Howto: Moving your Flickr pictures to Google Photos

Google announced Google Photos, giving everyone with a Google account unlimited storage to safely backup all of their photos and videos. I expect many people to move over all of their pictures to Google Photos. One service that gained some popularity was Yahoo’s Flickr, which offered 1TB of storage. However, this is yet another account to keep track of; while with Google, you can have everything in one place under one login (e.g. e-mail, contacts, photos).

In this guide, I show you some options on how to move your full Flickr photostream (i.e. albums and sets) over to Google’s Photos service.

Transfer from Flickr to Google

Option 1 — Manually download your photos

If you have lots of pictures, check out the other options. But read on if you just started using Flickr, or you only have few images or videos on Flickr. Manually downloading your Flickr images is actually the safest bet, because you can control what you download. Just make sure you don’t download a downsized version of your images; download the full-sized/original one.


Option 2 — Camera Roll

The Camera Roll page, at the time of writing this still in beta, might be an option for you. So on that page, you see an overview of all of your photos, ordered by date taken. Now to download your photos, select them by dragging.

Drag to select the photos

Once selected, you have the option to download them. Flickr will create a .zip file of these images, with their original resolution and meta data. Tip: while selecting, use the Page Down (PgDn) button to speed up your selection.

Option 3 — Use a tool

Unfortunately, Flickr does not have the possibility to download all of your images in bulk (other than explained in the second option). Luckily, there are some great individuals out there who created their own ánd are free to use alternatives. However, with the latest Flickr design updates, the truth is that almost no tool worked properly! Most of them are broken or do require you to pay for them. I tried many of them, but here is a list of such applications that fully worked, were free and allowed me to save all of my pictures in bulk with as little interaction as possible. When the tool is ready downloading (mine took over two days, so be patient depending on the number of pictures you have), you can ultimately upload all of them to your Google account and watch them on Google Photos.


This was the app that got the job done for me. With over 50,000 photos and 750 videos in about 560 albums, Downloadair still managed to get the job done. These are some key features of Downloadair that makes it my personal favourite:

  • Works on both Windows and Mac OS X
  • Download per album, or your whole Flickr account at once
  • For each album, a folder is created

Note that you will need Adobe Air in order to use this downloader. If needed, Adobe Air can easily be uninstalled later.

This was the quickest tool of all the tools I tried and it gave no error messages whatsoever. The interface is clean and comprehensive. A big plus is that it will resume downloading in case you shut down your computer or exit the app. Donate if you can, because it is worth it.

Flickr Downloadr

Flickr Downloadr might not be an original name, but this tool works. Here are the main reasons to check out Flickr Downloader:

  • It’s open source, so that could make it possible more secure than closed source tools
  • It works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Easy to use

While this is a working tool, it has some drawbacks as well. First of all, it saves all your photos in one folder. Unlike Downloadair, it does not create a folder for each album. For some, this might not be an issue, but others might find this unacceptable. Also, this tool is kind of slow compared to the other ones. A last disadvantage of FD is that it needs the GTK+ toolkit software for it to function properly.

Upload to Google Photos

To upload your pictures and videos to Google Photos, you have multiple options. Your best bet is to go with the Google Photos desktop-uploader. Install it, then select the folder(s) you want it to upload. Another option is using the Google Photos web-interface.

What are your experiences with downloading your pictures from Flickr in bulk? Did I miss a tool, or is there a better way that I missed? Let me know in the comments how your migration went!


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2 thoughts on “Howto: Moving your Flickr pictures to Google Photos

  1. Hello there!

    I’d like to ask you something about moving photos from Flickr to Google Photos.
    I’m currently downloading all my Flickr photos to my PC with DownloadAir.
    Now this app seems to create folders, and the first one is the “Auto Upload”.
    I suspect the other one will be the Flickr Sets, right ?

    So when DownloadAir completes it’s procedure, I will have o my PC let’s say 15 folders/albums which will actually be all the Sets I had in Flickr, and one more that will be the “Auto Upload” which will contain all my photos, including the ones that exist within the above mentioned albums / folders / sets.

    So the question here is, what will happen with the duplicates when I upload all those albums to Google Photos? I’m thinking that for every photo that I have within the named 15 albums there will be a duplicate that will be uploaded when I upload the “Auto Upload” album.

    Any thought on this ?
    Thank you in advance.

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