With Yahoo on the skids, here's how to get your photos out of Flickr

For those with many precious photos stored on Flickr, Yahoo's purchase may inspire some concern. Here are some tips for backing up your images, including ways to automatically save your images to cloud services and get more reliable backups.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

So how about that Yahoo, right? The company that once turned down a buyout offer from Microsoft for $44.6 billion just got sold to Verizon for the bargain basement price of $4.8 billion.


Flickr's home page

For a company once valued at as much as $125 billion, that's a stunning fall. We've all watched the Yahoo story over the years. Like Jeb, no magical exclamation point had the power to make it compelling in 2016.

Verizon, Yahoo, and Flickr

Flickr, for those of you who don't check Techmeme three times a day, was acquired by Yahoo back in 2005. Your photos are on Flickr. Flickr is owned by Yahoo. And Yahoo just got picked up for 1/26th of its top of the curve market cap.

Given that Yahoo has been losing money and Verizon (seriously, Verizon) picked up the company at a low-ball price, something has got to go. It could be Flickr. I doubt Verizon will dump your images, but you never know. None of us expected Google Reader to go away, but it did.

As for Verizon and Flickr, here's my prediction: Flickr is an actively used brand, and Verizon is spending more and more of its energy selling phones that take pictures. So I would honestly be very surprised if you woke up one morning and found all your pictures gone.

We don't yet have a clear picture of Verizon's overall content strategy. So we don't really know where Yahoo fits alongside AOL. That said, since there is such a synergy between photos on Flickr and photos on phones, we may see something like premium Flickr made available to Verizon users. As for what happens to users who don't have Verizon service, or whether the company is planning something else entirely -- we just don't know.

But why take a chance? It's a good idea to backup your Flickr collection just in case.

Save your pix

Given the uncertainty, if you value your Flickr photos, it might not be a bad idea to back them up somewhere other than Yahoo. Fortunately, that's pretty easy to accomplish. I'm going to show you a bunch of useful ways.

Flickr's download option - Flickr itself offers a download option that will allow you to retrieve your images. You can download either from Camera Roll or Albums.

If you're in Camera Roll, you can bulk select all images uploaded on a given date. Click the Select All button right next to the date to add all the date's photos to the selection queue. You can scroll down through the dates and keep hitting Select All to add to the selection queue. When you've selected everything you want, just tap the download icon and Flickr will let you save a .zip file to your local drive.

You can also download an individual Album as a .zip file. From Albums, simply hover over the Album's thumbnail and a few icons will appear. One will be the download icon. Press that and you'll again be presented the option to save a .zip file.


Just tap the download button after you've made your selection.

One of our editors reports he's used Flickr's downloader many times, and "it works like a charm." However, while researching download options for you, I bumped into a lot of disgruntled discussion board posts. Users said they ran into limits or failures attempting to do full downloads of their photos from Flickr. Luckily, there are a number of other options should you wish to avail yourself of them.

Sending images to Facebook - Notice the Share button above. One of the more interesting ways to backup your photos is to store them on Facebook as well as Flickr. You can use the Share button to share your images to Facebook. Now, here's the thing to keep in mind. If your images are public, sharing will share all your images to your friends. A giant dump may not be a good idea.

But if your images are private, you'll effectively copy your Flickr images into Facebook as a storage mechanism. Used with caution, it's a good option. If I were you, though, I'd still download a copy to my personal computer as a backup -- and then back that up.

IFTTT - Once you have your current images backed up, there's a neat way to make sure all your new Flickr images also find their way into another repository. IFTTT (which means If This Then That), allows you to set up a recipe (what IFTTT calls its web-based scripts) so that when an image is uploaded to Flickr, it's copied to another service (like Facebook, Evernote, or Dropbox).

Here's an example of some IFTTT recipes for sending Flickr images to Facebook.

Backup to Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive - If you don't want to download your images to your desktop computer and have a cloud account on something like Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, you can use a freemium service called MultiCloud to backup your Flickr collection.

MultiCloud is pretty cool, because it connects the repository of one cloud service to another and performs web-based transfers. The service is free up to a whopping 10TB in transfers, which should accommodate just about any Flickr collection.

flickr downloader - If you'd prefer to do a bulk download to your desktop, consider flickr downloadr, a free program that's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can select images in individual albums or download based on tags.

Because it doesn't attempt to download collections in the form of a single, large .zip file and instead downloads each image individually, flickr downloadr can be more reliable if you're having problems retrieving a large .zip file.

Resumable downloads using Bulkr - If you're willing to spend a few bucks to save your images, you might want to look at Bulkr.

Bulkr, produced by cat loving photographer Prakash Bajracharya in Kathmandu, Nepal, is $29. While $29 might seem a bit steep for some, the license is good for use on five computers and comes with free upgrades.

Here's where Bulkr really shines. Not only can it do some amazing searches and bulk downloads, it can also resume failed downloads. That's where its true value lies for our purpose here today. If you're having problems downloading large .zip files or have a less-than-solid internet connection, Bulkr will let you resume your download process without losing its place.

So if you really want to get a solid backup from Flickr, Bulkr can make that happen.


Bulkr is a helpful tool.

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