10,000 photos and videos from flickr (and Apple iCloud) to Google Photos

Flickr Photostream

After splurging on a one-year subscription of Google One 100GB cloud backup, I embarked on a weekend project to migrate all my photos and videos from flickr to Google Photos. This article is about the migration experience — surprisingly quick and painless — and getting others to share their experience. Note that I currently use 4 Photo/Video Storage services (flickr, Apple iCloud, Amazon Photos, and recently Google One) and plan to consolidate down to one or 2. These learnings should apply to anyone planning to migrate to Google Photos.

[Nov 2020] more than a year later…

Given the surprising interest in my very first Medium article, I decided to use idle-moments during COVID to provide an update to this article and shift Apple iCloud usage to Google One (see this article on my project).

As I migrate my remaining photos in Apple iCloud, I’ve decided to retain the lowest paid subscription of 50GB (see price comparison) thanks to this article on “How to cancel an iCloud storage plan.”

Apple iCloud vs Google One

Downloading flickr Image files

Thanks to flickr, downloading 10,000 photos and videos was a simple process once I figured out how to do this thanks to flickr Help Center. It mentions 3 options to Download: 1) Individual Pictures & Videos, 2) Albums, and lastly 3) All Content. If you plan to migrate a subset of your collection or you don’t care about downloading the original resolution of your photos, then choose option 1 or 2. For all other users, I would opt for the last option (excerpt below):

Download All Content (Flickr Data)

  1. Click the buddy icon in the top right corner > select Settings.
  2. Under “Your Flickr Data”, click the blue button that says “Request My Flickr Data”.
  3. Once your .zip files are created, you will receive notifications to both your FlickrMail and your personal Flickr contact email containing a link to download your files. Links to your .zip files can also be found back in your account settings under “Your Flickr Data”.
This a snapshot of the flickr download page showing 20 links to zip files containing 10,000 files (approx. 30GB).

Mind your duplicates

Google Photos has a cool feature that detects photos that are exact duplicates and this saved me a lot of grief when I had to retry some of the batches after noticing that some photos were not uploaded. However, Google doesn’t currently detect duplicates of photos with different resolutions which I created in flickr to send low-res version to friends. I’ve had to delete these duplicates after uploading which is a bit tedious. I would recommend you do this before you start the upload process.

Start Google Photos Upload

This was probably the simplest step since you simply drag and drop the folder containing the images.

As you upload your photos you’ll notice a pop-up screen at the bottom left showing the upload status. I took note of the Start and End times for each batch so that I can estimate the duration of succeeding batches. This was useful as I multi-task. One thing to note is that video uploads seem to take twice as long.

I hope this helps and look forward to suggestions or questions.

a constantly curious technopreneur