How to move your Flickr photos to SmugMug

With the news that Flickr has been purchased by SmugMug, many Flickr users might be wondering what will happen to their accounts, and whether or not they should move over to SmugMug right now. Others still may be wondering about a slightly confusingly-worded email that they received from Flickr about the acquisition.

I'm here to fill you in on what's going with this acquisition so you can make the right choice for you and your data.

SmugMug + Flickr: two great tastes that taste great separately

You might be wondering if you should move your Flickr account over to SmugMug. Well, this is actually a fairly simple decision, but it might require a bit of explanation. No, you shouldn't because you can't. SmugMug may have purchased Flickr, but the two will remain separate products for the foreseeable future. That way, SmugMug gains a product that still has a dedicated community behind it, without angering that community by forcing them all to migrate over to the SmugMug way of doing things. This is especially important for anyone who uses Flickr for free (probably a lot of Flickr's users), because all of SmugMug's available tiers are paid.

Some of the confusion around the status of Flickr users and their accounts stems from an email that Flickr sent to users regarding the acquisition. The offending passage reads:

We think you are going to love Flickr under SmugMug ownership, but you can choose to not have your Flickr account and data transferred to SmugMug until May 25, 2018. If you want to keep your Flickr account and data from being transferred, you must go to your Flickr account to download the photos and videos you want to keep, then delete your account from your Account Settings by May 25, 2018.If you do not delete your account by May 25, 2018, your Flickr account and data will transfer to SmugMug and will be governed by SmugMug's Terms and Privacy Policy.

As SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill later clarified what this means is that your data will be transferred over to the SmugMug company rather than the SmugMug product itself. The data will remain on Flickr.

A note on your Flickr account

While SmugMug and Flickr will be separate products, and SmugMug has said that it doesn't have a full roadmap for what it wants to do with Flickr just yet, that doesn't mean some changes aren't already in the works. While (as noted above) your Flickr account won't become a SmugMug account, Flickr won't be staying within the Yahoo/Oauth infrastructure, as stated by Flickr's official Twitter account:

After this point, while you should be able to continue using your Yahoo username and password, you can change them if you want.

How to transfer photos from Flickr to SmugMug

Of course, you can still upload photos from Flickr to SmugMug if you have a SmugMug account. If you'd feel better about doing that, just remember that you'll need to sign up for one of SmugMug's tiers, all of which are paid after a 14-day free trial.

  1. Head to SmugMug in your browser of choice.
  2. Click on your SmugMug account name.

  1. Click Upload.
  2. Choose to upload To New Gallery or To Existing Gallery.

  1. Choose the gallery you want to upload to or follow the instructions to set up a new gallery.
  2. Click Create or Done.

  1. Click Flickr.
  2. Click OK, I'll Authorize It in the Flickr authorization window or tab. If you've already connected Flickr to your SmugMug account, you can skip this step.

  1. Choose which Flickr photos you want to bring over to SmugMug.
  2. Click Upload.

Please note that if you do this, the photos that you upload from Flickr will remain there until such time as you delete your Flickr account.


If you have any questions about SmugMug's purchase of Flickr or moving your photos from Flickr to SmugMug, let us know in the comments below.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.