How to download all Flickr Photos

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 6, 2018
Music and Video

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 backup data

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:

  1. Visit the Flickr website and sign in to your account if you are not signed in already.
  2. Select the profile icon in the top right corner and Settings in the menu that opens. You can load directly as well to go straight to the Account page.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. Select You > Albums on the Flickr website to get started and display all albums on the site.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

How to download all Flickr Photos
Article Name
How to download all Flickr Photos
Find out how to download all or a selection of images or videos uploaded to the Flickr website in the past.
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  1. Sebastian said on November 3, 2023 at 3:46 pm

    If you would like to download and restore all your Flickr albums, take a look at

    Note: I’m the author.

  2. Martinhwatson said on November 8, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Why anybody would keep the only copy of their photographs on Flickr, I do not know. I use Flickr for two reasons and I have 70000 photographs there. One is as a cloud backup, and two so that anyone anywhere in the world can enjoy my photographs. I will add a third reason, I have many of them linked to my own website. I certainly won’t be ransomed like this and I will be using the money I will save to buy additional hard drives, and the only losers will be SmugMug and the people who used to look at my photographs and send me comments about.

    1. Tom Hawack said on November 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

      Nice to read that from someone among the ~3% of all free users whom exceed the 1000 media limit : 70,000, wow. Nice and interesting as I would have thought that with such a number a user would be likely to pay cash to keep them on board. Not all concerned users obviously.

  3. John Fenderson said on November 8, 2018 at 12:18 am

    A good reminder…

    You can’t rely on cloud storage for the long term. If you are keeping data in any cloud service of any type, be sure that you are also keeping a copy of that data yourself as well.


  4. CGA said on November 7, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Another option is to select You->Camera Roll, there you can shift-click to select a range of photos. There is a limitation of 500 photos at a time. This is what I did and it worked quite nicely. I only have about 1 500 photos on Flickr though.

  5. Justin said on November 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    over 24 hours since I “requested” my data… still no email.

  6. Captain Obvious said on November 7, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Wouldn’t you already have all those photos stored on your PC in the first place?

    1. Josh said on November 7, 2018 at 10:51 am

      I used flickr auto uploader to upload all my phones photos for years. I dont have those phones anymore so all the photos are gone. there just on flickr now. so this 1000 photo limit sucks since I have over 40k photos on their.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

      Depends. If you used Flickr for a long time, say 10 years, you may have photos on the site that you don’t have on the local device anymore.

  7. jasray said on November 6, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Wonder if something like the following would work:



  8. Tom Hawack said on November 6, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    “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.”

    This shouldn’t be a problem if activating “Request my Flickr data” and downloading it doesn’t remove the user’s data, in which case the 1000 items would remain once the account brought to its free limit.

    What I ignore is if downloading one’s data on Flickr as above mentioned removes as well that data.

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