API Guidelines

Thanks for your interest in the Unsplash API. To save time and increase your chances of having your application approved, please make sure that your submission meets our guidelines:

1. You cannot use the Unsplash name directly in your application name.

2. You cannot use the Unsplash logo as an app icon.

3. You cannot use the API to sell unaltered Unsplash photos directly or indirectly (prints, on products, etc.) 

4. You cannot replicate the core user experience of unsplash.com.

5. Your application must credit Unsplash, the Unsplash photographer, and a link back to their Unsplash profile.

6. All attribution links back to Unsplash must append UTM parameters.

7. Do not abuse the APIs. Too many requests too quickly will get your access turned off. 


You cannot use the Unsplash name directly in your application name.

This means you can’t title your application as “Unsplash for Photoshop”, “Unsplasher”, “Ensplash”, “Unsplash Wallpapers” etc. There are infinite possibilities for possible names, so get creative.

At first, we let applications call themselves whatever they wanted — including using names similar to Unsplash. But then our inbox started exploding with support questions for apps that we never made, nor have any control over. We already get many emails a month for legitimate questions and problems that we can help with. We’d prefer to not have more related to things we can’t fix, have no control over, or have no information for.


You cannot use the Unsplash logo as an app icon.

This means you cannot use a similar-looking black camera icon as your logo.

This is our logo. There are many like it, but only one like it on the API.

This is our logo. There are many like it, but only one like it on the API.

We don’t claim to have invented the black camera logo, but similar to the reasons stated above, when the community sees a black camera logo and Unsplash photos, they assume it’s an official Unsplash application. Then our support inbox fills up and we have to send out lots of emails apologizing for the confusion.


You cannot replicate the core user experience of unsplash.com

This one is a little more fuzzy. Basically, unless you’re trying to run a competing site, like a photography community or stock photo site, you're good. If you think your usage might conflict, shoot us an email and we can let you know ahead of time.

We’re all for remixing and open-source, but the API costs us a non-trivial amount of money to host, operate, and provide support for. We’d prefer not to be paying to actively support clones.


Your application must credit Unsplash, the Unsplash photographer, and a link back to their Unsplash profile.

Credit should take the form of either:

<Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash> or <Annie Spratt / Unsplash>

If the photo is contained within something already giving credit to Unsplash, simply:

<Photo by Annie Spratt> or <Annie Spratt>

Do all derivatives of your application need to give credit? No. We know that if your application is used by users who then produce content with the photos, you can’t enforce them to always give credit. However, in the interfaces that you control, like for example, a search result of photos from Unsplash, credit can and is required to be given.

As the first contributors to Unsplash, we chose the Unsplash License to be similar to CC0 (instead of CC BY or CC BY-SA) very purposefully because we know that in certain situations, it’s very hard to give credit.

While the Unsplash License doesn’t require credit to be given, uses of our API do.

In all of the current applications using the API, we’ve found that adding credit is an easy and do-able step. 


All attribution links back to Unsplash must append UTM parameters. 

We require UTM parameters on all links back to Unsplash, including links to photos, photographers, and the Unsplash homepage. UTM parameters should be in the following format: 

?utm_source=YOUR_INTEGRATION_NAME&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit

For example, a link from Over's Unsplash integration to a photographer's Unsplash profile would look like:

https://unsplash.com/@anniespratt?utm_source=over&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=api-credit


Do not abuse the APIs. Too many requests too quickly will get your access turned off.

This one is fairly straight-forward: don’t try to DDoS Unsplash.

We understand that sometimes you don’t have control over large spikes in traffic, but try to be pragmatic when coding usage of the API. For example, don’t run a CRON job that sends your 5k hourly requests in the span of 3 seconds.


Have questions about the Unsplash API Guidelines, or want to become an API Partner? Email us at partnerships@unsplash.com.

Annie Spratt