SmugMug, the new owner of Flickr, announced plans recently to limit free accounts to 1000 photos or videos on the site instead of the previously used threshold of 1 Terabyte of storage on Flickr’s servers. The company stated that the change would affect existing and new accounts, and that it would start to delete photos and videos from accounts if the limit was exceeded.
Only the 1000 most recent photo or video uploads by free account users would remain on the site. Free members have until February 5, 2019 to download media from Flickr; this is especially important for users who don’t have access to local copies of uploaded photos or videos anymore.
Not all free Flickr users are affected by the change. Flickr noted in the announcement that about 3% of all free users exceeded the 1000 media limit that the company picked. Affected users have a couple of options to deal with the issue: from upgrading to a Pro account with unlimited storage over deleting data on the site to downloading a backup of the entire media library to the local system.
Flickr users can download all photos and videos that they uploaded to the service. The process requires that users request a copy of their data on the Flickr website and download the copy to the local system once it is provided.
The following part explains how that is done in detail:
- Visit the Flickr website and sign in to your account if you are not signed in already.
- Select the profile icon in the top right corner and Settings in the menu that opens. You can load https://www.flickr.com/account directly as well to go straight to the Account page.
- Activate “Request my Flickr data” on the page to request a copy of your data. Flickr notes that the backup includes information that “Flickr has about your account” including “account preferences, profile information” and “photos and videos”. The button text changes to “Flickr data requested” on activation.
- Flickr informs you by email when the backup is ready.
The processing may take quite a bit of time even for accounts with just a few photos. It is likely that many free users that are impacted by the change requested the creation of an archive of their media so that they can download it to the local system.
One of the main limitations of Flickr’s data export tool is that it is an all or nothing approach; there is no option to create an archive of all excess images only or images uploaded in a specific year.
The second option that you have is to download all photos or videos of individual albums. Flickr limits the number of items that you can download this way to 5000 and asks users to create multiple albums to divide photos and videos on them so that all can be downloaded.
- Select You > Albums on the Flickr website to get started and display all albums on the site.
- Either hover the mouse over an album and select the download icon, or open an album and select the download icon on the page that opens.
- Flickr displays a short prompt that informs you that it will zip all items and send you an email with the download link once the archive is ready. Hit “Create zip file” to continue.
The archive creation may take a while as well. You need to repeat the steps for each of your archives if you plan to download them all.