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How does Android sort pictures?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Bassline Drums, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Bassline Drums

    Bassline Drums New Member
    Thread Starter

    Feb 8, 2012
    I had an old phone of mine for about 2 years, and during that time I took around 240 pictures with it. I set the phone to save my pictures to a MicroSD card. Last year I got the Samsung Captivate for AT&T, so I just took that MicroSD card out and put it in the Captivate. All was fine for about 4 months when randomly one day my gallery started showing about 3 or 4 copies of each of those pictures. I wasnt sure what to do, so I just deleted each of the duplicates. Afterwards my phone crashed, so I rebooted it and when it came up, all my pictures were gone. I managed to download software onto my computer to recover the pictures which I did, but they ended up jumbled up.
    So I spent several hours going through picture by picture renaming each picture 1-240 in the order they belonged in from oldest to newest (I remembered the order exactly). Well when I put the pictures back onto my phone, android sorted them strangely. Rather than being sorted 1-240, or even 240-1, they became completely jumbled up in a random order.

    So my question is, does anyone know how exactly Android's native gallery sorts its pictures? Or maybe how I should rename the pictures to get them to sort the way I want?


  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Jun 12, 2010
    I couldn't tell you other than the Gallery app is very limited in options. You might want to consider using QuikPic instead. You can sort and organize much better using that app.
  3. ColtsWalker

    ColtsWalker Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2012
    Parachuting Ninja
    I know this is an old post, but the question remains unresolved. Gallery seems to sort based on the file timestamp. There does not seem to be a way to change the sort order of Gallery. Gallery is an unimpressive app that lacks basic control such as a setting to change the file sort order.
  4. Aasoko

    Aasoko New Member

    Feb 5, 2013
    I know this may be a bit late, but I've done a bit of experimenting on the matter, and this is what I've found. Note, I use the LG Optimus Slider, (LG-VM701) and am not entirely sure if the gallery differs between devices. The native Gallery for Android appears to sort by what it calls the date taken. This date is not the date taken to my knowledge, as it actually matches up with the date modified instead. Therefore, renaming will do nothing, as that doesn't change the date modified on a picture file. (I would consider it modifying by definition, but that's besides the point.) The Gallery doesn't sort it normally either, as it sorts the photos in oldest to newest modified date, from top to bottom, left to right. For example, if you have 16 photos, here is how they would be sorted in that order, 1 being the oldest, 16 being the newest. (Just a reminder that this is for my phone, the LG Optimus Slider, and this may be slightly different from what yours shows. Also, I added zeros to numbers before 10 to make sure they aligned properly)

    01 05 09 13
    02 06 10 14
    03 07 11 15
    04 08 12 16

    That being said, the way I ordered them properly was I mass converted the photos in the order I wanted them in. (I used a program called IrfanView. I went into the batch dialogue, added all the files in the proper order, then converted them.) It will save the converted images as copies in whatever folder you choose, so you can always have the copies on your phone just to view while keeping the original, unedited ones on your computer, or wherever else you store your files. If you add new photos after and they don't sort the way you want them to, you can always repeat this process. I believe you can also keep the EXIF data, which contains the actual date taken, among other things, if you're converting from JPEG to JPEG. I prefer PNG since there's no quality loss. Either way, the phone seems to register the date last modified as the date taken, from what I see. As for folders, it sorts them in alphabetical order, in the same display format as pictures, except with a base of 3 instead of 4. The "Camera" folder is automatically put in front no matter what. There doesn't appear to be any way to change either of these sorting orders, so this is the best workaround I've come up with. I know this may not be of much help now, but I figured I should at least reply to this to show my findings, since I was asking myself the very same question. Since this question was unanswered, I decided to experiment, which lead to these findings. I hope this helps you and others wondering how to sort their pictures properly without resorting to an additional app. Of course, at that rate getting the extra app might be better, but it's nice to have options.
    Shalabh Batra likes this.

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