How to Find and Delete Similar Photos on Mac: 4 Easy Ways

2019-08-26 23:03:11 / Posted by Peter William to Utility Follow @ Peter

What is the best method to find and delete duplicate or similar image files from Mac? I have a lot of similar image files on my Mac, in different sub-folders and with different file names. Is there some duplicate or similar image finder which can find similar images on hard drive? I am willing to buy one if the tool can do that for me. ― From a Mac user who is looking for a similar image finder

Similar photos and images are usually useless. They can take up a lot of storage space on your Mac, so it’s a good idea to find similar photos and get them removed. For example, if you have multiple versions of the same photo with different resolutions, or if you have the habit of taking photos in burst mode, you may want to keep the best ones and delete the rest. This article will show you the best ways to find and delete similar photos on Mac.

Find similar photos on Mac in 3 easy steps

You can easily find and delete similar photos and images all at once using Cisdem Duplicate Finder for Mac. It supports all common images formats (such as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, WebP, SVG, etc.) and can remove similar images as well as diffrerent types of duplicate files from Photos, Mac folders, SSD, external hard drive, memory card, etc.

In addition to being a similar image detector, this app can also look for duplicate photos, audios, videos, documents, archives and more.

Free Download

Step 1Add folders or drives to scan

Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder for Mac. Launch it. Click the add icon to add one or multiple folders or drives to find similar photos. Click Scan.

add folders to scan for similar photos on Mac

Step 2Preview

Once it finishes scanning, go to Images > Similar. You can sort detected similar images, view their attributes and search by keyword. The zoom feature and three preview modes (Grid View, List View and Detail View) allows you to easily preview and compare similar photos.

Step 3Delete unwanted similar photos with one click

This similar image detector for Mac will automatically keep the highest quality version of each group of similar photos and select the rest for deletion. There are totally seven selection options available such as Select Lowest Resolution. You can also select or unselect manually. Click Delete to move all selected photos to Trash.

options to select unwanted similar photos for deletion

It’s that easy to detect and delete similar photos on Mac. Let’s take a closer look.

Using MD5 value checksum algorithm, Cisdem Duplicate Finder can compare files byte by byte and measure the similarity between images. It will identify similar photos based on the default (70%) or custom Image Similarity level. To adjust the level, go to the gear (settings) icon in the upper right corner and go to General > Image Similarity.

adjust image similarity level

This similar image finder for Mac can find the following types of similar photos.

  • Photos with exactly the same content but different in size or resolution
  • Almost identical or slightly different in content, regardless of size, resolution, etc.

It can find the compressed, resized, scaled, rotated, recolored, watermarked or other edited versions of the same picture. You can also use it to find similar photos of the same scene taken from slightly different distances or angles, among other kinds of similar images.

In addition, Cisdem Duplicate File for Mac offers other cool features.

Other ways to find similar photos on Mac

Use Similar Image Detector

As the name suggests, this app is designed especially for the purpose of finding similar images. Similar Image Detector can find similar images on Mac’s internal storage as well as external storage devices. It also supports Apple Photos and iPhoto. There are two scan modes: Group similar pictures and Search for pictures similar to the chosen one. The former will look for all similar photos in folder.

Step 1. Download and install Similar Image Detector. Open the app and choose a scan mode based on your need. Here we will choose the Group similar pictures mode.

Step 2. Click the folder icon to add a folder. Note that you are not allowed to add multiple folders. Click Start.

Step 3. After the scan is completed, you can customize settings and the Matching Levels. Choose one of the two view modes (View in Groups and One to One) and preview similar photos.

Similar Image Detector preview detected similar images

Step 4. Select the unwanted similar images and click Trash in the lower right corner of the interface to move them to Trash.

Compatible with 25 image formats, Similar Image Detector can find similar photos and duplicate photos on Mac. It uses the following algorithms to look for similar images on Mac.

  • Fingerprint
  • Histogram
  • Fingerprint + Time Interval
  • Histogram + Time Interval

You can set it to only find duplicate photos by going to Advanced Settings > Comparing Algorithm > Duplicate Only.

In the View in Groups mode, you can select the unwanted version(s) of each group of similar photos and move it or them to Trash or a certain folder. The One to One mode is more useful for image comparing. It provides file attributes and shows the matching level between the selected pair of images. However, to select and remove photos, you need to switch back to View in Groups. This app excels at searching for similar images on Mac. Hopefully the future versions will bring improved user experience.

Use PhotoSweeper

PhotoSweeper is an easy-to-use, fast and powerful duplicate photo cleaner for Mac. This app supplies six different options for you to compare your photos and find similar images, depending on how closely you want to look at them. You can compare by Bitmap, Histogram, Time Interval, Time and Bitmap (which is the default search setting) or Time and Histogram. Follow below guidance to find similar images.

