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Frequently Asked Questions

General

When exactly will new features be released?

We have a zero bug policy and do our best to help users when they need support or have other questions. Updating and improving the documentation you are reading takes up a large part of our time too.

This comes at a price, as we can't give exact deadlines for new features. Also keep in mind that epics like multi-user support can't be delivered in a single update. Working on big features is a continuous process that can take months to years until all use cases are covered.

Having said that, funding really has the highest impact. So users can do their part and become a sponsor to get their favorite features as soon as possible.

Are there plans to introduce premium features?

PhotoPrism is 100% self-funded and independent. We plan to offer non-essential premium features and services as voluntary donations currently don't cover even our most basic expenses. It is in the best interest of all users that funding is sustainable in the long run.

Unless your plan includes additional cloud storage, you will be able to upgrade and downgrade without losing any data. For those who don't like recurring subscriptions, there will be discounted multi-year / lifetime payment options. To account for income differences, pricing may also vary by region. As soon as we have details, we will announce them publicly.

Meanwhile, GitHub Sponsors has one-time donation options if you don't need ongoing support after installation and don't expect updates with additional features for more than 12 months.

We encourage everyone who can afford it to become a sponsor as this is ultimately best for the product and the community. Think of "free software" as in "free speech," not as in "free beer".

Why can't I just purchase and download a single version?

Offering single versions for one-time purchase without ongoing updates would be irresponsible. Unlike traditional offline apps such as Microsoft Office or single-player games, software exposed to the Internet must be updated regularly to stay secure and compatible with the latest standards.

Updates are also important because virtually all file format parsers have flaws that just haven't been discovered yet. This is a known risk that may affect you even if your computer isn't directly exposed to the Internet.

It's essential to keep your operating system, Web browsers, and all other software up to date. Don't push your luck and don't expect developers to spend time providing individual updates for old versions that contain only critical security updates, but nothing else.

User Interface

Can I use trees for organizing my pictures and albums?

Except in Library > Originals and for object classification in Labels, PhotoPrism does not support hierarchically organized content for a number of reasons:

First, there are many tools (including Windows Explorer and Mac OS Finder) that already browse folders in such a way.

A common UX challenge is dealing with namespaces. For example, the album "Berlin" may exist 5 times in different parts of a tree. To avoid ambiguities, simple input fields need to be replaced with a tree browser that shows the complete context. This is especially difficult on mobile screens.

Personal albums can typically be browsed by time, with optional filters for more specific results. This is different in Enterprise asset management, where trees are required to manage responsibilities & permissions. We might do a special release for professional users later.

While you have complete freedom with organizing your original files and folders, we don't think trees should be an integral part of our user interface. Most users won't be able to sort their memories in a strictly hierarchical way and prefer to explore them in multiple dimensions instead.

What's the difference between keywords and labels?

Keywords contain a list of search terms extracted from metadata, file names, and other sources like geodata. Pictures with matching keywords automatically show up in related Labels.

Although related, keywords and labels serve different purposes:

  • Labels may have parent categories and are primarily used for classification, like "animal", "cat", or "boat". Duplicates and ambiguities should be avoided.

  • Keywords are primarily used for searching. They may include similar terms and translations, like "kitten", "kitty", and "cat".

Can I use the web interface to permanently delete files?

Yes, you can permanently delete files.

Library, Counts & Files

What media file types are supported?

The primary image format is JPEG. Support for JPEG XL is planned but not available yet. When indexing, a JPEG sidecar file may be created automatically for RAW, HEIF, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, and video files. It is needed for generating thumbnails, image classification, and facial recognition.

Due to the patent situation and its complexity, TIFF is only partially supported at the moment.

The following RAW converters can be used to generate JPEGs (included in our Docker image, otherwise you may need to install them on your system):

If you're running PhotoPrism directly on a Mac, RAW files will be converted with Sips (supported cameras) by default. Our goal is to provide top-notch support for all RAW formats, regardless of camera make and model. Please let us know when there are any issues with a particular camera or file format.

Video formats supported by FFmpeg can be transcoded to MPEG-4 AVC. Still images for generating thumbnails can be extracted from most videos as well.

If you have videos, always enable JSON sidecar files so that video metadata such as date, location, codec, and duration can be indexed and searched.

What metadata sidecar file types are supported?

Currently, three types of file formats are supported:

JSON

If not disabled via PHOTOPRISM_DISABLE_EXIFTOOL or --disable-exiftool, Exiftool is used to automatically create a JSON sidecar for each media file. In this way, embedded XMP and video metadata can also be indexed. Native metadata extraction is limited to common Exif headers. Note that this causes small amount of overhead when indexing for the first time.

