How to export and download your Mastodon post archive

Mastodon lets you download an archive of all the posts and media attachments you’ve ever published on your account. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log in through your server’s website or web app
  2. Click on ⚙️ Preferences
  3. Click on Import and export (if you’re using the mobile website click ☰ and then Import and export)
  4. Click on the Request your archive button. This will begin the archive creation process which may take a while, you will receive an email from your server when it is ready. You DO NOT need to stay logged in while this happens, it will happen automatically.
  5. When you’ve received an email from your server telling you the archive is ready, go back to the Import and Export page. (If you remained on the page since requesting the archive, refresh the page to show the download link.)
  6. Click on the Download your archive link and select where you want to save the file.

Does it include images etc that I’ve posted?

Yes, it includes your posts’ media attachments such as images, video, audio.

Does it include other people’s posts that I’ve boosted?

No. It’s just an archive of your own posts.

How often can I ask for an archive?

By default you can request an archive every seven days.

If I ask for another archive, does that have all the posts or just the ones since the last download?

Every archive has all the posts you’ve ever created.

This doesn’t include deleted posts though, these are actually deleted from the server, so if you’ve deleted posts since your last archive download they will not show up on newer archives.

How long is the archive available to download?

By default the archive is available to download for seven days, but different servers may have different download periods. Generally it’s a good idea to download it the same day that it is ready.

If the archive disappears before you downloaded it, you can request that the server creates the archive again.

How often should I download an archive?

It’s totally up to you, some people never download them while others do it regularly.

Is this the same thing as transferring your account?

No. Account archives are totally separate from the account transfer system. They use different files and do different things. The only connection between the two is that they’re both done through the Import and export page.

Diagram of the import and export page, with the links used in account transfers at the top and the link for the archive at the bottom, with a bright red dividing line separating the two.

How do I view the archive?

This is a very good question! The Mastodon developers have provided no official way to view post archives. There are unofficial third party archive viewers, but these require a lot of technical knowledge to install and use. Here are some links to third party archive viewers:

Can I upload my post archive to my new account on another server?

No. The archive system is totally separate from the account transfer system, and the archive is NOT used in transferring accounts. The archive is mainly intended for your own personal records, so that you have a private offline copy of your posts and attachments.

There are no Mastodon servers which allow uploads of archives. If you attempt to upload it during an account transfer, it will just give you an error message.

I thought some servers allowed you to upload your archive so you could transfer your posts?

There have been some non-Mastodon Fediverse servers which have allowed uploads of Mastodon archives in order to “transfer” posts, but these clone the post archive as a set of totally new posts which look identical to the old posts but have none of the replies or shares of the old posts. This takes a lot of resources on servers, as it requires creating perhaps thousands of new posts all at once for everyone who uploads their archives, which can really slow the server down. This is possibly why Mastodon doesn’t allow it.

So, if I transfer my account to another Mastodon server, what happens to my old posts?

Your old posts remain on your old account, but the old account’s posts will redirect people to your new account. For example, if someone finds an old post of yours and clicks on the account name to see who wrote it, they will be directed to your new account.

Can I upload my post archive to my own server if it has technical problems and loses my posts?

Another really good question. As far as Fedi.Tips is aware this has never been done. Whether it’s possible or not is unclear.

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