This article will show you how to easily find iCloud photo duplicates and quickly delete them all at once. iCloud is a cloud storage service from Apple. It provides users with useful features such as iCloud Photos (previously called iCloud Photo Library), iCloud Drive, Find My iPhone and more. When people upload photos to iCloud, they usually upload them to iCloud Photos. It’s also possible to add photos to iCloud Drive. If you see duplicate photos in your iCloud, you can delete them in order to better manage your photos.
The short answer is no. But there can still be duplicates in iCloud Photos.
On the iCloud Photos page, you can easily add photos by dragging and dropping. What about duplicate photos? Suppose photo “A.jpg” is already in your iCloud, when you try to upload the same photo again, the Duplicate photo message will appear, and the photo won’t be uploaded. In the test, I also tried to upload two duplicate photos in batch with a drag. The Duplicate photo message also showed up, and only one of the two photos was uploaded.
As you can see, iCloud Photos does a good job of detecting and recognizing duplicates. However, this can’t completely avoid duplicate photos in iCloud. Below is a scenario.
You use iCloud with your Mac’s Photos app and have enabled iCloud Photos (iCloud Photo Library) syncing. In your iCloud Photos, there are a few items including photo “B.jpg”. Based on your preferences, the items are synced to your Mac’s Photos. Now you are importing a bunch of new photos to the Photos app, without realizing “B.jpg” is also in the bunch. Once the import is done, syncing will automatically start. iCloud Photos ends up having duplicate versions of photo “B.jpg”.
If there are duplicates in your iCloud Photos, regardless of the cause, you may want to get rid of them. But how? iCloud can’t detect the existing duplicates. Although you can manually identify them, it will be time-consuming to delete them one by one.
Here’s actually a much easier method. With just a couple of clicks, you can quickly find iCloud photo duplicates and mass delete them! The method works perfectly on Mac. But it’s not available for Windows due to the mechanism of iCloud for Windows.
This method requires you to enable iCloud Photos syncing first. If you don’t know how to enable, please check out this section of the article.
iCloud will automatically detect and sync the changes right away. As a result, duplicates in iCloud Photos are also deleted.
If you also use iCloud with the Photos app on your iPhone (or iPad, etc.), this method can also delete duplicate photos on iPhone, if any. Once syncing is enabled, your photos are kept up to date on all your devices.
Note that it's called iCloud Photos Library in earlier macOS versions.
If you are a Windows PC user and have installed iCloud for Windows, you can easily see why this method doesn’t work for Windows.
In iCloud for Windows app, you can turn on iCloud Photos (previously iCloud Photo Library) syncing. It will download photos in your iCloud to the Downloads folder under the iCloud Photos directory on your PC, and any changes will be synced. However, it's a one-way syncing. In other words, if you make edits or delete photos in the said Downloads folder, the changes won't sync to iCloud, unlike on Apple Devices.
As mentioned earlier, iCloud also provides the iCloud Drive feature. It lets you store various types of files such as photos, videos and documents. If you are a Mac user and need to eliminate iCloud Drive duplicate files, the method recommended above can also work.
The article mainly talks about how to find and delete iCloud photo duplicates. iCloud Photos does have the ability to detect duplicates when users upload photos, but it can’t completely prevent duplicates. And it can’t recognize and delete or merge duplicates that that already exist. iCloud provides 5 GB of free storage. By eliminating duplicates, you can easily free up space. Also, it will help improve photo browsing experience.
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.