How to Easily Find and Delete Similar Photos on Mac Computers

Peter William
time August 19, 2021 Preview 23.5K
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Whether you are a professional photographer or just someone who shoots a lot with a phone, if you have the habit of storing your photos on Mac, then chances are high that there are similar photos on your Mac. Sometimes, you may want to find similar photos on Mac and delete some of them. For example, some visually alike photos taken in burst mode are not good enough and can be eliminated.


The best way to find similar photos on Mac to delete

The secret is to use Cisdem Duplicate Finder, a powerful and easy-to-use app to find similar images and duplicate files (including duplicate photos, videos, audios, archives, documents and more).

Supporting all common image formats (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, WebP, SVG, etc.) and some raw image formats (Canon CR2, Nikon NEF, etc.), this app quickly identifies similar photos and group them together for you to deal with.

What are similar photos? There is no definite definition of that. As a similar image finder, Cisdem Duplicate Finder finds the following items.

  • Visually identical photos different in resolutions, file sizes or formats
  • Photos taken in burst mode, which look alike
  • Visually similar pictures of the same subject captured from slightly different angles, distances or exposures
  • Certain (e.g. rotated, cropped or watermarked, etc.) edited versions of the same photo
  • Certain other visually alike images
  • Exact duplicate photos, which are completely the same regardless of filename

You can read through the steps and tips first before trying this method.

Steps: How to find similar images on Mac

1. Download and install the similar image finder for Mac. Open it.

Free Download

2. To find similar photos in a folder or Photos library, click the plus icon to add the folder or library. To detect similar images across multiple locations, add them all.

3. (Optional) Click the settings icon settings icon. Set the Image Similarity level based on your need, say, 70% (default), 50% or lower. You can start with the loosest setting - 0%.

Image Similarity level

4. Click Scan.

5. When the scan is done, go to the Images tab and choose Similar sub-tab. If not happy with the results showing up there, click < Back. Click New Scan. Set Image Similarity to a different level and scan again.

6. Go to Similar sub-tab. The detected similar pictures are displayed in groups. In each group, select the unwanted similar photos for deletion. The best shots are not selected and will be kept.

manually select similar photos on Mac to delete

7. (Optional) If needed, you can use the provided selection rules to help auto select photos for you.

8. Click Delete.

9. Click Yes.

Note that it will delete both the similar images selected in Step 6 and the auto-selected duplicate files (including duplicate photos).

Tip 1: In Step 6, the preview may help you decide which photos to keep and which to remove. There are 3 preview modes, the third one providing photo information like file size and resolution.

Tip 2: If you want to handle only the similar photos on your Mac at the moment and leave duplicates (including duplicate photos) untouched, this tip is for you. Before you take Step 6, highlight all items under the All tab with Command-A, click the list icon and choose Deselect. This will deselect the auto selection applied.

Find similar photos on Mac using 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.

  1. Download and install Similar Image Detector. Open the app.
  2. Choose a scan mode based on your need. Here we will choose the Group similar pictures mode.
  3. Click the folder icon to add a folder. Note that you are not allowed to add multiple folders.
  4. Click Start.
  5. After the scan is completed, you can customize settings and the Matching Levels.
  6. Choose one of the two view modes (View in Groups and One to One) and preview similar photos.
  7. Select the unwanted similar images.
  8. Click Trash in the lower right corner of the interface to move them to Trash.

Compatible with 25 image formats, this similar photo cleaner can scan for similar photos and duplicate photos on Mac. It uses the following algorithms to look for similar pictures 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 looking images on Mac. Hopefully the future versions will bring improved user experience.

Use PhotoSweeper to delete similar pictures on a Mac

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 images that look similar, 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 on Mac.

  1. Launch PhotoSweeper on your Mac.
  2. Add images to the app or drag and drop a folder to the app to find images inside. You can add images from iPhoto, Aperture or Lightroom.
  3. Select a compare method and compare photos.
  4. If you just want to find duplicate images only, select Duplicates Only method. To find similar photos on Mac, the Time + Bitmap method is recommended.
  5. 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.
  6. Move marked photos to Trash. Click the Show Marked at the toolbar to get into Marked mode. Marked mode displays marked photos only.
  7. Select all photos and click the Move to Trash button.

Comparison of Mac software that finds similar images

Above are the best tools for Mac to find similar photos and images. I hope the comparison will help you pick the tool that best suits your need.

  Cisdem Duplicate Finder Similar Image Detector PhotoSweeper
OS macOS 10.10 and later macOS 10.7 and later macOS 10.10 and 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 pictures 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 preview modes

Useful Auto-Select feature

Cons No support versions prior to 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.

  1. Control-click Finder. Click New Smart Folder.
  2. Select the folder from which you want to remove similar pictures. Use Command-F, and a filter feature will appear.
  3. Click the Any dropdown list and select Image. From the All dropdown list, you can filter by image format.
  4. From the toolbar, you can set Finder to sort images by name.
  5. If you are looking for similar pictures taken in burst mode or in series, you can sort images by time created.
  6. View and compare photos and decide which ones to delete.
  7. Control-click on unwanted images and click Move to Trash.

Bonus tips

How to reverse image search on Mac Chrome for similar pictures

Here’s another scenario where you search for similar photos. You want to find online images similar to a photo of yours. There are a few easy way to do this. I will share one of them.

1. Open Google Chrome for Mac (or a different browser), go to Google Images.

2. Drag your photo into the search box.

the search box

3. You will be presented with search results. Click the Visually similar images link, and you will find images that are similar to the one you upload.

visually similar photos found

In addition to Google Images, there are other great tools to help Mac users find similar images by upload.

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.

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

  1. Install the app and open it.
  2. Add the folder(s) that you need to scan.
  3. 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.
  4. 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


In most cases, you don’t need multiple really similar photos or various versions of the same photo. Similar and duplicated photos can take up space on Mac 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, the recommended software can effectively find and delete them all at once. This way, you can make room for new files.

Peter William
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Peter has always had great enthusiasm for writing, programming and web development. He likes writing about software and technology, his works are featured on some tech blogs or forums like Tom's Hardware, CNET, etc.

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Comments (2) Leave a Reply

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  • 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.

    6 years ago Reply

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  • Felicia

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

    6 years ago Reply

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