Raspberry Pi Google Photos Digital Frame

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I have a Raspberry Pi. Actually I had more than one, but they all broke up… So now I have one Raspberry Pi.

It’s an old one, version B, but still works and can do some stuff.

I built a remote controlled car (with an android joystick, which is all here) but I took it apart in about a month.

Later, I tried building a Copter but boy oh boy was I naive.. 

For a few years I forgot about it, then I tried PiHole, used it as a Torrent Bay and more. But it was always a matter of weeks until I took it apart and moved it back to the drawer.

Until a month ago.

My wife and I wanted a digital frame for all the pictures from our vacations and wedding. Those pictures are on Google Photos. I searched for some digital frames but I couldn’t find one that we liked, was cheap enough and would work with Google Photos.

Then came the idea to make it with Raspberry Pi!

I couldn’t find a single manual for this and that’s why I thought about writing this one.


A picture of the Digital Frame after all is configured


  • Raspberry Pi with HDMI output
  • Power adapter for the Raspberry Pi
  • Wifi / Ethernet for the Raspberry Pi, depending on where your router is
  • A screen (I bought this one, but you can buy one without touch functionality)
  • A frame (I bought this one)
  • Some adapters for the screen:


General configuration of the Raspberry Pi

  1. Install Raspbian OS on the Raspberry Pi and enable SSH
  2. Connect the Raspberry Pi to your network
    We’ll use our PC for configuring the Raspberry Pi
  3. Connect to your Pi using ssh (it should broadcast “raspberrypi” as its hostname)
ssh pi@raspberrypi
  1. Update the RPI
apt update
apt upgrade

Connect the screen to the RPI

  • Follow the instructions of the screen for connecting it to the RPI
  • It should be as easy as plug and play – HDMI to HDMI and the power to the RPI USB port.
  • You now have a screen for the RPI!

Make it work as a Digital Frame

  • Install feh, this is the software that will show the pictures on the screen as a slideshow.

sudo apt install feh

  • Create a directory in your home folder with the name “GooglePhotos”. This directory will contain the pictures that “feh” will display
mkdir /home/pi/GooglePhotos
  • Create a script file “slideshow.sh” in your home folder (“/home/pi/slideshow.sh”). This script will run on startup and execute “feh”.
touch /home/pi/slideshow.sh
  • Write the following to it
export DISPLAY=:0.0
xrandr --output HDMI-1 --rotate inverted
feh \
--recursive \
--randomize \
--fullscreen \
--quiet \
--hide-pointer \
--slideshow-delay 6 \

Make “slideshow.sh” executable

chmod +x /home/pi/slideshow.sh
  • Try it out! Run “./home/pi/slideshow.sh” and you’ll see the pictures on the screen.

Make it work on startup

  • Write the following to “/home/pi/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart” (create the file if it doesn’t exist)
@lxpanel --profile LXDE-pi
@pcmanfm --desktop --profile LXDE-pi
@xscreensaver -no-splash
  • Restart your RPI to verify it works!
reboot now

Make it work with Google Photos

For this, I made a simple trick. “feh” displays the images from a folder, not from Google Photos, so what I did was to use “rclone” to synchronize a specific album into that folder!

curl https://rclone.org/install.sh | sudo bash
rclone config
  1. Type “n” for new remote
  2. In “name” enter “googlephotos”
  3. In “Storage” enter “google photos”
  4. Leave “client_id” and “client_secret” empty
  5. For “read_only” enter “y”
  6. For “Edit advanced config? (y/n)” enter “n”
  • Now rclone will use your browser to authenticate with Google. Enter “Y” for opening a browser. If that doesn’t work, try “N” or browsing “http://raspberrypi:53682/auth”

After you finish you’ll see a summary of your configuration, enter “y” to complete

Configure rclone with a specific album and folder

  • Create an album in Google Photos for the frame. You can use an already existing album as well.
  • Configure rclone to sync that album
rclone sync googlephotos:shared-album/<YourAlbumName> /home/pi/GooglePhotos/
  • Verify the folder contains the images from the album
  • For continuous update of the folder, I’ve added that command to the crontab
0 */1 * * * rclone sync googlephotos:shared-album/digital_frame /home/user/GooglePhotos/

That’s it! You have your very own Raspberry Pi Google Photos Digital Album (I need a better name…)

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