There can be exact duplicate photos (photos that are exactly identical, regardless of name) in folders and the Photos app on your Mac. There can also be non-exact duplicate photos, i.e. photos that look the same but have different resolutions, metadata, file sizes, or formats. In addition, you may have near-duplicate photos, aka similar photos. This article shows you how to find and delete duplicate photos on Mac in 4 different ways.
|Method 1||Method 2||Method 3||Method 4|
|Compatibility||macOS 10.11 or later||macOS 10.10.3 or later||macOS 13 or later||All macOS versions|
|Work with||Photos app, folders||Photos app||Photos app||Folders|
|Remove duplicates||Manually, all at once||Manually, one by one||Manually, one by one||Manually, one by one|
|Click for instructions||Click||Click||Click||Click|
Applies to: macOS 10.11 or later (such as macOS Ventura, macOS Monterey, macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, and macOS High Sierra)
This method can help you find and delete:
The easiest and quickest way to get rid of duplicate pictures on Mac is to use software like Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Cisdem Duplicate Finder can scan for duplicate files in the Photos app (or more precisely the Photos library) and folders. The identification of duplicates is automatic, quick and accurate. The removal of duplicates only requires a couple of clicks. There is also a lot of customizability. Everything is in your control.
Step 1. Install duplicate photo finder software.
Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Open it.
Step 2. Add locations to scan.
To look for duplicate photos in one or multiple folders, click the Add button, select the folder(s), and click Open. Alternatively, you can use drag and drop.
To find duplicates in Photos app on Mac, just add the Photos library, which is by default located in the Pictures folder.
Step 3. Customize the settings (optional).
Go to Settings to customize the settings if needed. For example, you can exclude certain files and folders from the scan.
To find non-exact duplicate photos and near-duplicate ones, make sure that the Enable similar images function checkbox (under the Similar images tab) is selected.
Step 4. Click Scan.
Click Scan to start scanning for duplicate photos. The time the scan takes depends on the number of files.
Step 5. View the found duplicate photos.
When the scan is complete, the results window will appear. Its Image tab displays exact duplicate photos. The Similar Image tab displays non-exact duplicates and near duplicates.
There are three view modes. The first one allows you to conveniently preview photos side by side. The other modes allow you to preview photos and view photo information like a photo’s location, size and resolution.
Step 6. Select duplicates for removal.
In each set of exact duplicate photos, the software has already automatically selected all but one for deletion. You can also select or deselect by hand. In addition, you can use a selection rule. On the left of the results window, highlight the sets you want to apply a rule to, click the List button and choose the desired rule.
As for non-exact duplicate photos and near-duplicate ones, in each set, you can manually select the unwanted ones for deletion. The selection rules can also help you select.
Step 7. Delete all duplicates with a click.
Click Delete in the bottom right corner to delete all selected photos at once. Confirm the deletion.
The duplicate pictures removed from folders will go to Trash. The duplicates deleted in the Photos app will go to the Recently Deleted album.
Applies to: macOS 10.10.3 or later
This method can help you:
If duplicates clutter your Photos app and you want to get rid of them manually, this free method is for you.
Browsing through all your photos to manually identify duplicates can be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if you have a large library. Luckily, Photos allows you to create Smart Albums, helping you classify your photos into different groups. This helps both break down your library into smaller chunks and put possible duplicate pictures into the same group.
Smart Album helps streamline the process of manually looking for duplicates, but this method is still not that efficient.
Step 1. Create a new Smart Album.
In the Photos app, from the File menu at the top of your screen, choose New Smart Album.
Step 2. Set conditions to classify photos.
In the dialog that appears, you can set one or multiple conditions. Each condition has three pop-up menus, letting you easily and efficiently set conditions based on your needs.
For example, if you set the condition to be “Photo is selfie”, this album will only display all the selfies in your library, including identical selfies. This way, it will be very easy to spot duplicates.
The more conditions you set, the more the photos in this album have in common and the less photos.
Step 3. Click OK.
Click OK, and you will find this album in the Album section in the sidebar.
Step 4. Identify and delete duplicates.
Open the Smart Album. Identify duplicate photos by visual similarity. In each set of identical photos or similar ones, you can decide which to keep and which to eliminate by checking resolutions, sizes, formats, metadata, etc.
Select one or multiple unwanted duplicates, control-click, and choose Delete [number] Photos. Continue deleting others.
Applies to: macOS 13 or later
This method helps you find and delete/merge:
(After testing, I found that it couldn't identify similar images that were shot at slightly different angles. Often, it only found duplicate images that I edited with different file sizes, and not all of them. I have almost 7000 photos in my Photos app and obviously there are a lot of duplicate photos in there, but it shows that I only have 30 sets of duplicates.)
