For many people, Facebook acts like a curated photo album of their lives. It hits all the highlights, from birthday parties to vacation snapshots. Those photos don’t just have to live on Facebook. You can download them, one at a time, or all at once.
There are several reasons why you might want to download your Facebook photos. You may simply want a backup, or perhaps you want to create a photo book or share them through another platform. You may also want to preserve them if you are planning on leaving Facebook and deleting your account. Click here for more details on deleting your Facebook presence.
Ready to backup your Facebook adventures? Here’s how to save your photos for posterity.
One at a time
If you just need to grab the occasional photo here and there, you can download images one at time. From your profile page, timeline, or photos section, click on the image you want download. In a desktop or laptop browser, you just need to hover over the image until a series of menus appear at the bottom. Click on “Options” and choose download to save it to your computer.
In the iOS and Android apps, open the photo you want and select the three dots in the upper right corner. Choose “Save Photo” on iOS to download it to your device. For the Android app, it says "Save to phone." The result is the same.
Get your archive
If you want to download all of your Facebook photos, then the one-at-a-time method isn’t going to cut it. This is when you should use Facebook’s archive feature.
To get started, head into your settings and choose “Your Facebook Information.” Next, choose “Download Your Information.” As Facebook notes, “Downloading your information is a password-protected process that only you will have access to. Once you've created a file, it will be available for download for a few days.”
You can choose to just download your photos and videos, but if you plan to delete your Facebook account, then obtaining the full archive is a good idea. Either way, just be sure the checkbox next to "Photos and Videos" is selected. You can also specify a date range and the quality of the media, which is automatically set to "high." The default format is HTML, which will work well for most people.
Once you’ve selected what to include, click on "Create File." You will get a message that Facebook is processing your file and will let you know when it’s complete. Facebook will also send you an email acknowledging the request. If you’ve spent years on Facebook, then you know why this isn’t an instantaneous thing. You likely have a ton of photos and videos connected to your Facebook profile.
It generally won’t take too long before you receive a notification on Facebook and an email alerting you that your download is ready. “For security reasons, the file will be available to download for only a few days after you receive this email,” says Facebook. If you miss the window, you can always create a new file.
Download your photos
Follow the email instructions or click on your Facebook notification to go to the Download Your Information page. Here you can just click on the “Download” button to get your file. Facebook will tell you how large the file is, so just make sure you have enough space on your device. If it’s particularly big, you may want to download it to a computer with more storage space, rather than your phone.
Facebook also offers a good reminder about privacy: “Because this file may contain private information, you should keep it secure and take precautions when storing or sending it, or when uploading it to another service.”
Now that you have your photos, you can back them up, share them, or just keep them safe for a rainy day.
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Facebook knows more than you think.
Facebook is monitoring and gathering a lot of information about its users.