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What Is the New Max Image Size on Facebook in 2012?

Screenshot of the Facebook image viewer, with some students dancing.

I’m no longer updating this website, Digital Photography How To. However, I have started a new blog called Rockin’ Photogs, which is similar in scope. You’ll find a similar article there about the max image size on Facebook.

Facebook has been making a lot of changes lately, and features related to sharing images and photos are among them. A long time ago, I posted an article about the (then) maximum Facebook image size of 720 pixels. This has since been increased to 960 pixels, but… the old article is still ranking on Google for a lot of related searches. To help eliminate confusion and misinformation, here’s an up to date look at Facebook and maximum image sizes.

Short Answer – What’s the Maximum Image Size on Facebook in 2012?

The short answer is 960 pixels. This is measured on the long edge. For example, the image in the screenshot above is at a standard 3:2 aspect ratio, so the longer edge (the horizontal width) is resized to 960 pixels and the shorter edge (vertical height) is resized to 640 pixels to maintain that aspect ratio. When you upload an image, Facebook will automatically resize it for you.

Long Answer – It Depends On Your Browser Window

While Facebook will resize the image that it stores on its server, the actual image people see will typically be smaller than that. The lightbox image viewer that Facebook uses automatically resizes along with your browser window. It tries to maintain at least about a 40 pixel margin on the left and right and about a 20 pixel margin on the top and bottom. If the full size image would push the borders of the image viewing box into these margins, then the image will be immediately resized.

For example, my screen resolution is set at 1280 x 800 pixels on my laptop. With the scrollbar on the side of the browser window 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 attached to the image, where as the earlier resizing done during the upload process is performed by a server side script that changes the actual image file.

The only time that I am able to see the image at it’s full size is if I enter full screen mode. Then, the photo is displayed at the true max size of 960 x 640 pixels.

What About High Resolution Images?

Facebook has also added a feature to store high resolution images on its server. I haven’t really played around with it much. But, as I understand it, this will save two copies of the image on Facebook’s server. One is a resized copy (960 pixels on the long side) to fit the maximum size for image viewing on the website. The other is saved at up to 2,048 pixels on the long edge, and users can download that image and use it as they see fit.

For viewing images, this is pointless, as it doesn’t effect the maximum viewable size. However, it is useful if you want to share pictures with friends and allow them to download and print them. A 960 x 640 image would create a slightly grainy and low resolution image when printed (~160 ppi). A higher resolution, 2,048 x 1,365 pixel image would allow you to print out the picture at a full 300 ppi.

Filed Under: How to Use Your Photos



Tell us what do you think.

  1. JH says: May 1, 2012

    hi. i’ve read both your articles regarding this topic, and they have proven to be very useful.

    just a question. so image quality during export (0-100), does it actually affect the end result on fb? have done some research over the web but there doesnt seem to be a mutual answer across the board whether we should put it at the maximum of 100, or just close to hundred, eg 85, like you’ve mentioned.

    hope you can give some advice on this. via email is preferred.


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About Digital Photography How To

Digital Photography How To is intended to be a guide to people learning how to use their digital SLR cameras. Three years ago, I had never picked up a camera; now, I produce a yearbook every year and I moonlight as a professional photographer.

I write this website to share what I've learned in that time. The topics will range from truly beginners topics, to tutorials for post processing, to resources for yearbook and graphic design, to thoughts on transitioning from a hobbyist to a professional. Keep up to date by subscribing to the RSS feed.

About the Author

Digital Photography How To is written by Brian Rock. In addition to being a photographer, he's an educator. He teaches high school history, he's the advisor of the school yearbook, and he trains his kids to do all of the photography for the yearbook.

You can connect with him directly on Google Plus.