new Date();
    $date2014June12->setDay(12);
    $date2014June12->setMonth(6);
    $date2014June12->setYear(2014);

    $date2014July13 = new Date();
    $date2014July13->setDay(13);
    $date2014July13->setMonth(7);
    $date2014July13->setYear(2014);

    // Add the two dates as a date range to the filter
    // You can also set multiple date ranges here
    $filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
    $filtersBuilder->addDateRange($date2014June12, $date2014July13);

    // Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
    $response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
        ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
    );

Combining dates and date ranges

You can use multiple dates and multiple date ranges at the same time. Items that fall within any of these dates are included in the results. Separate dates and date ranges don't need to follow the same format, but the start and end dates of individual ranges do:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "dateFilter": {
      "dates": [
        {
          "year": 2013
        },
        {
          "year": 2011,
          "month": 11
        }
      ],
      "ranges": [
        {
          "startDate": {
            "month": 1
          },
          "endDate": {
            "month": 3
          }
        },
        {
          "startDate": {
            "month": 3,
            "day": 24
          },
          "endDate": {
            "month": 5,
            "day": 2
          }
        }
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a new com.google.type.Date object for the year 2013
Date day2013 = Date.newBuilder()
    .setYear(2013)
    .build();
// Create a new com.google.type.Date object for November 2011
Date day2011November = Date.newBuilder()
    .setMonth(11)
    .setYear(2011)
    .build();
// Create a date range for January to March
DateRange dateRangeJanuaryToMarch = DateRange.newBuilder()
    .setStartDate(Date.newBuilder().setMonth(1).build())
    .setEndDate(Date.newBuilder().setMonth(3).build())
    .build();
// Create a date range for March 24 to May 2
DateRange dateRangeMarch24toMay2 = DateRange.newBuilder()
    .setStartDate(Date.newBuilder().setMonth(3).setDay(24).build())
    .setEndDate(Date.newBuilder().setMonth(5).setDay(2).build())
    .build();
// Create a new dateFilter with the dates and date ranges
DateFilter dateFilter = DateFilter.newBuilder()
    .addDates(day2013)
    .addDates(day2011November)
    .addRanges(dateRangeJanuaryToMarch)
    .addRanges(dateRangeMarch24toMay2)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setDateFilter(dateFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filter object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new Google\Type\Date object for the year 2013
$date2013 = new Date();
$date2013->setYear(2013);

// Create a new Google\Type\Date object for November 2011
$dateNovember2011 = new Date();
$dateNovember2011->setMonth(11);
$dateNovember2011->setYear(2011);

$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();

// Create a date range for January to March
$filtersBuilder->addDateRange((new Date())->setMonth(1),
    (new Date())->setMonth(3));

// Create a date range for March 24 to May 2
$filtersBuilder->addDateRange((new Date())->setMonth(3)->setDay(24),
    (new Date())->setMonth(5)->setDay(2));

$filtersBuilder->addDate($date2013);
$filtersBuilder->addDate($dateNovember2011);

// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Media item features

Feature filters restrict results to items that have specific features, for example that have been marked as favorites in the Google Photos application.

Favorites

Include the FAVORITES item feature in the FeatureFilter to only return media items that have been marked as favorites by the user:

REST

{
  "filters" : {
    "featureFilter": {
      "includedFeatures": [
        "FAVORITES"
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a new FeatureFilter for favorite media items
FeatureFilter featureFilter = FeatureFilter.newBuilder()
    .addIncludedFeatures(Feature.FAVORITES)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setFeatureFilter(featureFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new FeatureFilter for favorite media items
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->addIncludedFeature(Feature::FAVORITES);

// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Media types

You can limit results to the type of media: either photo or video.

Photo

A PHOTO can be any of several image formats:

BMP JPG
GIF PNG
HEIC TIFF
ICO WEBP

It also includes special photo types like iOS live photos, motion photos, panoramas, photo spheres, and VR photos.

