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Question: Photos App Imports Duplicate Pictures

Hello all, hoping that someone might have a handle on how to fix a problem I'm having with the Photos app on my MacBook Pro. I'm running High Sierra on the Mac and iOS 11.2.1 on an iPhone 8, so everything is complete up to date. I leave the iCloud sharing turned on my phone so that I can have pictures back up to my photo stream and have the MacBook set to download photos from the photo stream when everything is connected. Previously this hadn't been a problem, but with the iPhone 8 the MacBook will download photos from the photo stream AND try to import them when the phone is plugged into the computer. Before the 8, connecting the phone to the computer would only download videos and any pictures that, for some reason, were not part of the photo stream. Now, connecting the phone to the computer attempts to transfer all of the photos, creating duplicates.


Now, I know that I could just turn off the photo stream downloads from the Mac, but I liked the feature and hoped to leave it active if at all possible. I just can't seem to figure out how to get everything running the way it was before I upgraded my phone a few months ago.

MacBook Pro (13-inch Mid 2012), macOS High Sierra (10.13.2)

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Dec 17, 2017 6:00 PM in response to BillyBoy1304 In response to BillyBoy1304

I leave the iCloud sharing turned on my phone

Are you using iCloud Photo Library or iCloud Photo Sharing? That are different iCloud services.


Please check, if iCloud Photo Library is enabled on your iPhone. The iOS 11 upgrade may have enabled it, even if you yourself did not urn it on. If you are using iCloud Photo Library, it is not necessary to enable My Photo Stream, only on devices that are not using iCloud Photo Library. The Photos from My Photo Stream will transfer nevertheless to your iCloud Photo Library. The problem is, that iCloud Photo Library will continually create new photos on your device, if the option "Optimize Storage" has been enabled. This will occasionally download the photos again from iCloud, and creating new versions of the same photo, that Photos will not recognize a s duplicates.


Also check, if your iPhone is set to capture photos and videos in the new format HEIC or HEVC. If the iPhone converts the new photos to a more compatible format, when it is connected USB, the converted versions may appear as new versions. See this support document: Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices - Apple Support

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Question marked as Helpful

Dec 17, 2017 6:00 PM in response to BillyBoy1304 In response to BillyBoy1304

I leave the iCloud sharing turned on my phone

Are you using iCloud Photo Library or iCloud Photo Sharing? That are different iCloud services.


Please check, if iCloud Photo Library is enabled on your iPhone. The iOS 11 upgrade may have enabled it, even if you yourself did not urn it on. If you are using iCloud Photo Library, it is not necessary to enable My Photo Stream, only on devices that are not using iCloud Photo Library. The Photos from My Photo Stream will transfer nevertheless to your iCloud Photo Library. The problem is, that iCloud Photo Library will continually create new photos on your device, if the option "Optimize Storage" has been enabled. This will occasionally download the photos again from iCloud, and creating new versions of the same photo, that Photos will not recognize a s duplicates.


Also check, if your iPhone is set to capture photos and videos in the new format HEIC or HEVC. If the iPhone converts the new photos to a more compatible format, when it is connected USB, the converted versions may appear as new versions. See this support document: Using HEIF or HEVC media on Apple devices - Apple Support

Dec 17, 2017 6:00 PM

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Dec 17, 2017 5:15 PM in response to léonie In response to léonie

Thanks for taking the time to reply. To clarify, I do not have iCloud Photo Library enabled, just My Photo Stream. I do have My Photo Stream enabled in Photos so the pictures download to my Mac automatically. I don't have an issue with pictures downloading multiple times to the computer, they only download once from the cloud. The issue is that photos that have already been downloaded from the cloud, also prompt to be transferred from the phone when it's plugged in via USB. A low tech solution to the problem would be to just turn off My Photo Stream on my Mac, but I was hoping for a more high-tech solution that would allow my iPhone 8 to function with my Mac the way my 4S, 6 and 6S did.


I appreciate the links on the new file types, but the phone is on the most recent iOS (updated again yesterday) and the Mac is already on High Sierra.

Dec 17, 2017 5:15 PM

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Dec 18, 2017 5:48 PM in response to BillyBoy1304 In response to BillyBoy1304

Thought I'd share that my import was working fine, only 1 to 1 photos from iPhone X (iOS 11.2) to High Sierra via lightning cable. I imported 1600+ images. Later this afternoon, I updated my iPhone to iOS 11.2.1 and now it downloads the live photo + jpg.

Dec 18, 2017 5:48 PM

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Question: Photos App Imports Duplicate Pictures