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What is the Max Image Size on Facebook?

Facebook has been making a lot of changes in the last few years, and a lot of these revolve around images and image sharing. Facebook will only display images up to a certain size, and if you upload a picture that is too large it will be resized before it is stored on Facebook’s server.

So it would help to know what the maximum image size is on Facebook. And for that, there’s a short answer and a long answer. Let’s take a look…

Short Answer: What’s the Max Image Size on Facebook in 2013?

The short answer is that Facebook will display an image up to 960 pixels. This is measured on the long edge. For example, in the image above, the long edge is the horizontal edge. The image would be resized so that it is no more than 960 pixels wide, and then the height is adjusted to maintain the same aspect ratio (3:2).

If I uploaded this file at it’s original resolution (approx. 5,000 x 3,500 pixels), then Facebook would resize it before storing it.

Long Answer: It Depends On Your Browser Window

Responsiveness was all the rage in web design in 2012 (and moving into 2013). To maintain a good user experience, websites need to adjust how they display things like images and text depending on the size of the browser window. Bigger window, bigger image; smaller window, smaller image.

To achieve this, Facebook’s image viewer will constantly resize the image based on your browser window. The entire lightbox will occupy the whole screen, with approximately a 40 pixel margin on the sides and a 20 pixel margin on the top and bottom edges. The image is resized to fit inside these constraints and make room for the comments / info panel on the right.

For example, my screen resolution is set to 1280 x 800 pixels on my laptop. With the scrollbar on the side of the browser and the margins, Facebook ends up displaying that 960 x 640 photo at 838 x 559 pixels. This resizing is done client-side through CSS styling, so it is different from the server side resizing that is done if your image is too big to begin with.

If I had a larger monitor or went into full screen mode, then I could see the image at it’s full size (960 x 640 pixels).

What About High Resolution Photos?

In the last year or so, Facebook added the option to store high resolution photos on their server. This was a huge change rom their initial size constraints of 600 or 700 pixels. The high resolution image can be up to 2,048 pixels on the long edge, and it can be accessed by clicking on “Options” -> “Download” in the image viewer.

If I understand it correctly, this results in two copies of the image being stored on the server. A high resolution copy is stored at up to 2,048 pixels, and if the original is larger than that it is sized down. Then, a smaller version (at 960 pixels) is also created from the original image to display in the browser.

This doesn’t in any way affect how people view your images on Facebook, and the only time you’ll ever get access to the high resolution image is if you download it. If you’re only trying to share images for viewing online, this is completely useless. It is, however, a useful addition if you want to share images with people so that they can download and print them. The high resolution image will be appropriate for printing at a standard size (4×6 inches), while the low resolution would not.

Brian Rock

Brian is a photographer and a teacher. He runs a photography and design studio with his daughter, Olinda. At his high school, he teaches social studies and advises the yearbook club.

Comments

Ani
Reply

ever tried it on bigger screen? On my new 27″ iMac the pictures in the image viewer are displayed almost on the whole screen (twothousandsmth x onethousandsmth). I think this is quite new, isn’t it?

Brian Rock
Reply

Hmm, that would seem new. I don’t have a 27″ monitor at home to test it out, but it could be that they’re using the high resolution image (if available) and displaying that. As far as I know, the size limit is still 2,048px for the hi-res image, so I would assume that’s used. Along with the comment box, that should be big enough to fill up the standard 2560 x 1440 resolution on the big iMacs.

The trend these days is responsiveness, and it’s possible that Facebook serves up a different version of the image based on the screen resolution / window size. Screen sizes that large are rare, so I think it’d be strange (and a waste of bandwidth, considering the scale of the website) for them to serve up a full size image for everyone and then scale it down through styling.

Ani
Reply

first I thought it’s just a blown up version of the 960×720 image, but it rather seems that they are using the full fb high-res version if the browser detects a certain screen resolution

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