How to Download Locked or Restricted Images from Photo websites like Flickr

The Flickr photo community has scores of interesting photos. Some of them would make excellent desktop backgrounds. But when downloading, only the empty file “spaceball.gif” is downloaded on your computer.

If a Flickr user does not want his photos easily available for download, he can set a corresponding access setting in Flickr. If we try to download or save the picture, it then automatically displays the transparent file “spaceball.gif” instead of the photo. You can easily overcome this setting and download any blocked, restricted or locked photos from any website using the following trick in Firefox.


  • As soon as the download dialog displays the “spaceball.gif” file for saving, abort the action and right-click next to the photo.
  • Then select the “View Page Info” context command and activate the “Media” tab.
  • The list shows all the graphics on this page. Click an entry to see the preview in the lower part of the dialog box.
  • Keep scrolling till you find the desired image.
  • Then click “Save As” and save the image on the hard disk.


flickr download blocked images

There are other specialized add ins that also facilitate the download of blocked photos. You can completely stop Flickr from showing the transparent file by using the Adblock Plus ad blocker. You can download this tool free of cost from

As soon as the add-in is installed, right-click the superimposed photo and select the “Adblock Plus: block graphic” context command. The link to “spaceball.gif” is selected in the first line. Simply confirm the dialog with “OK”.

In the future, you will be able to download all Flickr photos as usual using the context menu. Similarly, the superimposed graphic can be blocked with the Nuke Anything Enhanced add-in.

NOTE: The user intends to prevent unauthorized use of his photos when he blocks them. Thus, you should make it a point to observe the license clauses and not use the photo without the consent of the person who has blocked it.


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