Front-End Developer

← Back to Blog

Download Your Facebook Content

We live in a very lucky age. It is said that in 2 minutes we take more photos than were taken in the whole of the 19th Century. It is now remarkably easy to capture events in your life and upload them for everyone else to see. But are they safe?

A few weeks ago a blogger named Laxman Muthiyah discovered that there was a bug in the Facebook API which meant it was possible for anybody to delete all of your photos from your account. Luckily this issue was quickly solved but it got me thinking that I’d like to have a backup of my media just in case.

I turned to the Facebook Help Centre and discovered that you can get your entire Facebook data with one click by going to Facebook’s settings and clicking on ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’. It usually takes a few minutes to an hour or so to compile an archive which you can then download (via email) as a single zip file. Inside the zip is a series of folders which contain all your information such as photos, videos, pokes, messages, events, friends, private notes, wall, places etc.

This all sounds great but I noticed a little snag. The photos had all been resized into a tiny 813×540 resolution which meant none of them were high enough quality to print out. Annoyingly, all the folders had been renamed to things like ‘10151985009605150’ which meant it was really hard to find particular albums. Luckily, I found another tool which came to the rescue!

Photograbber is a small app which connects through the Facebook API to download all your photos and videos from their servers. You can even set the option to automatically download any friend’s albums which you have been tagged in. All you have to do is grab an access token from your Facebook account (which the app guides you through) and then it downloads everything in one go. All the content is stored in folders with the original album names and the resolution of the photos is not reduced. You can also navigate through your media using a html document which allows you to see the likes and comments for each photo/video.

I’m really glad I did this as I feel much safer about all the content I have built up over the last 7 years on Facebook. Now my only challenge is working out which of the 4,666 photos I’m going to get printed out!