How to Remove Duplicates in iPhoto 2022: A Guide that Works

Connie Wisley
time May 10, 2022 Preview 24.4K
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iPhoto was developed by Apple for Mac as a photo management app. Although it has been discontinued and replaced by Photos (also known as Apple Photos) since 2015, there are still Google searches like “iPhoto remove duplicates 2022” and “iPhoto remove duplicates 2021”. Some people are still looking for a way or the best duplicate photo finder to delete duplicate photos in iPhoto.

This article will show you how to find duplicate photos in iPhoto quickly and mass remove them easily.

3 facts to know about iPhoto

Below are important facts to know about iPhoto. They can help you better understand the process of finding and deleting the duplicate photos in it.

  • When you import photos into iPhotos on your Mac, the photos are stored in the iPhotos library (with the extension .photoslibrary) instead of the iPhotos app. The library is in the Pictures folder by default.
  • iPhoto was discontinued in 2015 with the release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3. macOS 10.14 Mojave is the last version of macOS to run the iPhoto app.
  • If your Mac is running macOS 10.15 Catalina or later, it won’t be possible to use the iPhoto app, but your iPhoto library and the photos in it won’t be affected. You can open the library in the Photos app, the successor of iPhoto.


How to delete duplicates in iPhoto automatically

You can quickly find and remove iPhoto duplicates with Cisdem Duplicate Finder, the best duplicate photo finder for Mac.

1. Quit the Photos app on your Mac if it’s open.

2. Press and hold the Option key and open Photos.

3. In the Choose Library dialog that appears, select your iPhoto library and then click Choose Library. If you don’t see the iPhoto library, click Other Library to manually add it.

the Choose Library dialog showing the iPhoto library

4. Click Get Started and wait for Photos to finish preparing the library.

5. Open Finder and go to the Pictures folder. There you will find a new Photos library, and the content in your iPhoto library has been migrated to it. Note: From now on, please consider this new library your iPhoto library.

the Pictures folder

6. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Open it.

Free Download

7. Drag your iPhoto library (the new one) into it. Click Scan.

the Scan button

8. Once the scan is done, the scan results window will display all the iPhoto duplicate photos that have been found for you to sort, preview and view.

the scan results window

9. Cisdem Duplicate Finder has automatically selected duplicates for you to mass delete with one click. Or, you can choose a desired selection rule or select by hand.

a list of selection rules

10. Click Delete in the bottom right corner to remove all the selected duplicates at once.

11. Confirm the deletion.

the deletion confirmation dialog

Now the unwanted iPhoto duplicate photos are deleted and moved to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. To permanently eliminate them right away, go to Recently Deleted and click Delete All.

the Recently Deleted album

Note: If your Mac is running macOS 10.14 Mojave or earlier, then the last step (step 11) will be different. Please read the user guide for details.


  • After you click Delete, if a dialog (like the one shown in the screenshot below) appears, please do what the dialog says and then click Yes It’s done.a dialog box
  • When you open the original iPhoto library with the Photos app (as in steps 3 and 4), the extension of the original library will be automatically changed from .photolibrary to .migratedphotolibrary. If you want, you can keep iPhoto Library.migratedphotolibrary as a backup of your iPhoto photos.the Pictures folder showing the original iPhoto library with the changed extension
  • You can follow a similar process to delete duplicate photos on Mac Photos app.
  • In addition to duplicate photos (photos that are exactly the same, regardless of filename), this app can also scan iPhoto for visually identical photos in different sizes and visually similar photos. They will be grouped for you to easily identify the best shots and select the unwanted ones for removal. Before a scan, you can set the similarity level in Preferences.

This iPhoto duplicate remover works based on the mechanism of iPhoto and Photos. It identifies and deletes duplicates from within Photos, just like a human would do, which ensures utmost safety. Compared to the manual method, it can provide high accuracy, speed and efficiency.

How to remove iPhoto duplicates manually

If there aren’t many photos in your iPhoto library, you can get rid of them by hand.

  1. Use Photos app to open the iPhoto library.
  2. Go to the Photos tab.
  3. This step is optional. Control-click a photo and select Get Info. The information provided in the Info window can help you know if two duplicate photos are exactly the same or different in image quality.
  4. Hold and press the Command key ⌘ and select the unwanted duplicate copies.
  5. Perform a control-click and choose Delete ... Photos.delete duplicate photos by hand
  6. Click Delete.
  7. Go to Recently Deleted and click Delete All. Alternatively, you can leave them there. They will be automatically eliminated after a month.

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.

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 iPhoto duplicates in a safe, easy manner. Both of them allow you to remove duplicates by moving them to the Recently Deleted album. 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 duplicates on a regular basis.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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Comments (4) Leave a Reply

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  • Frank Manzke

    I love this duplicate photo scan app. I’ve been using it to scan my iPhoto. I find it scans much quicker than other apps I used before. And super easy to use :)

    0 months ago Reply

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  • Roger Elliott

    This method worked and worked well. Thanks for sharing.

    1 years ago Reply

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  • 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.

    6 years ago Reply

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    • 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.

      6 years ago
  • Sagar

    Hats off to wheeovr wrote this up and posted it.

    7 years ago Reply

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