Facebook releases open source tool to make uploading photos less of a data hog

Woman using Facebook on laptop

Facebook has released a new open source tool that makes uploading high-res photos on mobile devices gobble less data allowance. 

Spectrum is an image processing library for Android and iOS that Facebook uses to make image uploads in its own apps faster and smoother. The company has now made it available on Github for any developers building apps that allow users to upload pictures. 

"We hope that Spectrum will benefit developers in the same way it's helped Facebook create a better image production experience," the company said. "In our apps, Spectrum has improved reliability and quality of image uploads across our apps."

Sharper and faster

Phone cameras are improving in leaps and bounds, which means better quality images, but also larger files that take forever to upload. Uploading full-resolution pictures is also wasteful if they're going to be resized at the other end anyway, which is what happens when you upload them to Facebook and Instagram.

Spectrum reduces the size of the image on your phone, so it requires less bandwidth to send, while optimizing image quality.

"The default integration with Mozilla JPEG allows a reduction of up to 15% in upload file size compared to a baseline encoder," said Facebook. "We are excited to see how the community uses the Spectrum 1.0.0 library to improve the photo experiences in applications."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)