JSON files can also be useful for debugging, as they contain the full metadata and can be processed with common development tools and text editors.

Metadata JSON files exported from Google Photos can be read as well. Support for more schemas may be added over time.

YAML

Unless disabled via PHOTOPRISM_DISABLE_BACKUPS or --disable-backups, PhotoPrism automatically creates/updates human-friendly YAML sidecar files during indexing and after manual editing of fields such as title, date, or location. They serve as a backup in case the database (index) is lost, or when folders are synchronized with a remote instance.

Like JSON, YAML files can be opened with common development tools and text editors. However, changes are not synchronized with the original index, as this could overwrite existing data.

XMP

XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) is an XML-based metadata container format developed by Adobe. It provides many more fields (as part of embedded models like Dublin Core) than Exif. This also makes it difficult - if not impossible - to provide full support. Reading title, copyright, artist, and description from XMP sidecar files is implemented as a proof-of-concept, contributions are welcome. Indexing of embedded XMP is only possible via Exiftool, see above.

Some files seem hidden, where are they?

If the quality filter is enabled, you might find them in Photos > Review. Otherwise, their format may not be supported, they may be corrupted, or they may be stacked with other files if their name, exact date & location, or unique image ID indicate they belong to the same photo. You may then unstack them if this happened by mistake e.g. because of bad metadata.

For what reasons can files be stacked?
  1. Files sharing exactly the same file and folder name will always be stacked, for example /2018/IMG_1234.jpg and /2018/IMG_1234.avi
  2. Files with related, sequential names like /2018/IMG_1234 (2).jpg and /2018/IMG_1234 (3).jpg may be stacked as well (optional)
  3. Pictures were taken at the same GPS position and second (optional)
  4. Image metadata contains the same Unique Image ID or XMP Instance ID (optional)

You can change the behaviour for 2 - 4 in Settings.

I already indexed some files. Why are Folders, Calendar and Moments still empty?

Folders, Calendar and Moments are populated at the end of the indexing process.

Why does the count in Search not match the count of files in Originals?

Library > Originals shows actual files, whereas Search counts unique photos and videos.

Photos and videos may have more than one file, for example:

  • A raw file + related jpg file + related xmp file = 3 files, 1 photo
  • A mp4 file + related jpg file = 2 files, 1 video

It is also possible that multiple .jpg files are stacked because they are related to each other.

Why is the count for Originals higher than the number of files physically existing in my originals directory?

When indexing, an additional JPEG sidecar file may be created automatically for RAW, HEIF, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, and video files. It is needed for generating thumbnails, image classification, and facial recognition. You can find it in /storage/sidecar by default, so your originals folder remains untouched. The file browser in Library > Originals always displays it next to the original, independent of the physical storage location.

Metadata

Why do some of my photos without geolocation information show a random location?

PhotoPrism estimates the location of photos without geolocation from photos that have been taken on the same day. You can disable estimations in Settings.

Why do some pictures have an odd date like 01/01/1980?

This may happen in case there was an issue with your camera's settings when the photo was taken. While the date can easily be changed in the edit dialog, this only updates the index without modifying your originals.

To fix the date directly in your image or video files, please use other applications like Photoshop, or Exiftool, and re-index your library.

WebDAV, Sync & Upload

Why do I get an error when trying to add a remote server for syncing?

When adding a new remote server, PhotoPrism tests a number of common endpoints. Only when that fails, you'll see an error. There may be different reasons for this:

  • You're using HTTPS with an invalid certificate (not signed, outdated, domain doesn't match,...).
  • Your server has permission issues, or an otherwise bad configuration. For example, Nextcloud blocks requests if the host doesn't match trusted_domains in its config.php.
  • The IP is not reachable from your PhotoPrism instance due to network settings, or a firewall.
  • The internal hostname can not be resolved to an IP address.
  • It's the wrong host or port.
  • Username or password are wrong.

Curl is an excellent tool for testing HTTP connections if you don't mind using a terminal:

curl -X PROPFIND -H "Depth: 1" -u user:pass https://example.org/webdav/

To avoid overlooking issues, it's best to run it from the same Docker container, virtual machine, or server environment where PhotoPrism is installed.

My file sync app fails with "unable to parse TLS packet headers" when trying to connect via WebDAV?

Because of security considerations, some backup tools and file sync apps like FolderSync removed support for non-SSL HTTP communication.

If you install PhotoPrism on a public server outside your home network, please always run it behind a secure HTTPS reverse proxy. Your files and passwords will otherwise be transmitted in clear text and can be intercepted by anyone, including your provider, hackers, and governments. Backup tools and file sync apps may refuse to connect as well.