BOX Photos is a react-native(expo)+typescript application to replace Google Photos/Apple Photos, and give freedom in hosting your photos on any platform, either centralized servers like Amazon or Microsoft, or decentralized solutions like IPFS-based "box". It is optimized for decentralized IPFS platforms. Your can easily use it with a "box" to host your files and photos with the same experience you had using Google Photos, however, with full privacy.


IPFS + BOX Photos = Awesome!

Google photos is a great service with great benefits however, there are major setbacks with it:

1- It is not free anymore

2- It does not respect our privacy

We developed this project with the smoothness and features of popular gallery apps in mind to enable anyone jump on and start using it right away. Furthermore, it can connect to "box", a decentralized node based on IPFS instead of centralized cloud networks. We are also working on enabling it to connect to centralized cloud networks, however, with web3.0 privacy, do you still want to use web2.0? more information at the BOX website


Checkout full demo video at:

Or checkout individual features below:

  • Pinch/zoom to switch between modes:
  • Opening a single image in fullscreen mode:
  • Header animation(hide on scroll down and show on scroll up):
  • Highlights/Story:
  • Fast scroll/Thumb scroll feature:
  • Image Edit feature
  • Image select feature

Installing Pre-requisites

  • NodeJS/NPM

This application needs NodeJs to run. You can download and install NodeJs from the below link on any platform if you do not have it already.
Download NodeJS

you can also check if you already have NodeJs installed by running the following two commands in terminal window

node -v
npm -v
  • Git:
    You can use git to easily download the files from github into your computer (or if you prefer you can download files manually from this github repository in step 1 of cloning the application)
    Download Git-Scm

you can also check whether you already have NodeJs installed by running the following command in terminal window

git --version

Now you need to install expo-cli. If you want to know more about expo check their website. Expo

npm install --global expo-cli

Optional: if you prefer yarn you can install yarn.

npm install --global yarn

Clone the project

You can clone the project by running the command below to your terminal:

for https cloning:

git clone
cd photos

Install requirements

you can install the requirements with command:

yarn install

or (do not use both)

npm install


You can run the application in expo-cli using the below command. It gives you a QR code which you can use on your phone(in expo GO application) to open and test the application on your phone(both iOS and Android). Or you can build the android or iOS installation files.

  • For a limited time before doing the below, please follow additional steps inside "temp/instructions.txt" and after each time you do yarn or npm install. This temporary and we fix it soon.
expo start


  • We used expo Media Library for getting the data from user's phone.
  • We used a modified version of expo-video-player to play videos. It is available in our repo.
  • We used a modified version of react-native-stories-view for the story style view on top of gallery, which is available in our repo.
  • We used RecyclerListView from FlipKart, as the scrollView for the photos.
  • We used react-native-reanimated for animations.
  • We used Recoil for state management.
  • We used react-native-gesture-handler for gesture handling.
  • We used @react-navigation/bottom-tabs and @react-navigation/native for navigation.

Pages structure

For now we have two pages in the app:

  • The HomePage that is the main page for showing the media files.
  • The PermissionError page that is the page we show when there is permission error from user's phone.
  • We are working on creating the "Library" and "Search" pages.

Components structure

├── App.tsx
├── babel.config.js
├── components
│   ├── AllPhotos.tsx
│   ├── FloatingFilters.tsx
│   ├── Header.tsx
│   ├── Highlights.tsx
│   ├── Media.tsx
│   ├── PhotosChunk.tsx
│   ├── PhotosContainer.tsx
│   ├── PinchZoom.tsx
│   ├── RenderPhotos.tsx
│   ├── SingleMedia.tsx
│   ├── StoryHolder.tsx
│   └── ThumbScroll.tsx
├── index.js

├── metro.config.js
├── navigation
│   └── AppNavigation.tsx
├── package.json
├── package-lock.json
├── pages
│   ├── HomePage.tsx
│   └── PermissionError.tsx
├── store
│   ├── actions.ts
│   ├── reducer.ts
│   └── store.ts
├── __tests__
│   └── App-test.tsx
├── tsconfig.json
├── types
│   └── interfaces.ts
└── utils
    ├── APICalls.ts
    ├── constants.ts
    ├── functions.ts
    ├── LayoutUtil.ts
    └── permissions.ts

Components description

The components are as what follows:


Purpose: this component is responsible for getting the photos and videos from storage and feed the AllPhotos component with storage photos.

  • this component include the PinchZoom component and AllPhotos component


Purpose: This component is responsible for all the animations for switching between different column modes, and actions we want to do when animations done.

  • This component is wrapped around the AllPhotos component.
  • The component uses GestureHandlers to respond to pinch and pan gestures


Purpose: This component is wrapped the three RenderPhotos components and is responsible for lazy load the photos and feed the render photos with proper data.

  • The three different kind of RenderPhotos is the month view with 4 columns of photos, the day view with 3 columns of photos and the day view with 2 columns of photos.


Purpose: This component includes with the number of PhotosChunk components and one FlatList that wrapped all the PhotosChunk components that we want to show the user. It is responsible to show the Photos(main) page of hte application.

  • This component also renders date headers.
  • It uses RecyclerListView to show the scrollable grid of photos


Purpose: This component is responsible to show each block/Thumbnails in the gallery.


Purpose: This component is responsible to show and position the "year" titles when fingers are placed on thumb scroll.

Purpose: This component is responsible to show the top header of the application. It is used in the top Navigationbar.


Purpose: This component is responsible to show the story thumbnails and text on top of Photos page.


Purpose: This component is responsible to display photo or video when opened in full page. It is the component used in SingleMedia.


Purpose: This component is responsible to show modal with the content when image or video is opened in full page. It uses Media to show the photo or video.


Purpose: This component is responsible to show each story/highlight in full screen when thumbnail is clicked on.


Purpose: This component is responsible to show the thumb scroll icon in the right of screen when scrolling.

Components diagram

graph TD;
App --> AppNavigation --> PermissionError
AppNavigation --> Header
AppNavigation --> HomePage --> PhotosContainer --> AllPhotos --> RenderPhotos
PhotosContainer --> PinchZoom
AllPhotos --> StoryHolder --> StoryContainer --> StoryComponent
AllPhotos --> SingleMedia --> Media
RenderPhotos --> PhotosChunk & ThumbScroll & Highlights & FloatingFilters

How to contribute?

Just pick any issue from the issues tab or create your own and do a pull request! Please use yarn instead of npm if you are a contributor to be aligned with other contributors. You can ask questions and get in touch with the rest of contributors and community in the Discussion here We appreciate all the help you can do, even if it is renaming one variable to a better name.

Road map

  • [x] Pinch/zoom to switch between 3 modes
  • [x] Open each image/video in a Single image modal and scroll between images
  • [x] Show highlights
  • [x] Fast scroll/thumb scroll
  • [x] Select and unselect each image to delete/edit/share
  • [ ] Connect with Dfinity
  • [ ] Auto-upload photos to backend
  • [ ] Automatic Migration tool from Google Photos
  • [ ] Connect with BOX (as a self-owned IPFS solution)
  • [ ] Connect with Filecoin
  • [ ] Connect with AWS
  • [ ] Search page to search by date/tags
  • [ ] Library page to show images by folder/Album
  • [ ] AI features to do on-device analysis for face recognition/object recognition