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Question: How to find & delete duplicate photos in photo app

iPhoto would automatically find duplicate photos but how does photo app on MacBook Pro? I have loads of duplicates so obviously photo app isn't helping automatically, extremely disappointing.

I've read some apps can help but turns out they can make more trouble than keeping duplicates.

Is Apple ever going to address this? This is seriously a problem for many if googled. I have approximately 7,000 photos and would expect photo app to be superior than iPhoto (as it was Apple's "upgrade") but appears to me and many, it is certainly not.

Can anyone help?

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Nov 2, 2017 10:01 PM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

All, I spoke to Apple support today (3 Nov 2017) and they confirmed that as of today Photos App has no way to identify or find duplicate photos in your photo library or icloud library. Please log a "Photos Feature Request" or "Photos Enhancement Request" using Apple "Photos" app feedback form below to help resolve this problem



Apple support "photos" specialist confirmed following 3 Nov 2017:

1) The new Photos app and old iphoto app had a way to search for duplicates on import this does not work once the duplicate photos are imported into library (by error or otherwise)

2) Apple photos has no way to search for duplicate photos, they suggested that users "manually search for duplicate photos".

3) Apple support do not recommend third party apps to remove photos as they can damage the library.

4) They acknowledged this approach is less than ideal when you have 20,000+ photos (or in my case 80,000 + photos) and suggested that all users who have concerns should log a new feature request using apple feedback form (URL below for IOS and OS Mac Photos feedback form).


Please log a "Photos Feature Request" or "Photos Enhancement Request" using Apple "Photos" app feedback form below to help resolve this problem


Submit Enhancement Request using Apple IOS "Photos" app feedback form

https://www.apple.com/feedback/photos-ios.html


Submit Enhancement Request using Apple Mac OS "Photos" app feedback form

https://www.apple.com/feedback/photos.html


Cheers MR HK

Question marked as Helpful

Apr 2, 2017 10:49 AM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

iPhoto never had the capability to scan photos in the library and identify and remove duplicates. It could check for duplicated during import and not import duplicated at that time.


Photos has the same capability:

User uploaded file


For duplicates already in the library these applications will identify and help remove duplicate photos from a Photos Library:



PowerPhotos is the iPhoto Library Manager version for Photos and is very powerful. Although more expensive I would recommend it as it has more capabilities than the others like the capability to merge Photos libraries or copy photos along with their metadata between libraries.


PhotoSweeper compares histograms or bitmaps so can find duplicates of different sizes and different file names and dates.

User uploaded file

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Apr 1, 2017 9:24 PM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

Unfortunately, Photos itself - aside during the actual import - will not recognize duplicates. You either have to remove them manually - easiest way is in Photos view (the first one listed at the top of the sidebar) as that displays the photos in the order they were taken, not the order they were added to Photos.

There are programs that you can try - I tried PhotoSweeper and after learning how to use it it worked pretty good. Unfortunately it will not separate the RAW/JPEG pairs when Photos imports that (if you shoot RAW+JPEG in your digital camera), so I got a refund from them. But if you only shoot JPEGs or RAWs, it works pretty well.

Apr 1, 2017 9:24 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Apr 2, 2017 10:49 AM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

iPhoto never had the capability to scan photos in the library and identify and remove duplicates. It could check for duplicated during import and not import duplicated at that time.


Photos has the same capability:

User uploaded file


For duplicates already in the library these applications will identify and help remove duplicate photos from a Photos Library:



PowerPhotos is the iPhoto Library Manager version for Photos and is very powerful. Although more expensive I would recommend it as it has more capabilities than the others like the capability to merge Photos libraries or copy photos along with their metadata between libraries.


PhotoSweeper compares histograms or bitmaps so can find duplicates of different sizes and different file names and dates.

User uploaded file

Apr 2, 2017 10:49 AM

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Apr 2, 2017 11:58 AM in response to Old Toad In response to Old Toad

Thank you Old Toad. Maybe I don't have settings correct. You say Photo app has same capability to detect duplicate photos at import like iPhoto did. How? When I import I do not get the photo you showed, that showed the duplicates. Can you help me determine why I don't get such warning/picture/hint of a duplicate being imported?

Thanks again.

Apr 2, 2017 11:58 AM

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Apr 2, 2017 12:05 PM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

Can you help me determine why I don't get such warning/picture/hint of a duplicate being imported?

Like iphoto, Photos will warn you, when you are trying to import exact duplicates - identical files with the same file attributes. If you import edited versions of the same photo, for example scaled down versions or photos with different creation dates, Photos will not recognize them as duplicates.


How have you been importing, when you imported duplicates? There is a known problem, that Photos may be importing the same photos over and over again, if you import manually using a USB connection, if you are using iCloud Photo Library on an iPad or iPhone. If the device you are importing from, is syncing with iCloud Photo Library, you should only use iCloud for importing.