If your Mac is running macOS Ventura or later and you want to easily find duplicate pictures in Photos on your Mac without third-party software, you can use this free method.
The Photos app in macOS Ventura or later automatically detects exactly identical photos and non-exact duplicates in the library. Unlike with Method 1, you can’t customize how it detects. The detected duplicates appear in the Duplicates album. Since the detection process is automatic, you don’t need to start the detection.
Step 1. Open the Duplicates album.
In Photos, go to the sidebar on the left and click Duplicates. If Duplicates doesn’t show in the sidebar, try these tips.
Step 2. View duplicate photos.
The Duplicates album neatly displays the sets of duplicates found in your library. In each set, you can view photos side by side and see their sizes.
If you can’t see any duplicate in the album and are presented with a Finding Duplicates message, just wait.
Step 3. Remove duplicate photos.
There are two removal options: merge and delete.
Each set comes with a Merge Items button. For a set of exact duplicates, clicking the button will automatically keep the photo that Apple considers to be the highest quality version and remove the rest. For a set of near duplicates, clicking the button will automatically keep the photo with highest quality (like the highest resolution) and remove the rest.
Also, you can manually decide which to keep and which to eliminate. In a set, select the unwanted version(s), control-click, and choose Delete [number] Photo(s).
There isn’t a way to merge or delete all duplicate photos, so you need to deal with them individually. If you want to get rid of them all at once, use Method 1.
You may confuse that how does Apple decide which photos to delete and which one to keep when merging duplicates. Apple said it would keep the better quality photo. I did a few tests and merged 4 sets of duplicates in the Duplicates Album. Among them, there are 2 sets of portrait photos and 2 sets of landscape photos. It all kept the smaller file size. But in my case, the higher file sizes are better quality.
Applies to: All macOS versions
This method helps:
To handle the duplicate pictures in folders on a Mac for free, you can use this method.
You can go to Finder, open the folder, go through all files there, and manually look for duplicate photos to get rid of. But this can be inefficient. For example, if there are also some other types of files like audios and documents, you need to ignore them and pay attention only to images. If there are subfolders, you need to compare photos between locations.
Here’s the good news. In Finder, you can create a Smart Folder to organize files in a way that facilitates manually finding duplicate images.
Step 1. Create a new Smart Folder.
In Finder on your Mac, first open the folder in which you want to delete duplicate photos. From the File menu at the top of the screen, choose New Smart Folder.
Step 2. Specify the criteria.
First, make sure the search location is the folder of your choice.
Click the Add button in the top right corner to add a rule. In the rule, click the pop-up menu on the left to choose Kind, and click the pop-up menu on the right to choose Image. (If you also want to specify the image format, choose the desired format in the new pop-up menu that appears.) You can add other rules if needed.
Now the Smart Folder displays only all the photos from the folder of your choice, including the ones in subfolders.
Step 3. Sort photos.
You can sort photos by different attributes (such as Name, Size, or Date Created) until it’s the easiest for you to spot duplicates.
Step 4. Find and remove duplicate photos.
Finder offers four views: as Icons, as List, as Columns and as Gallery. You can choose the view that you think is the most convenient for manually comparing photos to identify duplicates. I personally like the as Icons view. The as Gallery view is also great.
Select the duplicates that you want to clean up, control-click, and choose Move to Trash.
Why are there duplicate photos on my Mac?
There can be various causes. For example, copying photos to different folders creates exact duplicate photos, possibly with “2” in their names. If you set your camera to save both the JPEG version and the RAW version of a photo, importing photos from your camera will lead to non-exact duplicate photos on your Mac. Burst mode shooting, taking photos from slightly different angles, and slightly editing photos can lead to similar photos.
How do I delete duplicate photos in iPhotos on Mac?
iPhoto is the predecessor of the Photos app. If you have an iPhoto library cluttered with duplicates, you can import the library to the Photos app and then use Method 1 or Method 3 to remove the duplicates.
Keeping your photo collection free from duplicate photos brings a more seamless and enjoyable viewing experience and makes it easier to organize photos. In addition, eliminating the unnecessary copies or lower quality versions of the same photos frees up storage space and makes room for new photos. This article talks about in detail how to find and delete duplicate photos on Mac in the Photos app and folders in different ways, including free ones. No matter what macOS version you use, new or old, you can find this article helpful.
Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.
Apple Photos has Duplicates album that automatically detect duplicates, but I still prefer third-party tools for their flexibility. Good article. Thank you!
I tried. The application is wonderful. Find duplicate files, pictures, archives and more. THANK YOU!
Thank you for the instructions! They are easy to understand. I followed the steps and it worked. The duplicates are gone.