The Unsplash API is now open & free

It’s never been easier to make something awesome with Unsplash photos

3 min readMay 9, 2017


Oh boy. The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. Assuming you’ve been waiting for us to make an announcement about the Unsplash API… Or were you expecting something else? A .gif perhaps?

Have we satisfied your .gif cravings? Good, now let’s get down to business: the Unsplash API is now 100% open and free to outside developers.

If you’ve ever wanted to beautify your product with Unsplash’s 200,000+ high-quality photos, today’s the day.

We’ve spent the last year perfecting our API, connecting our firehoses, taming our nodes, pruning our code, perfecting our documentation, and coming up with bad API metaphors that will undoubtedly stoke the ire of Hacker News readers.

Alas! What does this mean for our developer friends? Whether you run a small web app, a browser extension, or a messianic product used by millions of people, we just wanted to say: Yo dawg… we got fresh photos for you.

For the last few years, we’ve been slowly rolling out the Unsplash API. At first we were dogfooding it via internal side projects — Unsplash Instant, Unsplash for Slack, and Unsplash for Easy-Bake Oven*.

Nowadays, the Unsplash API is used in over 6,000 third-party applications, including Trello, Marvel, Buffer, Over, Imgix, InVision and Naver. Unsplash photos have been used by product teams at Apple, Adobe, Facebook, and Pinterest too. However, our tech wasn’t quite ready to handle unequivocal API access, especially for applications with millions/billions of users. But today, we can unequivocally say that it is 😎. We trust the API so much, we run Unsplash itself on it.

Now we’ve decided to make Unsplash API access 100% free — no strings attached. (No pesky rate limits either.)

By using the Unsplash API — as opposed to any of the third-party APIs out there — you’ll be able to benefit from the Unsplash CDN’s lickety-split load times. We want our photos to load faster than it takes you to press capture.

We’ve made tons of improvements to the Unsplash API recently — more flexibility, support for a higher request count, and new features including better search, categorization, and continuously-added content. (That’s right: no more overnight Unsplash scrapes… you know who you are ;)

If you’ve been using the Unsplash API before, you’ll love our new horsepower. If you’ve never used the Unsplash API before… you’ll love our horses:

Unsplash credit: Timothy Muza

Whether you run a photo editing app, a blog platform that needs hero images (👋😉), a fancy background image selector, or I don’t know… Facebook?… feel free to use Unsplash photos for your projects.

We’re so fortunate to work with such wonderful, generous photographers. Every photo that makes it onto Unsplash is worthy of being celebrated. Today, the party is getting even bigger.

We currently have official Unsplash libraries ready in JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby, with plenty of third-party libraries available on GitHub.

So there you have it folks. The Unsplash floodgates are open. The only question left is… what will you make with it?

Make an app. Make a website. Make a poster. Make a painting. Whatever you dream of… you can make it with Unsplash. Get started today with our new API :)

Developer? Check out our API documentation here. Want to work on Unsplash itself? Good news: we’re hiring, and you can work from wherever the heck you want. Got a question for our team? We hang out on Twitter a lot. And if you like what we’re doing, please recommend this article 💚 buy a book 📚 or pop by for coffee




Beautiful, free photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.