How to Find and Remove iCloud Photo Duplicates All at Once

Rosa Reyes
time November 25, 2022 Preview 6.6K
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iCloud, a cloud storage service from Apple, provides a number of features. iCloud Photos is one of them. This feature allows you to easily store and access photos in iCloud. iCloud storage is not unlimited. The duplicates in your iCloud Photos are taking up storage space. Don’t worry. This article will show you how to easily find and remove duplicate photos in iCloud.

 

Will iCloud upload duplicate photos?

The short answer is no. But there can still be duplicate photos in iCloud.

iCloud.com can detect exact duplicates (photos that are exactly identical regardless of name) during upload. If you upload a photo that is already in iCloud, a “Duplicate photo” message will appear, and the photo won’t be uploaded. If you upload two identical photos, one will be uploaded, and the other will be ignored.

the Duplicate photo message

So why are there still duplicate pictures in your iCloud?

One reason is that iCloud can’t detect near-duplicate photos (visually identical photos in different sizes or formats and visually similar photos) at all.

Another reason is that the duplicates on your Mac, iPhone or iPad can be synced to iCloud if you use iCloud Photos on your device. There can be other reasons.

Can iCloud find duplicate photos? No. iCloud can’t recognize the duplicates that already exist in your account.

You will want to get rid of the unwanted duplicates. But how? Removing them one by one can be time-consuming. Luckily, the method below allows you to do the removal quickly.

The best way to find and delete iCloud Photos duplicates

This method uses Cisdem Duplicate Finder, which can find both exact duplicates of pictures and near-duplicate pictures in your iCloud.

1. In the Photos app on your Mac, go to Preferences.

2. Under the iCloud tab, select the iCloud Photos checkbox. (In earlier macOS versions, iCloud Photos was called iCloud Photo Library.)

the iCloud Photos checkbox is selected

3. Photos will start syncing between iCloud Photos and the Photos app. Wait for the sync to finish, and you will have the same photos in both places.

photos are synced

4. Download Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Install the software and open it.

Free Download

5. Drag your Photos library into this iCloud photo duplicate finder and remover. Click Scan.

the scan button

6. Once the scan is complete, the Images tab in the results window will display all the duplicate photos found in iCloud. You can preview and view them.

preview found iCloud duplicate photos

7. The software has automatically selected all exact duplicates for you to remove. Or, you can choose a selection rule or select by hand.

duplicate photos are selected for deletion

8. Click Delete to delete all selected iCloud Photos duplicates.

When asked if you allow the deletion, click Delete to allow. And the deleted duplicates will go to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. Delete them all there.

At the same time, iCloud will automatically detect the deletion and sync the changes. If you go to iCloud Photos (icloud.com/photos), you will find that duplicate photos are removed from iCloud. If you have also enabled iCloud Photos on your iPhone, you will find that duplicate photos are also deleted on iPhone.

Tip 1: Find visually similar pictures in iCloud

In the results window, the Image tab only displays all the exact duplicates in iCloud Photos. And there’s also a Similar Image tab at the last displays the near-duplicate pictures.

If you want to find as many near-duplicate photos as possible, you can try setting Image Similarity to a lower level. The default level is 70%. In each group of duplicate photos, you can keep the best one(s) and select the rest for removal.

similar iCloud images

Tip 2: Delete duplicate files in iCloud Drive

In addition to iCloud Photos, you can store other types of files such as videos and documents in iCloud Drive, another feature provided by iCloud. If you are a Mac user and want to eliminate iCloud Drive duplicates, this tip is for you.

1. On your Mac, go to System Preferences.

2. Click iCloud. Sign in with your Apple ID and password.

3. Enable iCloud Drive.

iCloud Drive is enabled

4. Go to Finder and choose iCloud Drive in the sidebar. Wait for the sync to finish completely.

5. Open the Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Click the plus icon and select the entire iCloud Drive folder or a specific folder within it. Click Open.

6. Scan for duplicates.

7. Remove duplicates.

How to remove duplicates from iCloud Photos on Windows

To remove duplicates from iCloud Photos on Windows, you need to do it manually. The method above won’t help. With iCloud for Windows, the sync is one-way. When you turn on iCloud Photos, the photos in your iCloud Photos will be synced to the iCloud Photos directory on your PC. But any changes (for example, eliminating duplicates) in this directory won’t sync to iCloud.

Below is how to eliminate duplicate pictures in iCloud by hand.

1. Go to https://www.icloud.com/photos/.

2. In the sidebar on the left, choose Library.

3. Zoom in photo thumbnails, compare them visually and locate the duplicates.

4. To remove a duplicate photo, select it by clicking its thumbnail and click the Delete icon.

a duplicate photo is selected

To view a photo in full size, double-click its thumbnail.

How to delete iCloud duplicate photos on iPhone

“If I delete photos from my iPhone, will they also deleted from my iCloud?” That depends. If you have synced your iPhone Photos with iCloud Photo Library, the photos deleted in your iPhone Photos will also be removed in iCloud and other Apple devices that signed with the same Apple ID.

With the new built-in iOS 16 Duplicates Found feature, users can easily find and merge duplicates on iPhone Photos. Sync your iPhone Photos with iCloud, then all the duplicate iCloud photos will be removed too.

Note: Before we begin, you must update your device to the iOS 16 version or later. To check your iOS version, just go to the “Settings” app. Scroll down to find “General”. Click “Software Update” to see it.

1. Go to Settings on your iPhone. Tap on [your name] > [iCloud]. Make sure that your photos have been synced with iCloud.

2. Open the Photos app. Scroll down and find the Utilities section.

3. You’ll find the Duplicates option. Tap on it. Then you can preview all the duplicate images found on your iPhone.

Duplicates Found iOS 16

4. To merge or delete the duplicate photos, tap Merge on the right of the duplicates groups. Apple will auto-remain the high quality version of the images on your Album.

Go to your iCloud Photos and you will find that the duplicate photos are gone.

Tip:

The disadvantage is that this method can only delete iCloud duplicate photos from iPhone Photos app. And it doesn’t allow you to select duplicates to remove. Apple will keep the version that it thinks the best and delete others. So I still recommend you the tool I mentioned in method 1.

Conclusion

Each iCloud account comes with 5GB of free storage. You need to pay to get more storage. Every megabyte counts. Despites Apple’s efforts, there can still be duplicates in iCloud Photos. By getting rid of duplicate photos in iCloud, you can free up storage space. Also, a duplicate-free photo collection is more enjoyable to view.

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Rosa Reyes
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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.

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  • Charlie Pils

    Awesome. This post helped me a lot. I had about 8K photos in iCloud and there’re lots of duplicates. Now I’ve cleaned up them easily.

    22 days ago Reply

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