Get Started with Immich: A Google Photos Alternative to Manage your Photos and Videos

If you’re looking for an open-source and self-hosted Google Photos alternative that will help you store and back up your photos and videos, Immich provides a simple, user-friendly solution that you can set up in no time.

Watch the video tutorial for a visual demonstration.

Explore the official Immich documentation for comprehensive details.

What is Immich?

Immich is a self-hosted backup solution for photos and videos, directly from your mobile phone or computer, with features that are similar to Google Photos backup. In this tutorial, we will take a look at the main features of Immich and how you can run the application using PikaPods, a platform hosting a large selection of open source apps from $1 per month.

Part 1: Getting Started with Immich

So, you’ve decided to opt for a Google Photos alternative that is self-hosted, and you’ve found Immich! The next steps that you need to take to get started are super simple. The fastest way to run the app is through PikaPods, which will allow you to run your own pod with minimal cost and set-up involved. Here’s how:

  1. Visit
  2. Search and run ‘Immich’.
  3. Create a user account once the pod is up.

Part 2: Uploading Photos on Immich

Once you have set up your Immich account, you can upload your photos by selecting Upload Photos at the top right of your screen. You can then choose which photos you would like to upload, and select open. The selected photos will now appear in your Immich library.

Part 3: Browsing Photos and Videos on Immich

Browsing through your photos on Immich is simple. You can navigate this through the side-bar menu using different viewing options, including:

  • Photos: This view will display your photos in chronological order, allowing you to scroll through a timeline and view all the photos taken within a given time period.
  • Explore: This view will show you photos organised by face (in the people section), or location (in the places section). Users can also assign names to different faces, and view collections of photos that that person features in.
  • Map: This option will give you a bird’s eye view of where in the world your photos were taken. You can zoom in on a continent, country, or specific place for a deeper look at your photos in different locations.

When clicking on a photo, there are several options you can choose from. You can zoom in on the image, copy the image, download, view information, add it as a favourite, or delete it. By clicking on the three dots, you will be able to view more options such as adding the photo to an album or archiving it.

Part 4: Further Browsing Options - Your Library

Apart from being able to browse through your photos using the viewing options mentioned in Part 3 of this tutorial, you can also segment your images into different albums. This will make it easier to share selected photos with family and friends later on. Within your library, you’ll find the following sections:

  • Favourites: Your favourites library will show you all the photos that you’ve selected as favourites, in one place. To mark a photo or video as a favourite, click on the heart icon at the top right of the visual.
  • Albums: Your albums will display photos that you’ve grouped together in an album. These can be created by choosing to group together images that are already uploaded, or by uploading new photos directly from your device.

Part 5: How to Create and Share an Album on Immich

Once you’ve uploaded your photos and created a secure, alternative to Google Photos back up for your images and videos, it’s time to organise your photos into albums. In this way, you’ll be able to share your memories with your friends and family by simply sending them a link to your album! Here’s how you can create albums on Immich:

  1. Go to the albums section of your library.
  2. Click Create Album at the top right corner of your screen.
  3. Choose a title for your album and add a description (optional).
  4. Click on Select Photos to choose images from your library or upload new ones.
  5. To share an album with others, click on the album and then click on the share icon at the top of your page.
  6. Click on Create Link to generate a link that you can share with anyone.
  7. For additional security, you can add a password that others can use to access the link.
  8. Copy and paste the link to share!