Hero Images—Getty Images/Hero Images
By Patrick Lucas Austin
Updated: February 7, 2019 10:34 AM ET | Originally published: February 4, 2019

Flickr announced in November it would be changing its generous photo storage allotment for free users, restricting them to a 1,000-photo limit, and threatening to delete excess photos unless you upgrade to a paid account. Originally slated to begin Tuesday, Feb. 5, Flickr has since extended that deadline to Tuesday, March 12, giving you an extra month to get your images and videos out without fear of deletion.

If you’re not a fan of subscribing to another service, or just want to make sure your Flickr photos are safe from destruction, here’s how to rescue your photos (and save yourself some money) before they’re lost forever.

What’s happening to my Flickr photos?

In 2013, Flickr, then owned by Yahoo!, expanded its storage option for users, offering them one terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of storage space for photos for free. That’s enough space for anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 images, a far cry from the previous free user limit of 200 photos. By comparison, Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage charges $6.99 per month for one terabyte of storage.

After its acquisition by SmugMug in April, Flickr updated its photo storage terms, imposing a new of limit 1,000 photos for free users. According to the company’s announcement, users with fewer than 1,000 photos — 97% of Flickr’s free users — will not be affected by the change. Still, the new rule jeopardized the existence of any extra images its 100 million users had, prompting an outcry from those who have yet to save their images. “Our foremost priority is to be certain that every Flickr member is aware that photographs may be at risk for deletion if they are stored in a Flickr Free account that has more than 1,000 photos,” said a Flickr spokesperson to Time. “Based on feedback from our members and complications some members experienced when downloading photos yesterday, we’ve extended our deletion eligibility deadline until March 12, 2019.”

This is the second deadline extension Flickr has issued since announcing it would be deleting excess images in November.

The company also clarified which free users would be affected first by the deletion process, stating: “The first accounts to be impacted will be abandoned accounts that bear large volumes of private photos.” That should ease the minds of users who have yet to export their data and are only slightly above the limit of 1,000 photos and videos.

How can I save my Flickr library?

Flickr makes it pretty easy for you to download your photos, though it may take some time depending on the size of your library.

Flickr’s export tool will let you download the entirety of your Flickr account, including your photos and videos, comments, descriptions and other profile information.

To initiate a download request, visit your Flickr account page and scroll down to the Your Flickr Data section. From there you can request your data and wait for the email containing a series of compressed files with your Flickr history and content inside.

Importing your photos into another cloud storage program like Google Photos is also an option, as long as you unzip the Flickr download and instruct your cloud storage service to back up photos in the newly created folder.

Don’t feel like waiting on an email from Flickr? You could always push it off another month and subscribe to a Flickr Pro account, for $5.99 per month for unlimited photo storage, among other perks.

Regardless of your choice, you should export your photos anyway, and hang onto the export file just in case.

Write to Patrick Lucas Austin at patrick.austin@time.com.

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