Video

A VIDEO can be various video formats:

3GP MMV
3G2 MOD
ASF MOV
AVI MP4
DIVX MPG
M2T MTS
M2TS TOD
M4V WMV
MKV  

VIDEO also includes special video formats like the following: VR videos, slow-motion videos, and animations created in the Google Photos application.

The following example filters by PHOTO:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "mediaTypeFilter": {
      "mediaTypes": [
        "PHOTO"
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a new MediaTypeFilter for Photo media items
MediaTypeFilter mediaType = MediaTypeFilter.newBuilder()
    .addMediaTypes(MediaType.PHOTO)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setMediaTypeFilter(mediaType)
    .build();
// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new MediaTypeFilter for Photo media items
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->setMediaType(MediaType::PHOTO);

// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Multiple media types filters can't be combined.

Exclude non-app created data

To exclude the media items that have not been created by your app, you can set the excludeNonAppCreatedData filter as shown in the following example:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "excludeNonAppCreatedData": true
  }
}

Java

// Create a new Filters object that excludes media not created by your app
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setExcludeNonAppCreatedData(true)
    .build();

// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new Filters object that excludes media not created by your app
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->setExcludeNonAppCreateData(true);

// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Note that if you are using the .readonly.appcreateddata scope, this filter is ignored.

Archived state

Your users may have archived some of their photos. By default, archived photos aren't returned in searches. To include archived items, you can set a flag in the filter as shown in the following example:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "includeArchivedMedia": true
  }
}

Java

// Create a new Filters object that includes archived media
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setIncludeArchivedMedia(true)
    .build();

// Specify the Filters object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new Filters object that includes archived media
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
$filtersBuilder->setIncludeArchivedMedia(true);

// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);

Combining filters

Different kinds of filters can be combined. Only items that match all of the requested features are returned.

When combining filters, the formatting restrictions for each filter type are the same as when they're used individually. In the following example, only photos that have been categorized as SPORT and that are from either 2014 or 2010 are returned:

REST

{
  "filters": {
    "contentFilter": {
      "includedContentCategories": [
        "SPORT"
      ]
    },
    "dateFilter": {
      "dates": [
        {
          "year": 2014
        },
        {
          "year": 2010
        }
      ]
    },
    "mediaTypeFilter": {
      "mediaTypes": [
        "PHOTO"
      ]
    }
  }
}

Java

// Create a new ContentFilter that only includes SPORT items
ContentFilter contentFilter = ContentFilter.newBuilder()
    .addIncludedContentCategories(ContentCategory.SPORT)
    .build();
// Create a new media type filter that only includes PHOTO media items
MediaTypeFilter mediaTypeFilter = MediaTypeFilter.newBuilder()
    .addMediaTypes(MediaType.PHOTO)
    .build();
// Create a new DateFilter that only includes items from 2010 or 2014
Date year2014 = Date.newBuilder().setYear(2014).build();
Date year2010 = Date.newBuilder().setYear(2010).build();
DateFilter dateFilter = DateFilter.newBuilder()
    .addDates(year2010)
    .addDates(year2014)
    .build();
// Create a new Filters object combining these filters
Filters filters = Filters.newBuilder()
    .setDateFilter(dateFilter)
    .setMediaTypeFilter(mediaTypeFilter)
    .setContentFilter(contentFilter)
    .build();
// Specify the Filter object in the searchMediaItems call
SearchMediaItemsPagedResponse response = photosLibraryClient.searchMediaItems(filters);

PHP

// Create a new ContentFilter
$filtersBuilder = new FiltersBuilder();
// Only include SPORT items
$filtersBuilder->addIncludedCategory(ContentCategory::SPORT);
// Only include PHOTO media items
$filtersBuilder->setMediaType(MediaType::PHOTO);
// Only include items from 2010 or 2014
$year2014 = new Date();
$year2014->setYear(2014);
$year2010 = new Date();
$year2010->setYear(2010);
$filtersBuilder->addDateRange($year2010, $year2014);

// Make a search call with the options set in the filters builder
// Filters have been combined in the filter builder
$response = $photosLibraryClient->searchMediaItems(
    ['filters' => $filtersBuilder->build()]
);