I can download the JPGs from my DCIM folder in my Pixel 2 and I know that the video is encoded inside the jpg, but I don't know what image viewer I can use to see the motion. I usually use Irfanview, but I haven't yet been able to find out how to make it show the motion. And I haven't found anyone talking about how to do it. Anyone know?


I did some experimenting based on the post by @jameshenstridge and came up with a simple PHP script that successfully split every google motion photo i threw at it.


  $src_arg = $argv[1];
  $src_dir = realpath(pathinfo($src_arg, PATHINFO_DIRNAME)); 

  echo "Scanning for files...\n";

  foreach (glob($src_arg) as $src) {

    $file = realpath($src);

    if (!is_dir($file) && in_array(strtoupper(pathinfo($file, PATHINFO_EXTENSION)), ["JPEG", "JPG"])) {

      echo "\tProcessing: " . $file . "\n";

      $filesize = filesize($file);
      echo "\t\tFile size: " . $filesize . "\n";

      $handle = fopen($file, "rb");
      $data = fread($handle, $filesize);

      $eoi_pos = strpos($data, "\xFF\xD9\x00\x00\x00\x18");
      echo "\t\tEOI segment position: " . $eoi_pos . "\n";

      if ($eoi_pos !== FALSE) {
        $output_base = $src_dir . DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR . pathinfo($file, PATHINFO_FILENAME);
        echo "\t\tSaving photo...\n";
        file_put_contents($output_base . "_photo.jpg", substr($data, 0, $eoi_pos + 2));
        echo "\t\tSaving video...\n";
        file_put_contents($output_base . "_video.mp4", substr($data, $eoi_pos + 2));
      } else {
        echo "\t\tSKIPPING - File does not appear to be a Google motion photo.\n";



  echo "Done.\n";


It should work on Windows and Linux. You just pass a path as the first argument and it will split any files that it believes are motion photos. You can use wildcards. It's non-destructive - the source file(s) are not deleted.

Some example uses:

php google_motion_photo_splitter.php c:\test\file.jpg
php google_motion_photo_splitter.php c:\test\*.jpg
php google_motion_photo_splitter.php c:\test\*

I haven't seen any software to view them other than on the Google Photos website. I was curious about this so started pulling apart one of the photos from my phone, and here's what I found:

  1. The image file appears to be a standard JPEG image, but continues on after the End of Image segment (0xFF 0xD9).

  2. exiftool reports unrecognised MakerNotes. I suspect this custom metadata identifies the file as a motion photo.

  3. If transfer all the data after the EOI segment to a separate file, you'll have a standard MPEG-4 container. I got a GStreamer crash when trying to play it, but ffmpeg seems to be able to handle it and displayed the following metadata:

    Input #0, mov,mp4,m4a,3gp,3g2,mj2, from 'foo.mp4':
        major_brand     : mp42
        minor_version   : 0
        compatible_brands: isommp42
        creation_time   : 2018-07-07T20:37:57.000000Z
        com.android.version: 8.1.0
      Duration: 00:00:01.87, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 20283 kb/s
        Stream #0:0(eng): Video: h264 (High) (avc1 / 0x31637661), yuvj420p(pc, smpte170m/smpte170m/unknown), 1024x768, 20161 kb/s, SAR 1:1 DAR 4:3, 30.01 fps, 30 tbr, 90k tbn, 180k tbc (default)
          creation_time   : 2018-07-07T20:37:57.000000Z
          handler_name    : VideoHandle
        Stream #0:1(eng): Data: none (mett / 0x7474656D), 108 kb/s (default)
          creation_time   : 2018-07-07T20:37:57.000000Z
          handler_name    : MetadHandle
        Stream #0:2(eng): Data: none (mett / 0x7474656D), 0 kb/s (default)
          creation_time   : 2018-07-07T20:37:57.000000Z
          handler_name    : MetadHandle
    Unsupported codec with id 0 for input stream 1
    Unsupported codec with id 0 for input stream 2

    So, that's a 1.87 second H.264 video with resolution 1024x768, which seems to roughly match up with what I see from Google's apps/website (a drop in resolution and change in aspect ratio).

I know it isn't a complete solution, but it might be enough to get started on a tool to extract the videos.


Although the question is for Windows, I think it's appropriate to post my script to play it from command line on Linux here:



if [[ -z "$1"  || "$1" == --help || "$1" == "-?" ]]; then
    echo "Usage: mvimg_play MVIMG_20190806_183324.jpg [other files]"
    echo "Plays Google's Motion Photo using mpv. Depends on exiftool, mktemp, bash and mpv."
    exit 0



function cleanup() {
    for i in "${TORM[@]}"; do
        rm -f "$i"
    for p in ${TOKILL[@]}; do
        wait $p

trap "cleanup" EXIT

for i in "$@"; do
    O=$(exiftool -t $i  | grep -F 'Micro Video Offset' | cut -f 2-2)
    if [[ -z "$O" ]]; then
        # wrong file? Just appending to playlist as is
        S=$(find $i -printf '%s')

        dd if="$i" skip=$((S-O)) iflag=skip_bytes of="$T" 2> /dev/null &

if [[ $FOUND == 0 ]]; then
    echo "EXIF tag wasn't detected in specified files. Maybe exiftool does not work?" >&2

mpv "${ARGS[@]}"

Maybe it can be used on Windows as well, with enough Mingw/Cygwin hackery.

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