Apr 2, 2017 12:05 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Nov 2, 2017 10:01 PM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

All, I spoke to Apple support today (3 Nov 2017) and they confirmed that as of today Photos App has no way to identify or find duplicate photos in your photo library or icloud library. Please log a "Photos Feature Request" or "Photos Enhancement Request" using Apple "Photos" app feedback form below to help resolve this problem



Apple support "photos" specialist confirmed following 3 Nov 2017:

1) The new Photos app and old iphoto app had a way to search for duplicates on import this does not work once the duplicate photos are imported into library (by error or otherwise)

2) Apple photos has no way to search for duplicate photos, they suggested that users "manually search for duplicate photos".

3) Apple support do not recommend third party apps to remove photos as they can damage the library.

4) They acknowledged this approach is less than ideal when you have 20,000+ photos (or in my case 80,000 + photos) and suggested that all users who have concerns should log a new feature request using apple feedback form (URL below for IOS and OS Mac Photos feedback form).


Please log a "Photos Feature Request" or "Photos Enhancement Request" using Apple "Photos" app feedback form below to help resolve this problem


Submit Enhancement Request using Apple IOS "Photos" app feedback form

https://www.apple.com/feedback/photos-ios.html


Submit Enhancement Request using Apple Mac OS "Photos" app feedback form

https://www.apple.com/feedback/photos.html


Cheers MR HK

Nov 2, 2017 10:01 PM

Reply Helpful (8)

Nov 3, 2017 10:42 AM in response to MrHk In response to MrHk

There are 3rd party options for finding duplicates in a Photos library.


These applications will identify and help remove duplicate photos from a Photos Library:



PowerPhotos is the iPhoto Library Manager version for Photos and is very powerful. Although more expensive I would recommend it as it has more capabilities than the others like the capability to merge Photos libraries or copy photos along with their metadata between libraries.


PhotoSweeper compares bitmaps and/or histograms so it can detect duplicate images even if they have different sizes, file names, sizes and capture dates.

User uploaded file

Nov 3, 2017 10:42 AM

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Nov 6, 2017 10:55 AM in response to Old Toad In response to Old Toad

Thanks Old Toad!


Do you or anyone else on the thread know if any of the 3rd party apps mentioned above actually look at the images visual characteristics when determining if it's a duplicate?


This issue I and I'm sure many others have is that the automatic image naming that various camera's use is often the same. So you will invariably end up with multiple photos with camera assigned names like IMG_0001 but they are different photos (with the same name).


This means Apple Photo will recognize a photo as a duplicate during an import if it has the same file name even when it's a different photo. I confirmed this with Apple Support today (Nov 6, 2017 - 10:30am PDT - James - 17:58min hold time) and they're recommendation was to not use any 3rd party app as they will likely corrupt the Apple Photo Library.


Apple support recommends importing all photos and going through them manually. I have 30,000 images over a 10 year span. How is this acceptable to Apple's leadership? This feels like a monopoly situation on my most important digital assets, my family photos.


Does anyone know of an automated duplicate removal software that analyzes the image and not just the file name?


Thanks all!

Nov 6, 2017 10:55 AM

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Nov 6, 2017 11:01 AM in response to Googlenut In response to Googlenut

Does anyone know of an automated duplicate removal software that analyzes the image and not just the file name?

Photo Sweeper does that. You can set preferences how the photos will be compared. Photo Sweeper can compare bitmaps or histograms and discover photos that look similar, not just identical files or photos with the same filename or date. This way you will be able to detect edited versions of the photos, or versions of a different pixel size.

Nov 6, 2017 11:01 AM

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Nov 27, 2017 2:39 PM in response to JBNV In response to JBNV

I have 57,000 photos covering 15 years. I won't live long enough to find and remove all the duplicates. Photos does not even recognize duplicates added to albums as iPhoto did. What is worse is that the conversion of an iPhoto file to Photos corrupts the original file (albums deleted, photos deleted, not all photos added to existing albums) so make sure you have your iPhoto library backed up before you convert it to Photos. Keep in mind that in High Sierra, iPhoto no longer communicates with the cloud so pictures taken on your iPhone will not load to iPhoto. Photos has a long way to go before being usable and safe.

Nov 27, 2017 2:39 PM

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Nov 27, 2017 2:44 PM in response to Deston In response to Deston

These applications will identify and help remove duplicate photos from a Photos Library:



PowerPhotos is the iPhoto Library Manager version for Photos and is very powerful. Although more expensive I would recommend it as it has more capabilities than the others like the capability to merge Photos libraries or copy photos along with their metadata between libraries.


PhotoSweeper compares bitmaps and/or histograms so it can detect duplicate images even if they have different sizes, file names, sizes and capture dates.

Nov 27, 2017 2:44 PM

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Dec 2, 2017 3:40 PM in response to Old Toad In response to Old Toad

Because some programs will not separate the RAW/JPEG pairs when Photos imports (if you shoot RAW+JPEG in your digital camera), unless you only shoot JPEGs or RAWs. Do any of the four apps allow you to ignore such pairs? If not, is there any other work arounds? Thank you.

Dec 2, 2017 3:40 PM

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Question: How to find & delete duplicate photos in photo app