It sounds crazy to say this, but for a ton of users, Facebook’s been around for more than a decade. It was in 2006 when Facebook stopped only being for college students and opened their doors to the masses, and in the eleven years since, they’ve grown exponentially. In fact, last month, Facebook hit two billion monthly active users around the world—more than YouTube’s 1.5 billion monthly users, WhatsApp’s 1.2 billion monthly users, and more than six times the monthly active user base of Twitter. About 75 percent (or roughly 5.6 billion people) of the world’s population is able to join and start a Facebook (which requires being 13 years old or older), meaning over a third of the world’s population eligible to join the service has done so. When you think about it, it’s truly astounding how Facebook has grown from a small project built on the campus of Harvard into a service billions of people use monthly, making the social network one of the most important companies in the entire world.
Also see our article How To Unblock Someone on Facebook
So like most people, you’ve probably been on Facebook for years, using the social service as a tool to contact your friends, post your thoughts, share interesting stories and videos, and host your own photos and selfies. You’ve probably lost the original copies of those photos years ago—whether you got rid of an old phone, lost your SD card from your old point-and-shoot camera, or simply deleted the file to save space on your smartphone or computer. Luckily, with those memories saved in Facebook’s ecosystem, you still have access to your files—in fact, you can even download the images for your own usage.
So whether you’re looking to migrate off of Facebook’s own service, or you’re simply tired of having to view all your photos through Facebook’s image service, you can grab your files at any time. We have five different methods to download and save all of your Facebook photos, so no matter how you want to go about retrieving your digital history, you’ll be able to dive into the social service and pull your photos back out. Let’s take a look at how.
Downloading Separate Image Files From Facebook
In most cases, Facebook will push you to download images individually from each separate photo. Depending on what you’re trying to do with your photos, this is either the easiest and most convenient method—grabbing the one or two photos you need at a given time instead of downloading and searching your entire library because you needed three shots—or it’s the worst, most time-consuming method. Even downloading an album through individual photo files can be a hassle, let alone trying to grab every single image in your library. That said, if you’re trying to grab a few images at a time instead of your entire library, this is the easiest method for you. Let’s take a look.
Open up your Facebook profile by heading to their website and clicking on your name in the top-left corner. Along the top of your personal profile page, click the “Photos” tab. By default, this will load every image you’ve been tagged in, under a section called “Photos of You.” This isn’t necessarily your own photos though—plenty of these images might be from other users on the site, including your own friends and tags from other photos. Since you’re looking to download your own photos, click the “Your Photos” tab at the top of the image gallery. This will load all of your uploads, along with their specific galleries.
From here, your uploaded images will be sorted by date uploaded, so scroll through your images until you happen upon the ones you want to download. When you find an image worth saving from Facebook, click on the icon to open the image in your browser. Roll your mouse over the image and look for options to appear in white text at the bottom of the image. Select “Options,” and then select “Download.” Your image will automatically download to your computer’s Downloads folder, and you’ll be able to view your content here. Unfortunately, Facebook resizes and compresses your photo uploads, so if you’re hoping your 12 or 16MP original photo will be left at it’s original resolution when you download the photo, you’ll be saddened to learn Facebook’s photos are resized to either 720px, 960px, or 2048px depending on the usage and shape of the photo.
We should also note a serious problem we had when trying to download photos from Chrome: each time we tried to hit Download, the page would reload and give us an error message spelling out that a problem had occurred and telling us to close and reopen the browser, which never solved the issue. While we aren’t sure whether it’s a problem on Google’s or Facebook’s end, the two services don’t seem to want to work together well. If you run into this issue—which a quick search revealed seems to be a common problem with Chrome users—we suggest switching briefly to Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari for your downloading needs. We don’t recommend using Internet Explorer, however.
If you’re on a mobile platform like Android or iOS and you’re accessing your photos through the app, you can download your photo all the same. Head to your profile through the app by tapping on your photo on the main screen of your device. Tap “Photos” underneath your main profile and scroll over to “Your Photos.” Find the photo you’re looking to download and open it in full-screen mode and tap the menu button on your phone (on our Android-based test device, it’s a triple-dotted menu icon in the top-right hand corner). You can then download your photo, which should save right onto your phone’s camera reel or downloads folder. In a twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalan, screenshotting the photo we were trying to save on our Galaxy S7—which has a 1440p display—presented a larger resolution photo than downloading the proper image (which gave us an ~1100p image), though of course, the image will feature the same quality and artifacts since Facebook’s own service is downsizing your image.
