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How Do I Remove Duplicate Photos From iMac?

Want to remove duplicate photos. Somehow there are 3 of most of my photos. Best and safest way to do that would be very helpful to know. I don’t trust many people for support, accept YOU.

Annually I offload some of my photos to an external drive. I do this to keep iMaC storage reasonable yet photos accessible by year on an external drive. those that I keep are part of my art portfolio. Something happened recently when I offloaded the 2020 photos. I found duplicated or tripled photos going back to 2004 on my iMAC only. the portfolio on my 2 iPads & iPhone are all intact. No Duplicates there. That’s the good news. I have plenty of room on my iMAC but would like to remove all these extra dupes. I make every effort to keep my iMAC from slowing down. Do you think these are ghost files on the Mac? Will these duplicates slow the Mac? should I delete these one by one? Last Question: I uploaded a 3rd party app “Photos Duplicate Cleaner” but was worried I’d mess up the Photos app. So I haven’t used it yet.
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Elaine Thillen

Comments: 12 Responses to “How Do I Remove Duplicate Photos From iMac?”

    6 months ago

    First, are you sure they are duplicates? I have to ask that because I get people asking me all the time about this and it turns out they are viewing the same photo in the Library (All Photos) and then in some albums. Those, of course, are not duplicates as the photos are there only once. Albums are just a different way of viewing them.

    If you do see the same photo repeated more than once in your All Photos list, then the first thing you need to do is to figure out how it got that way. You’ve got to make sure if doesn’t happen again.

    Sometimes people import the photos from a camera, select not to delete them on the camera, and then import them again the next time. The Photos app warns you when this happens, but the warning can be ignored. Other times people are syncing via iCloud, or maybe Photo Stream, and then also importing manually. Whatever the reason, make sure you change the behavior or the problem won’t go away.

    Now to delete them I recommend only one method: manually. Photos are just too valuable to leave it to any photo-duplicate-cleaner app, not matter if it is trustworthy or not. In All Photos any true duplicate will be next to the original, so it will be easy to spot. Just go through all of your photos and clean it up. If there are too many, then try doing it in groups, 10 minutes today, 10 minutes tomorrow.

    If you have plenty of space on your drive, then having some extra photos won’t affect your Mac’s performance.

    Elaine
    6 months ago

    Gary, thank you for the very quick response. I do place certain art pieces in different albums based on genre. It makes for a great portfolio presentation whether on iPads or iPhone. So your explanation made a lot of sense to me. I’m so glad I didn’t proceed with the duplicate remedy proposed by a third-party. I have learned so much from you and I certainly appreciate the personal response. Stay healthy. Keep bringing these explanations to us a new features. All good.
    ET

    Brian
    6 months ago

    If you have your photos synced to an iOS device, use the app ‘Remo Duplicate Photos Remover’ from the app store. It is free, locates the duplicates and then gives you the opportunity to remove them one by one. I have been working on my photos app, albums and metadata during the lockdown. I had hundreds of photos that were duplicates and I found this app a Godsend. Hope that helps.

    6 months ago

    Brian: If all the app does is to show you duplicates one-by-one, then why do you need it? Just look in All Photos and you’ll see duplicates together (same photo, same time). Plus you can also see photos you may want to delete for other reasons. No third-party app required.
    And don’t forget that simply removing duplicates is a temporary fix. You’ve got to figure out why you have duplicates and change that behavior so it isn’t a constant problem.

    pamela
    4 months ago

    Hi Gary, I recently started using iCloud photos and at the same time I backed up my old iPad in preparation for moving to a new iPad. Now I have about 4 duplicates of many of my photos! I have over 9,000 so the idea of doing it one by one is overwhelming. My photos are not works of art, but they are memories. Isn’t there at least 1 program that you trust fairly well to remove duplicate photos?
    Thank you so much, Pamela

    4 months ago

    Pamela: Are you sure you have that many duplicates? If you use Library view, do you actually see the same image 4 times, and then the next image 4 times, etc? I have to ask because all too often people look in Library and then in an album or other way of viewing the photos and assume each view is a separate copy of the photo, when it is just different ways to view the same photo.
    Otherwise, first try to make sure you understand what happened to create so many duplicates so it doesn’t happen again. Review your settings carefully. Then manual deletion is all I would recommend. Do it in small batches, 10 minutes here and there.

    pamela
    4 months ago

    Thank you for responding Gary, yes I am sure they are duplicates. And I do know the cause – it was a one time manual back up from my phone and then from my old iPad. I wanted to turn off photo stream and turn on iCloud photos. It gave me a message that turning off photo stream would delete 30 photos permanently. I didn’t know which 30 they were so I did a manual backup to my mac, knowing it would create some duplicates. Then I did a manual back up of my iPad in preparation for transitionin

    pamela
    4 months ago

    Continuation: In preparation for transitioning to a new iPad. So I do know the cause and I know that it is not ongoing. It sure created a LOT of work though. I wouldn’t do it again!

    hank
    4 months ago

    is there a software app that can go through all photos and pick out duplicates not by number etc but say using pixels?

    4 months ago

    hank: I would never trust such an app. Not when it really isn’t that hard to do it manually. 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. Do it right.

    Barbara Hooper
    3 months ago

    I have two photo libraries which have basically the same photos in them (don’t know how that happened). Obviously only one is used for my system library. Can I safely delete the other library?

    3 months ago

    Barbara: If you are sure they are just duplicates of each other. I’d be very sure and make sure your backups are up-to-date first. Then check everything carefully.

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