How to: Switch from Instagram to Flickr and take your photos with you

The webosphere has been all abuzz over changes to Instagram’s terms of service over the past 24 hours. Essentially: any photos uploaded to Instagram no longer belong to you, and can be used by Instagram/Facebook as they wish for marketing. It sucks pretty bad, but there is one photo alternative with all the same filters, and sharing/social features as Instagram that has been around for a while: Flickr. It’s essentially an online gallery you can use to upload photos too, and has a nifty iPhone app which gives you a lot more control over cropping, text and editing of your photo than Instagram ever did. All with one bonus: the images are yours, not Flickrs. Granted it’s not has hipster as Instagram, but I’d rather be a little less trendy, and still own my own soul.

So, you want to switch, but you don’t want to lose your images of eggs benedict or your new nail polish. Switching and taking your photos with you is pretty simple.

1. Set up a Flickr/Yahoo! account and download the Flickr iPhone app.

If you already have a Yahoo! Mail account, you can use those login details to log in to Flickr. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to get this up and running.

2. Download all your Instagram photos.

There are a few different programs you can use to download or backup all your Instagram photos to the cloud, or direct to your computer (as outlined in this excellent SlashGear post). My own personal choice was Instabackup for Mac ($0.99/£0.69 on the Mac App Store). It was as simple as downloading the app (2 seconds), logging in to Instagram and creating a folder to download all my images to. The entire process took a couple of minutes at most. Highly recommend it if you use a Mac. (Screenshot of the app above).

If you don’t have a Mac, you can us Open Photo. It’s a universal, web-based service. The service is free, simple to use and connects to your DropBox account. Quick tutorial on using Open Photo below, but first head on over to: Open Photo:

  • Hit “get started” and input your registration details. (Nothing heavy, just your name, email etc)
  • Select the service you want to backup your photos too. (I chose DropBox.)
  • Hit “continue to DropBox” (If you used it). DropBox then asks you to confirm that you want to authorize Open Photo access to your account. (Don’t worry, it only wants one folder, not the whole thing. Your files are safe.)
  • Click “allow”.
  • You then get the option to import your photos from Instagram, Facebook or Flickr. Choose “Instagram”.
  • Authorize it to access your Instagram by hitting “continue to Instagram”.
  • Click “authorize”
  • The next window kicks off the importing process.
  • Sit back and watch the status bar fill up. (Could take some time so, make some coffee.)

3. Upload your photos to Flickr.

Log in to the main site on your desktop computer/laptop and upload your images. Thankfully, it’s easy to just drag and drop files in to the upload screen. If you are new to Flickr, as usual there’s an easy way to connect with existing friends by connecting to Facebook or your email contacts book. That way, your photo sharing is still social, and privacy settings are adjustable too.

4. Delete your Instagram account (if you want to)

Before you do this, you must be sure you want to. Once you’ve deleted your account, you can’t re-activate or sign up again using the same username as before. You’ll have to sign up with a brand new account. New name. The lot. Thankfully, it’s a piece of cake if you are determined to delete all traces of yourself from Instagram. Just hit up the account deletion page.

Now you’re done with Instagram and fully set up with Flickr. Taking and sharing images is generally just as simple as Instagram, but the app does offer a lot more in terms of creative tools than Instagram ever did. Take some time to complete your Flickr Profile with your own user thumbnail and information at your own leisure.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on twitter.


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  • JerenYun

    @TiP_Cam Could also recommend an IFTTT recipe to then keep the two synced.

  • TiP_Cam

    @JerenYun You don’t want to keep Instagram synced with anything. That’s the point. ;- )

  • JerenYun

    @TiP_Cam Well, your 4th step was optional. If people decide to use Instagram until Jan 16th, at least it’d go into Flickr, too.

  • mattrmiller

    Photore backs up your Instagram photos in high quality form to your hard drive. It takes minutes to leave the service:

  • TiP_Cam

    @mattrmiller Awesome. Great tip!

  • ChetanSanja

    Great share. Very detailed explanations and tutorial. Instagram is a very popular social site, not only we can share pictures but currently today also videos are being shared. Flickr is also a good site where we can store and save our pictures and images, sort of we can say it is our online backup.

  • Instagram facility for Flickr is very nice :

  • Awesome. Great tip  for the Flickr.  &

  • i really like your site and information about instagram