Downloading Albums Through Facebook
So obviously, downloading single photos can suit your needs if you need to download individual images quickly for photoshops, collages, or any other quick-and-dirty needs. But if you need entire albums or libraries? You’ll need to do a bit more work for those. Album-downloading is a really great middle ground between downloading individual images and your entire library, meaning most users will probably find this to be the most useful method for downloading images. Unless you need access to every photo all at once—or you haven’t sorted your photos into albums—this is our favorite way to download photos on Facebook. It’s quick, easy, and makes archiving your own content accessible at any time. Let’s take a look.
Head on over to your Facebook profile and click on “Photos,” just as we outlined above with single photos. This time, instead of tapping on “Your Photos,” select “Albums.” This will load a list of your albums, including automatically-created ones like Videos, Profile Pictures, and others. From here, find the album you wish to download—the amount of photos in each album is listed at the bottom of each selection—and tap your selection to open it.
Once you’re viewing your own albums and the photos within, find the settings cog icon in the top-right corner of your album and tap on it. Select “Download album,” and a pop-up message will appear on your display from Facebook announcing that your photos will take a few minutes to process before your album is ready to be downloaded. Select “Continue,” and depending on the size of your album, it may take a few minutes of waiting to gain access to your newly-downloaded files. When your files are ready to go, tap on the notification that appears in the bottom-left corner of your screen, and you’ll receive a .zip file with your photos. Zip files have to be unzipped to use your files, but luckily MacOS and Windows 10 both support uncompressing files and folders out of the box. In MacOS, double-tap on your folder to receive an uncompressed version. In Windows 10, right-click and select “Extract All.”
Just as we saw with individual images, it’s worth noting these will all be compressed versions of your originals, as is standard with Facebook’s images. Since the images are compressed at the time of upload, there’s no way to gain uncompressed versions back from Facebook.
Also, unlike with single images, there’s no easy way to download albums straight from the Facebook app on mobile phones. You’ll have to either rely on the desktop version of Facebook giving you results with album downloads, or download your images individually on Facebook’s app for iOS and Android. Presumably, this is because iPhones cannot unzip compressed files, while Android phones typically need an additional app to do so—it’s a way of keeping the experience simple and uniform for users.
Use an Android app to download your Facebook photos
So, with that caveat, let’s take a look at using an Android app to download your Facebook photos. Some of these apps aren’t quite as solid as the mobile app for Facebook itself, but it’s worth taking note of the offerings on the Play Store anyway. Since these apps require you to log into your Facebook account within their respective apps, do be careful when giving out your password. Consider changing your password after using these apps for additional security.
- Photo Saver for Facebook: Photo Saver is a really simple utility that displays photos uploaded from both yourself and your list of friends and connections on the social network. From here, you can tap on each individual image, no matter who uploaded the original photo, and download them independently from each other. Unfortunately, Photo Saver doesn’t have any sort of batch downloading options, which means its utility is just as limited as what we’ve seen from the proper Facebook app.
- Facebook Photo Saver: Yes, this app has a near-identical title as what we just saw in our prior app. FPS has a better modern design than what we saw from Photo Saver above, but unlike our previous recommendation, this app is created primarily so you can download your own images, not the images of others. Here’s the good news: It’s easy to browse by album, and since you can check individual photos over multiple albums, it’s really easy to grab the photos you need and leave the photos you don’t.
- Photos Downloader for Facebook: Like FPS, this app lets you download multiple photos at once, allowing you to grab images, albums, or your entire album at once. Unfortunately, the app hasn’t been updated in over a year, the interface leaves a lot to be desired, and the app crashed twice on your test device while trying to download photos. Still, it has some decent review scores, even if nothing here is truly impressive.
Overall, we recommend Facebook Photo Saver as the best of these three apps. The design is quality, the app was updated this year, and the app does a great job in allowing users to download multiple images at once. The only major complaint we saw in reviews of the app had to do with small bugs and a lack of ability to download others’ photos. If you’re looking to export your photos from Facebook and you don’t have access to the desktop Facebook site, Facebook Photo Saver’s one of our favorite solutions overall.
Use a Chrome extension to download your Facebook photos
If you don’t have an Android phone, or you aren’t downloading photos on your phone, one of our preferred methods of downloading photos is using DownAlbum, one of our favorite Chrome extensions for grabbing your Facebook photos quickly and easily without making a mess or wasting your time. Obviously, you’ll have to be using Chrome to take advantage of this, but if you’ve made the switch to Google’s browser on your Mac or Windows PC, you’ll have no trouble using this extension.
