How to Delete Duplicate Photos in iPhoto and Photos in 2019

2019-06-19 21:30:27 / Posted by Connie Wisley to Utility Follow @ Connie

Although iPhoto has been discontinued and replaced by Photos, there are still search queries like “iPhoto remove duplicates 2019”. Some Mac users are still looking for a way to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto. In almost all cases, you don’t need duplicate copies of the same photo. Moreover, duplicate photos take up storage space. This guide will show you how to get rid of duplicates in iPhoto and Photos libraries.

The best way to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto

Cisdem Duplicate Finder for Mac is a versatile, easy-to-use duplicate file finder that can find and eliminate duplicate photos, music files, videos, movies, documents, spreadsheets, archives and other types of duplicate files on Mac.

It can also efficiently find 1) duplicate photos, 2) similar photos and 3) duplicate video in iPhoto Library as well as Photo Library and get them removed all at once.

This duplicate file finder is compatible with OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan, macOS Sierra, macOS High Sierra and macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Step 1. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder for Mac. Launch it. Drag your iPhoto Library file into the app. Note that you can add multiple iPhoto (or Photo) libraries, folders and drives at the same time. Click Scan.

scan iPhoto library for duplicate photos

Step 2. Once this iPhoto duplicate finder finishes scanning, it will list all the duplicate photos for you to check and preview. Under the All tab, you can find all the duplicate photos and videos (if any). To check out similar photos, please go to Images > Similar.


You can easily preview and compare photos, switch preview modes and zoom in/out for better view.

Step 3. By default, this iPhoto duplicate cleaner will automatically select duplicate copies for deletion. You can also choose from other selection rules provided such as Select Newest. You can also select or unselect manually.

selection rules for dupes

Selection rules for duplicate files

Selection rules for similar photos

Click Delete in the lower right corner of the interface to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto.

You can also use the same app and steps to look for and remove:

  • dupes in Photo libraries
  • duplicate photos (outside of iPhoto's library) on your Mac
  • duplicate videos, audios and other duplicates on Mac and other supported devices

Pro tip

You can have more control over how to delete the duplicate photos in iPhoto by adjusting settings. Before clicking the Scan button, you can click the gear (settings) icon in the upper right corner of the app. Select Scan Method and Removal Method based on your need. With the default removal method, the deleted iPhoto duplicates will be moved to Trash. By adjusting Image Similarity, you can affect how this duplicate cleaner identify similar images.

select things like Scan Method

Under the Ignore List tab, you can easily exclude files, subfolders and folders from scanning. If you want this app to ignore certain file types, say, all PNG images, when scanning for duplicate files, just add the file extension to the list.

the Ignore List feature

Delete duplicate photos in iPhoto using Duplicate Cleaner for iPhoto

Designed especially for the purpose of deleting iPhoto dupes, Duplicate Cleaner for iPhoto also supports removing duplicate images from Photos and other folders on Mac. Below is a brief review of this dedicated iPhoto duplicate cleaner.

The interface is simple and easy to understand even for new users. In the lower left corner, you can find three Add buttons. When you click Add Photos Library, this app, however, won’t automatically locate the iPhoto or Photo Library on your Mac. Instead, you need to manually find the library file.

Duplicate Cleaner for iPhoto interface

In the test, when we tried to add iPhoto Library for scanning, a message pop up saying that the library is not supported. It has no problem supporting Photos library.

Click the Scan for Duplicates button to start looking for dupes in selected folder. When the scan is completed, you can find lists of duplicate groups in the result window. There is a Preview window in the right panel. However, you can’t zoom in or zoom out. The preview remains small even when you maximize the app’s window, which makes it hard to preview and compare dupes.

scanning results

In the toolbar, you can find the Auto Mark button. This feature will can apply the default or custom Auto Mark rule and batch select dupes for elimination. Click Continue to make selection. Click Trash Marked to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto library.

Why does iPhoto duplicate photos when importing?

iPhoto duplicate photos when importing to protect your digital photo collection. Go to File > Preferences > Advanced, and you can find the Importing option Copy items to the iPhoto Library. It is also available in Photos. The option is enabled by default.

Advanced settings in iPhoto

If this option is enabled, when you drag photos from somewhere on your Mac, say, the desktop, into iPhoto, iPhoto will copy the photos into the library. In other words, it duplicates them. Now you actually have two copies of each imported photo.

To prevent iPhoto from duplicating photos, you can unselect the checkbox before Copy items to the iPhoto Library. However, it is NOT recommended. If you set iPhoto not to store a copy of the photo it imports and you accidentally delete the original copy, when you try to view the photo in iPhoto, a message will pop up telling you that it can’t find the file.


This article talks about two methods on how to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto in a safe manner. Both of them allow you to remove duplicates by moving them to Trash. This way, you can easily restore them if needed. Duplicate photos can occur during importing photos, merging libraries, etc. Regardless of the cause, you can free up room on Mac by removing duplicate photos including iPhoto dupes on a regular basis.

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3 Comments Leave a Reply

  • victor

    is this finder not able to working on photo library on external drive? i can't select the photo library folder which i have stored on an external drive.

    2 years ago REPLY
  • Rosa Reyes

    Hi, victor, we apologize for any inconvenience to you. And this finder is able to find and remove duplicates from photo library folder on external drives. If you can't click "Add" button to select the folder, just drag and drop the folder to the app. This can solve your problem.

    2 years ago REPLY
  • Sagar

    Hats off to wheeovr wrote this up and posted it.

    3 years ago REPLY