If you have a Flickr account, now is the time to download your photos and videos. Flickr has recently cut its storage allocation for free accounts to just 1,000 pictures, and if you have too many snaps in your account, the oldest ones will be permanently deleted on February 5.
Flickr has its own tool for downloading your photos, videos and personal data (which we've explained here), but it's an all-or-nothing affair; there's no way to pick and choose what's downloaded. Flickr's own download tool doesn't let you grab any photos from other users, either, and it takes a while for the compressed ZIP archive containing your shots to be created.
That's where third-party Flickr photo downloaders come in. These free tools give you much more control over what you save, enabling you to pick out just the photos you really want. There are lots of downloaders around, but the quality varies hugely so we've picked out the ones that we'd trust with our own pictures.
Grab your own snaps, or those released under a Creative Commons license
You’ll also need to authorize the app to access your account (as you will with almost all the tools here) after which you’ll be able to see your whole photo stream, or individual albums. You can download up to 50 photos in a batch. If you want to download more images at once, you’ll need to check out the two paid tiers (Pro and Pro+), which give you extra options including the ability to download metadata, access photos and videos at their original resolution, and browse up to 300 photos per page.
Bulkr also lets you search for and download photos on Flickr under various Creative Commons licenses, which is a great addition. Options with a star beside them (such as Sort) are restricted to the premium versions of Bulkr, but the free version is still superb.
A faster, more convenient way to download your own pictures
Flickr Downloadr can only download files from your own Flickr account, but it gives you a lot more options than Flickr’s own download tool and you don’t have to wait while your images and videos are compressed into a ZIP file.
Once you’ve granted permission for the tool to access your Flickr account, you’ll be presented with a great range of options, including the naming convention for the downloaded files, the image size (original, large or medium), and the metadata to be downloaded. You can also choose to search for specific albums, and choose the ‘safety level’ of shots to be downloaded to avoid or include adult content.
You’ll then be presented with a list of your albums, with thumbnails to help you identify them. Select the ones to download (confusingly, the ‘Download entire albums’ checkbox allows you to select several at once), then click ‘Continue’. You’ll be asked to confirm your choice, then the download will begin.
The only downside of Flickr Downloadr is that it can sometimes crash, though this happened very rarely in our testing.
Download photos from your own account, or your contacts' streams
Downloadair is a free Flickr downloader for Windows and macOS. Again, it requires Adobe Air, which you can download separately if necessary.
Downloadair looks great, with a layout that's similar to Flickr itself. You can easily switch between your albums and photostream, and download any photo you want with a single click. You can also set the download size (full size is the default) and download destination in the Preferences menu, which is accessible via an icon at the bottom left.
Downloadair makes use of Flickr’s (often underrated) social features too, letting you easily see and download photos from your contacts. Bear in mind that Downloadair won’t stop you downloading images that the owner has chosen to retain all the rights to, so make sure your pals are happy for you to save their snaps before proceeding.
It’s a shame there’s no way to download photos in batches unless you choose to back up your entire account.
Great search and filter tools to find exactly the photos you want
Unlike the other tools here, Flickr Fast Downloader doesn't require you to connect an account before you get started – you can simply search for public photos and begin downloading, If you do decide to log in, you’ll be given the option of downloading all your photos with one click, or you can pick and choose.
What sets Flickr Fast Downloader apart from the rest is its selection of filters. You can filter by file type (photos or videos), search for tags, and set date ranges. When you see the photos you want, just click to select them, then hit the ‘Download’ button. You can change the destination for downloaded files by delving into the Settings menu.
You can also search the whole of Flickr for photos, and enter the profile URL of a particular user if you want to download snaps that aren’t your own. By default, Flickr Fast Downloader doesn’t search for a specific license type, but you can restrict it to different types of Creative Commons and other licenses.
The drawback of this enormously useful tool is that your photos will only be downloaded in medium size; for larger snaps, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium license.
A handy Chrome plugin that makes grabbing snaps a little bit faster
Flickr Photos Download is an extension for Chrome that lets you download photos from Flickr in a choice of sizes directly through your browser – including ones in other users’ photostreams. It works well, but it doesn't let you download more than one photo at a time, and because it requires you to navigate to the photo you want in your browser, it has few advantages over Flickr’s own download function.
The only real advantage of the Chrome plugin is that you can see the whole range of possible download sizes with one click, rather than two.
You can use it to download photos that aren’t released under a Creative Commons license and wouldn't otherwise be downloadable, but there aren’t many cases when you’d need to do this.