Step 1. Launch PhotoSweeper on your Mac, add images to the app or drag and drop a folder to the app to find images inside. You can also add images from iPhoto, Aperture or Lightroom.

Step 2. Select a compare method and compare photos. If you just want to find duplicate images only, select Duplicates Only method. To find similar photos, the Time + Bitmap method is recommended.

Step 3. Review results and mark photos for removal by pressing the Auto Mark at the toolbar or manually by selecting each photo and pressing Enter for a photo you don't like. As result, photos are marked.

PhotoSweeper find similar photos on Mac

Step 4. Move marked photos to Trash. Click the Show Marked at the toolbar to get into Marked mode. Marked mode displays marked photos only. Select all photos and click the Move to Trash button.

Comparison of the best apps to find similar photos on Mac

The three tools to find similar images on Mac have their features and advantages. The comparison can help you choose the similar image finder that suits you best.

  Cisdem Duplicate Finder Similar Image Detector PhotoSweeper
OS Mac OS X 10.10 or later Mac OS X 10.7 or later Mac OS X 10.10 or later
Find similar photos Yes Yes Yes
Find duplicate photos Yes Yes Yes
Supported file types Images, audios, videos, documents, spreadsheets, archives and more Images Images

Good at finding similar photos and duplicate files on Mac

Multiple options for scanning, preview and removal

Very useful selection options such as Select Lowest Resolution

Auto-Select & One-Click Deletion

Good at finding similar images

Multiple scanning and removal options

Easy to preview and compare with One to One view mode

Low in price

Good at detecting similar photos

Multiple scanning methods

3 easy-to-use preview modes

Useful Auto-Select feature

Cons Not compatible with versions earlier than OS X 10.10 Can't scan multiple folders Not intuitive enough for new users

Manually find similar photos on your Mac

You can also search for similar images on Mac by hand. However, if you have a very large photo collection, it can be a waste of time and energy.

Step 1. Control-click Finder. Click New Smart Folder.

Step 2. Select the folder from which you want to find similar photos. Use Command-F, and a filter feature will appear.

Step 3. Click the Any dropdown list and select Image. From the All dropdown list, you can filter by image format.

find similar photos on Mac by hand in Finder

Step 4. Now you can view and compare photos and decide which ones to delete. Control-click an unwanted image and click Move to Trash.

Bonus tip: How to find similar images on Windows

Some Mac users are also Windows users. If you are one of them, here’s a bonus tip for you.

Use VisiPics

Coming with a simple and neat interface, VisiPics is able to find similar photos as well as the duplicate ones. It supports 8 image formats including JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, etc. Users are able to adjust the similarity level and preview duplicates and similar images easily. In addition to providing an auto-select mode, this similar image finder also allows users to manually select the image files to delete.

Step 1. Install the app. Add the folder(s) that you need to scan.

Step 2. There are five image comparison filters provided including Strict, Basic, Loose and so on. The slider determines how strictly the program check for similarities between the images.

Step 3. Preview the results and decide how to deal with them. You can manually pick the files you don’t want and delete them for good.

scan and find similar photos using VisiPics

Use Duplicate Images Finder

To find similar photos on computer, you can use Duplicate Images Finder. It can scans and finds image similarities by checking out the digital fingerprint of each image file. After the program finds the similar images on your hard drive, it will list the images in the results window so that you can preview and select which ones to remove.

Step 1. Download and install the software. Select the folder that you want to scan. There is also an Include Subfolders option.

Step 2. After you add the folder to scan, the software will start searching for images that share similarities.

Step 3. In the results window, the similar images group found will be listed for preview, with information including file name, size and level of similarity. Go through the files and deal with them in your preferred way.

find, preview and compare similar photos


In most cases, you don’t need multiple really similar photos or various versions of the same photo. Similar photos can take up a large amount of storage space often without you even noticing it. By using software to find similar photos on Mac, you can easily free up space and better organize your photo collection. If there are also other types of duplicate files on your macOS device such as iMac or MacBook Pro, software like Cisdem Duplicate Finder can effectively find and delete them all at once. This way, you can make room for new files.

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2 Comments Leave a Reply

  • Hamilton

    Many similar photos scattered on MY Mac, and they took up much hard drive space. When I felt depressed, my friend recommended me Similar Image Detector, and now all similar photos are gone.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Felicia

    Finding and deleting similar images manually is really very annoying and tedious, thanks for sharing such powerful similar image finders

    4 years ago REPLY