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When I switched from iOS to Android I noticed there is one nifty feature missing from the gallery app that came with my Samsung S9+. It's something I would describe as virtual folders.

What I mean by that is the following. In iOS I can have the same photo in multiple folders. A folder in that sense is merely a container of references and allows me to categorize the photos however I see fit.

Now with the Samsung Gallery app a photo can only be in a single folder at a time. There are tags, but there appears to be no way to look at tags the way I can look at folders.

So what I am searching for is an app that either allows me to treat the existing tags feature in a similar fashion as folders or an app that simply doesn't impose the aforementioned limitation.

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Camera Roll supports that in multiple ways: virtual folders, albums. The app is free and open source, available at F-Droid as well as on Play Store. I use it for years, and am quite satisfied – though admittedly I don't use a gallery that often.

Additionally, while light weight, it offers a bunch of other useful features such as Exif viewer and Editor. You also can hide folders you don't want in your gallery (e.g. album covers from your music library), which I find quite useful. Bundling multiple directories into a single virtual folder I find especially useful with multiple camera apps and storage in internal and external SD cards.

Currently, the future of this great app is a bit shaky, as the original developer is "busy otherwise" – but volunteers showed up, so the original author might "fall back" to merging pull requests, so everyone is happy.

But head to your favorite "store" and get an idea for yourself. Being free (not only in the sense of open source and payment, but free of trackers as well), can't hurt giving it a try! Enjoy!

Camera Roll Camera Roll
Camera Roll: Albums, Exif data, settings incl. virtual albums (source: Google Play; click images for larger variants)

  • I tried Camera Roll and coudn't figure out how to add folders to a virtual album. – Divoir Apr 8 at 12:30
  • Quite a while ago I did that last time, @Divoir – it was somewhere in the settings. Oh yeah, right on top, the first setting (see new screenshot I just edited into my answer): Virtual Albums. In there, tap the overflow menu (3-dots), then "Create", select your folders. Make sure to pick the right ones – looks like you cannot edit them afterwards (only remove and start over). – Izzy Apr 8 at 20:43
  • Hmm, there is no opiton to select or add a folder. After going to "Create Virtual album" I only can give it a name and "Cancel"/"Create". After creating one and entering into it, there a message "No path included". – Divoir Apr 9 at 9:01
  • Worked for me, so no idea why it doesn't for you… – Izzy Apr 9 at 22:24
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"A Photo Manager" has support for Virtual Albums that are independant of locaton in the physical-filesystem.

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