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With the amount of information we post online, we’re putting an awful lot of faith in third party services to keep our content and photos safe. Between Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Google+, there’s no limit to the way we share our images online. And thanks to a few other third party services, there’s no limit to the ways we can back up our online photos to our computers.
The list of services below are all cross-platform, meaning that it doesn’t matter what your computer or operating system of choice might be, you’ll find a way to back up photos from all of those services, and more.
As is the case with any service you’re going to use with Instagram, the first step is authorizing Instaport to access your account. Once you’ve done that, you only have one main choice at the moment – to download your Instagram photos to your computer as a .zip file, with support for Facebook, Flickr and RSS feeds “coming soon”.
When you expand the ‘Advanced Options‘ you’ll find that you have a lot of control over how you download your Instagram photos. You can choose to download all of your photos (which is the default option), download a certain number of your most recent photos, all the photos taken within a certain time range, or a maximum of 500 photos tagged with a specific keyword. There is also the option to download the photos that you’ve liked, but Instaport does warn users that it’s unstable.
Once the export is done, the final step is for you to simply click the download link to save the .zip file to your computer. Saved photos are 612×612 pixels.
The Adobe Air app, Bulkr, is one of the easiest cross-platform ways to download all of your Flickr photos to your computer. After installing the app on your computer, you’ll have to grant the app access to your account – meaning it can access your account, including your private content.
In the app, you can browse all of your photos, your sets and your favourites. With the free version of the app, you can only access your 5 most recent sets,
When it comes to backing up your photos, you can choose the size (small, medium, large, original), and can also choose to download your metadata (if applicable). The download feature also has the added bonus of allowing you to save metadata in a text file, which will include the link to the original file.
With the free version of Bulkr you can save up to 50 photos in your photostream at a time, or your five latest sets. The pro version will set you back $30 and will give you access to all of your photos and videos, full access to creative commons photos and sets, and will allow you to browse up to 500 photos per page (the free version limits you to 50).
Check out our original Bulkr review, and two other recommendations on how to download your Flickr photos and sets here.
To download your Google+ photos, you don’t need to download an extra app or use a third party service, but you do have to have Picasa installed on your computer. For your own photos, simply go to the Picasa web interface (make sure you’re logged in), and you can download entire albums at a time. Click on ‘Actions‘ and look for the ‘Download to Picasa‘ to save the photos to your computer
If you want to download photos uploaded to Google+ by other users, go to their Google+ profile, and copy the long string of digits in their URL.
In your URL, type http://picasaweb.google.com and paste that string of numbers, along with ?noredirect=1 at the end of the URL and press enter.
That will load the Google+ users albums in the Picasa web interface, allowing you to download the photos the same way you did your own.
Facebook & More
If you’re looking for an all-in-one option that supports a variety of online accounts, look no further than SocialFolders. Photo services supported by SocialFolders are Facebook, Photobucket, SmugMug, Flickr, Picasa, Instagram, and Evernote. Installing the app on your computer will allow you to create folders on your computer where photos will be saved.
Simply connect the accounts of your choice by granting SocialFolders access to them, and you will be prompted to download all of your photos to your computer. If you don’t want to download all of your photos, in the case of services with albums or sets, you can skip the download prompt, and select specific albums to download.
For Facebook in particular, you can save all of your albums, select certain albums, as well as photos you’re tagged in and even your future albums.
Not only does SocialFolders make it easy to back up all of your online photos, it runs in the background on your computer constantly syncing your online account with your desktop folder. If you want to, you can also use SocialFolders to upload your images to these services since it allows two-way sync. That said, the service comes with a 2,000 file and 3 service limit on free accounts. Upgrading to premium to remove these limits will cost you a mere $2 a month or $9 a year.
What service do you use to backup your photos? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Iconspedia