Flickr starts deleting your old photos from today – here’s how to save them

Flickr starts deleting your old photos from today – here’s how to save them
Flickr will begin deleting users' photos from February 5 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Flickr will begin deleting the photos of budding photographers from today (February 5), as the service moves in line with new terms and conditions imposed by its new owners.

Previously, users were allowed up to one terabyte of storage with a free account, but when image sharing service SmugMug purchased Flickr from Yahoo! last year, it announced that all free photo accounts would be limited to just 1,000 images.

The new cap was put in place last month, but now the service will begin shaving down accounts to meet the new limits, starting with the oldest images first.

There’s no size limit to the images you are allowed – so in theory you could exceed 1TB if you specialise in super high quality images – but you won’t be able to upload more than 1,000.

What can I do to save my Flickr photos?

There are a couple of options open to users who want to keep their precious photos safe: you can upgrade to a premium Flickr account, with costs beginning at £3.99 a month, or you can back the images up yourself.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite as simple as it sounds, as Flickr no longer offers users an easy method for downloading photos.

Photos can be downloaded in batches of 500 though, with these steps:

1. Log in to Flickr, mouse over ‘You,’ and select Camera Roll
2. Click ‘Select All’ on each date you uploaded until you’ve selected 500 photos in total. There’s no way to automatically tally how many you’ve checked, so you may have to estimate slightly
3. Select ‘Download’ at the bottom of the screen
4. Select ‘Create Zip File’
5. Your files may not be available to download immediately depending on their size and the amount you’ve selected, but when they are they’ll be available under the FlickrMail section – the bell icon in the upper right hand corner

Those who prefer to sort their photos by albums can follow similar steps:

1. Log in to Flickr, mouse over ‘You,’ and select Albums
2. Mouse over the albums you want to download and click the download button
3. Select ‘Create Zip File’
4. Your files may not be available to download immediately depending on their size and the amount you’ve selected, but when they are they’ll be available under the FlickrMail section – the bell icon in the upper right hand corner

Why the change?

According to Flickr, “Yahoo! lost sight of what makes Flickr truly special and responded to a changing landscape in online photo sharing by giving every Flickr user a staggering terabyte of free storage.”

That amount of storage “attracted members who were drawn by the free storage, not by engagement with other lovers of photography”.

“This caused a significant tonal shift in our platform,” they said in a blog post, “away from the community interaction and exploration of shared interests that makes Flickr the best shared home for photographers in the world.”

Flickr says just three per cent of free users have more than 1,000 photos stored on the site.

Originally published on our sister site, iNews