Some news about Yahoo – Flickr’s parent company, the iconic photo-sharing social network – has caused anxiety. Last year, Yahoo revealed that it had been hacked twice in the past few years, leading to privacy breaches by more than 1 billion customers – while countering allegations that it compromised U.S. intelligence in monitoring customer emails.
Yahoo’s unfortunate hacks (and other bad news)
In September 2016, Yahoo confirmed it was the victim of a 2014 state-sponsored hack that affected 500 million user accounts. In December, Yahoo admitted that in a 2013 hack, information about more than 1 billion accounts was stolen.
That was in addition to an October report by Reuters that alleged that Yahoo supported U.S. intelligence operations by scanning about 500 million users’ email accounts in real-time without the owner’s permission. Yahoo called the report “misleading,” giving a slightly different version of the event. According to Yahoo, “We narrowly explain all government requests for user data to minimize disclosure. The message scanning feature described in the article does not exist in our system.”
Flickr: Lose the ball?
It is unclear how many people are affected by all of this, but the damage to Yahoo’s reputation – and in general, of sites like Flickr – is significant. Security analyst Rich Mogull, CEO of the security firm Securosis, said: “Yahoo has made business decisions to sacrifice customer security; that’s not the kind of company I want to support and the burden now is on them to win back the trust.”
In addition to security concerns, Flickr members have been tracking the shadow of the site fading over time, especially as rumors shift to central locations.
Flickr is still a strong photo page
But despite the ups and downs of Flickr, the service is still a valuable network for viewing, sharing, and storing photos for free, easily. Yahoo reports 13.6 million uploads of photos every day, and millions of users worldwide have collectively uploaded more than 13 billion photos to the service.
Flickr defended itself against allegations of security over $250 million in improvements since 2012. “Throughout its more than 20-year history, Yahoo has focused and invested in security programs and talent to protect our users,” a Yahoo spokesperson told onefctv.
But the damage could have been done. Today, as Flickr users await Yahoo’s acquisition, some users are looking for a retreat strategy. Unlike just closing Yahoo emails, saying goodbye to Flickr takes a lot of time and effort. If that’s what you really want, here’s what to do.
Restore your picture
There are several ways to get your photos from Flickr. You can download them directly or use any tools and utilities to make the job easier. These are three methods; use which one suits you best.
Download photos directly from Flickr
The main advantage of this method is that your image retains its original resolution.
In Picture Gallery, sort by Shooting Date, and then Select All for specific time periods depending on volume and resolution. It’s best to do small pieces —selecting a large group can cause the process to fail. Then click Download and those photos will come to your screen as Zip files to store wherever you want. It can be a long process if you have thousands of photos.
If you take the time to name a photo, they’ll maintain a name along with encryption and metadata, but your downloaded photos won’t retain keywords, descriptions, comments, favorites, notes, or statistics. If you download an album, the Zip file will include the name of the album, but individual photos will only have a Flickr database ID.
Use The Downloader
Flickr Download, a free open source app for Mac, Windows, and Linux, provides an easy way to download your photos to your hard drive or external hard drive with ease. Just use the app to select the photo and it will send it to you as a Zip file. Unlike Flickr’s built-in downloader, the app saves the name and description of the photo – but in a separate text file, it’s better to have nothing, but it’s not like embedding information into a photo. Make no mistake: Re-creating the description for each image would be a tedious task if you had to do it for thousands of photos.
You’ll first want to download your image or Zip file to your hard drive. (I used a Seagate Backup Plus 2TB drive connected to my MacBook Air.) If you have a lot of storage space, you can send images right on your hard drive, but you may not want to keep a large library there forever.
Bulkr, an Adobe Air app, will also download your photos in bulk. The free version quickly rips through your photo collection, storing each photo in any folder you specify. However, if you pay for the professional version, it will download the photo in full resolution, allowing you to access all your edibles and more.
With your originals in hand, you can choose where to store them: iCloud, DropBox, Google Photos, SmugMug, and more. Flickr is free, so is Google Photos. Amazon Prime members get unlimited storage space for free. Other services are available through subscriptions at a fairly modest price and all have a companion mobile app.
Store your photos on another cloud service
Are you a Dropbox user? When your photos appear on the screen, you can immediately upload the entire folder to Dropbox by right-clicking and selecting the Move to Dropbox command.
You can also easily import them into Apple Photos or upload them to another cloud-based app like Google Photos or OneDrive.
Looking to the Future: Flickr Alternatives
There are plenty of places to back up your photo gallery, even if you decide to stay with Flickr: Backup as well. Here are a few good examples.
500px is a great community for photo professionals and enthusiasts. It offers online photo sharing on the web and through the iOS and Android apps. It allows users to upload photos from local devices or via Dropbox, Flickr, Facebook, etc., with attractive album layouts, user comments and votes.
The free plan allows uploading 20 images per week and allows users to upload and earn copyright money as well as browse images from other 500px members. Annual paid plans starting at $25 per year also offer Google Analytics integration.
Dropbox is useful for storing and backing up your photos and has an automatic camera uploader that will upload your new photos when you plug them into your computer. You can view images directly in Dropbox on your desktop or mobile device.
Go on and add comments to photos, including contact names, or create and share folders with specific photos to share with anyone, even if they don’t have an account.
SmugMug photo sharing is aimed at professional and passionate photographers with unlimited storage and uploads, starting at $3.34 per month (annual payment). To do that, you get a custom website, full-screen gallery, drag-and-drop organization, password protection, print order, etc. It even allows uploading videos and GIFs. The four packages cost from $5 to $25 monthly providing increasingly professional services.
Google Photos, a standalone photo-sharing service, offers unlimited photo and video uploads, and synthesizes and organizes visual content from your various social networking devices and profiles, along with some great photo editing tools.
You can upload unlimited, but the service will compress your images if they exceed 16MP, so it’s targeting consumers and mobile photographers instead of those who specialize in photography. Paid plans start at $1.99 per month for 100GB of storage.
The iCloud photo library, an offshoot of Apple’s iCloud service, offers seamless integration and updates across all your devices, making it easier to manage your collection by dragging and dropping. Edits are updated automatically everywhere. It also allows you to create a shared library with friends and family in their photostream. The 5GB free version won’t take you long: You’ll need to buy a premium plan that costs between $99 and $13.99 per month for up to 1TB of storage.
Say goodbye to your Flickr account
Once you’ve downloaded and stored any photos you want to keep, you may want to permanently delete your old Flickr account. Yahoo offers a simple way to do this:
Sign in to Flickr.
Click your look and click Install or visit your Account.
Click the Delete your Flickr account button.
Review the presented information, and then click OK-Next.
Enter your password.
Check Yes, I totally understand. Think carefully before continuing because, after the next step, it cannot be ransomed.
Click Delete my account.
Flickr was created as a social network for sharing and commenting on photos rather than merely an archive for every cat photo you take. However, providing a full or even unlimited terabyte of storage makes it possible to use all your photos in the service, while exposing only a small percentage in front of public eyeballs.
The bottom line is that online services are inherently matched. Companies come and go; cloud space may be hacked or corrupted; Corporate crises can suddenly turn a website into an unsuitable place to store your content. You definitely don’t need to leave Flickr, but you’ve got the tools to do it – and you can follow the steps in this article to make sure your photos are backed up and stored in backup for future use and enjoyment.