Here’s what you need to know about DownAlbum: it supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Ask.fm, Pinterest, and even more social media apps, making it easy to gather your images together once you’ve found your various sources. Once you’ve installed DownAlbum, it’s really easy to use. The application sits in your browser’s taskbar. When you’ve loaded a page that DownAlbum supports downloading images from, the icon will light up, making it easy to grab your photos. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve loaded the album or albums you want to download with DownAlbum. If you simply load Facebook’s homepage, you’ll receive an error when trying to use the app.
Once you’ve loaded up an album, click on the web extension in your toolbar. There are a bunch of options here, and truth be told, the app has a bit of a learning curve. Most users will just want to use the “Normal” export option, though if you want to grab your captions or select specific images, there are tools for that too. DownAlbum has a series of tutorials linked through their own Chrome Web Store entry, and if you’re at all curious about how those other options function, we highly recommend checking out those links. For now, we’ll be moving forward with the “Normal” option we mentioned a moment ago—it’s the easiest tool for most users to download their albums.
When you select your export options, a loading screen will appear for a few moments as your album is prepared—you may have to tap “Continue” on the prompt provided. After a few moments of preparing your export, your download will be opened in a new tab within DownAlbum, not within Facebook. Every image here will be shown to you, along with comments and captions, if you selected for that to be prepared. You can open and preview selections, view your photos, change file names, merge folders, and toggle tags on and off. Once you’re ready to save your photos from this page, tap Ctrl+S on Windows or Cmd+S to save the page. Though you’ll be prompted to save the page as an HTML file, you’ll actually receive two separate files when you download your content: a proper HTML link that loads the page with your photos on it, as well as a folder in your Downloads that has each individual photo in it. You can use this app as many times as you’d like to download your content, completely free of use. It’s a great tool to use at your disposal, especially with all the other social sites it supports.
Use Facebook’s Own Export Info Option
This is a bit of a last-ditch resort, especially since using Facebook’s export feature won’t just take your photos and videos, but every piece of personal information into a single folder, but if you need to gather every image or video clip you’ve uploaded to Facebook’s network, this is the easiest way to grab everything in one full swoop. Unsurprisingly, Facebook doesn’t make this option super-obvious to most users, since typically, downloading full albums or individual images is enough to keep users satisfied. Still, this is t he best way to grab every photo all at once, so let’s take a look at Facebook’s exporting options.
Load up Facebook’s desktop website and, at the top of the page, find the small down-facing triangle menu button in the upper-right hand corner of your display, tap it, and select “Settings.” This’ll load a bunch of different options, and at first glance, it can be a bit overwhelming. Ignore everything and tap the menu option labeled “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” This will load you to a page that details everything included in your download, including the following information:
- Every post, photo, and video you’ve shared.
- Every message and chat conversation
- The information from your About section on your profile.
- A ton of other information that can be viewed in full here, but some highlights: Friends you’ve deleted, accounts you’ve indicated are family members, groups you belong to on Facebook, posts you’ve liked, every IP address you’ve logged into and out of your account on, and so much more.
This is a ton of data, even ignoring your photos and videos. If you’ve been around Facebook since it expanded to non-college users in 2006, you might have over a decade of data to sort through, and that can be a lot. If you do decide to move forward with this, you’ll be prompted to enter your password for security verification, before your archive begins to be gathered. Once your folder is ready, you’ll receive a notification allowing you to download your content. This is going to be a big file, even for something that’s been compressed, so be ready to spend some time waiting for the download to finish. Also note that you’ll need to do this on a laptop or desktop computer, not on your phone or tablet. We don’t necessarily think this is the best way to gain access and copies to every photo and video on your service since the export of your data contains so much additional, unnecessary information for your photos, but it’s also the fastest way to download everything on your account, so it’s something to keep in mind in general.
Once you’ve gotten your images off of Facebook, you can do anything you’d like with your various .jpeg files. From collages to quick Photoshop jobs, from art projects to framed gifts, anything you can think of it all yours. If you’re looking for a new place in the cloud to keep your photos that isn’t as social as Facebook, Google’s own Photos service has gained popularity and critical acclaim for its lack of compression and featureset, and Dropbox and Flickr are both great cloud services for holding your photos and videos both with and without social features. Whether you’re looking for a single image download or you’re ready to leave Facebook permanently, these options outlined above are sure to satisfy your Facebook image need.