How to turn your Google or Amazon screen into a digital photo frame
Freestanding digital photo frames made a splash years ago as a great way to showcase your memories of yesteryear. But did you know you can turn your smart display into a digital photo frame?
These devices allow you to choose which images to display rather than the random slideshow categories you usually see. The only difficult part is deciding which photos you want to use.
What devices can I turn into digital photo frames?
Let’s start with Google: Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max let you create photo slideshows. Originally, only the Amazon Echo Show 15 had this feature built-in. But, as of August 2022, all Echo Show screens have this feature. If your Echo screen isn’t working, you can check for a software update, which should have happened automatically in August or early September.
Essentially, if you have a Google or Amazon smart display, you should be able to turn it into a digital photo frame.
Even though Amazon Echo Show devices have the ability to display your photos, this new feature lets you create a dedicated smart display photo frame that doesn’t get mixed up with random news, Alexa skill announcements, recipes, and to other content. It’s just your photos with the occasional “look what Alexa can do” ad.
Currently, you can only configure this feature on Echo Show devices in the US, UK, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Australia.
Turn your Amazon Echo Show into a digital photo frame
Before you start, you need to make sure you have a photo source ready. Choose between Amazon Photos, Facebook, or your photos downloaded from the Alexa app on your phone or tablet. During the setup process, you’ll choose the source you want, including the albums you want to display.
If you want to use Amazon Photos, you can install the app on your phone or tablet and upload photos to Amazon Photos. It works the same way as Google Photos. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited full-resolution photo storage for free, as well as 5GB of video storage. If you’re not a Prime member, you get 5GB of free storage and can upgrade to 100GB for $19.99/year.
- On your Echo Show device, do one of two things: say “Alexa, set up my photo display” or swipe down from the top and select “Settings -> Clock & Photo Display”.
- Select your photo source: Amazon Photos, Facebook or your mobile device.
- For Amazon Photos, choose the albums you want to display. You can also manage photos from the Amazon Photos app on your phone/tablet.
- For Facebook, follow the prompts to link your Facebook account to Amazon and select which albums to display.
- For your phone, open the Alexa app and go to “More -> Settings -> Photos”. Select “Devices” and choose your device. Then select “Upload Photos” and choose up to 10 photos at a time. You can repeat this process to add more photos.
- Say “Alexa, start photo frame” to start your new digital photo frame on your Echo. It will run for three hours unless you give Alexa another command.
If you use Amazon Photos, you can ask Alexa to show you specific albums or dates, like “Alexa, show photos from last winter.”
The only downside to the Echo Show is that photos only show for three hours before you have to ask Alexa to show them again. This can get tedious, but hopefully Amazon fixes this in future updates to work more like Google Nest’s continuous photo rotation.
Not sure which Amazon Echo to buy? Check out our comparison guide to find the most suitable Amazon Echo.
Turn your Google Nest display into a digital photo frame
Just like with Amazon, you’ll first need to set up a photo source before your Google Nest display can become a digital photo frame. Obviously, as a Google product, Google prefers that you use Google Photos.
You’ll need to download the Google Photos app on your phone or tablet and add the photos you want to use. Divide them into albums or libraries to make it easier to view only the photos you want.
With Google Photos, you get 15GB of free storage for your photos (and any other files). Plans start at $1.99/month for 100GB and go up to $9.99/month for 2TB.
Point: You can also use Google Nest to find your phone or create reminders.
There are two ways to set up the Photo Frame feature on a Google Nest display. The first is through the Google Home app.
- Open your Google Home app on your phone or tablet.
- Select your Nest device.
- Open Settings (the gear icon).
- Tap “Photo Frame” and choose the photos/libraries you want to use.
The second method is through the display itself.
- Swipe up from the bottom of your Nest screen.
- Tap “Settings”.
- Tap “Photo Frame” and select the content you want to use.
Alternatively, you can just say “Hey Google, change photo frame” to open the photo frame settings.
You can let Google Photos create live albums or create your own. Either way, you can have up to 20,000 photos in a single album. This should continue to give you something new to see every time you look at your Nest screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I still receive notifications when using my screen as a digital photo frame?
Yes. But, on Echo Show devices, you won’t see notifications displayed on the screen as usual. However, you will still hear them. You can also swipe down at any time to check notifications.
Can I make my Echo Show display show less non-photo content?
If you want to see more photos and fewer random recommendations on your Echo Show, swipe down from the top of your screen and select “Home -> Settings -> Home Content” and deselect what you don’t want to see .
Can I delete individual photos from my screens?
Yes. Simply delete the photo from the album linked to your photo frame. In Google Photos, you can archive the photo or tell Google to delete it (which archives it). You can also move photos you know you don’t want to see on your screen to a separate album or library. Don’t include that particular album in the content you want to see when setting up your digital photo frame, and you’re good to go.
For Google Photos, you can also create a locked folder, which hides your photos behind your phone or account password. Even if you share your photos with someone else, they cannot see the locked folder.
Can I interact with the photos on my screen?
Absolutely! Want to know more about a photo? Just ask Google or Alexa to tell you when and where the photo was taken. This is a great way to check the date on any photo, although the dates may show up at the bottom of the photo anyway.
Image credit: Google
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