How to Find and Delete HEIC and JPG Duplicates on Mac, PC and iPhone

Peter William
time October 09, 2021 Preview 1.6K
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HEIC offers better compression than JPG. HEIC photos use less storage space without losing the visual quality. That’s why iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 introduced support for the HEIC format in 2017. However, the HEIC and JPG duplicates issue has been around since then.

It is an issue where people end up having both a JPG version and a HEIC version of their photos after they import photos from iPhone to Mac.

This article is mainly about how to easily find and mass delete the existing HEIC JPG duplicates on Mac. It also shows how to avoid duplicates in future imports. In addition, it talks about how to delete HEIC files duplicates on Windows PC and iPhone.

How to find and delete HEIC and JPG duplicates on Mac quickly and automatically

Cisdem Duplicate Finder offers the best solution to the issue in question. Cisdem Duplicate Finder will scan Apple Photos for Mac (or folders), display the found HEIC JPG duplicate photos in groups and let you effortlessly bulk select the HEIC version or JPG version of photos for deletion.

1. Download and install this HEIC duplicate finder. Open it.

Free Download

2. To find Apple Photos HEIC JPG duplicate files, click the plus icon and add Photos Library.

a screenshot showing that Photos Library is added

3. Click Scan.

4. Once the scan is done, go to Images > Similar to view the found duplicates.

groups of HEIC and JPG duplicates found in Apple Photos

5. There are 3 preview modes. Choose the second one.

choosing the second preview mode provides file preview and file location

6. Select all the items under the Similar subtab with Command-A.

all items under the Similar subtab are selected

7. Click the list icon . To select the JPG version of your photos for deletion, choose Select Largest. Or, choose Select Smallest to select the HEIC version.

choosing the Select Smallest rule bulk selects HEIC duplicates for deletion

8. In addition to the duplicates in HEIC and JPG formats, there may be groups of similar photos. Manually deselect them if you don’t want to handle them now.

9. Click Delete to delete the selected HEIC duplicates or JPG duplicates.

If you use macOS 10.15 or later, the deleted duplicates will be in Recently Deleted in Photos app. If you use macOS 10.14 or earlier, there is an extra step.

How to manually remove Photos duplicate HEIC on Mac

1. Launch the Photos app on your Mac.

2. Head over to File at the top of the screen and select New Smart Album.

the File menu provides New Smart Album and other options

3. From the pop-up menu, set the condition to be “Filename includes .heic”.

set the condition to find HEIC files to remove

4. Select all photos to duplicate HEICs in the smart album and delete them with the key combination Ctrl + Delete or Backspace.

Bear in mind that the manual method can only filter pictures by format. There is no guarantee that it will work correctly. HEIC photos are mainly duplicated with JPEG on Mac. So we’d better use HEIC duplicate finder software, rather than being limited to the identical format.

Why does Mac Photos duplicate HEIC files?

iOS 11 and later support shooting in HEIF (with the extension .heic) and JPEG (with the extension .jpg). HEIC is used by default. macOS High Sierra and later also support HEIC to help compress image size and save space. However, it’s prone to duplicate HEIC and JPG files if you transfer HEIC from iPhone to Mac using two mixed methods.

For the first time, you sync HEIC photos via My Photo Stream. They will be converted to JPG format automatically as My Photo Stream doesn’t support HEIC.

The second time, you import HEIC files to Mac by connecting the device to USB or through iCloud Photos. This way, the images will remain in HEIC format. The already existing photos will be imported again because they are considered new photos due to being in different formats—HEIC and JPG.

How to avoid Apple Photos HEIC duplicates on Mac

  • Set iPhone to only take pictures as JPEG (.jpg). (Not a good way. For photos of the same quality, the HEIC size is half that of JPEG.)
  • Disable My Photo Stream and merely transfer HEIC photos from iPhone to Mac via iCloud Photos or USB.
  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > Photos > Transfer to Mac or PC and choose Keep Originals. (When you import HEIC files to Mac by USB, they might be changed to JPEG or H.264 formats sometimes.)

Get rid of duplicate HEIC photos on Windows

How to open HEIC file in Windows

HEIC is fully supported by iOS 11 and High Sierra 10.13 and higher. It’s unable to be opened directly in Windows (except Windows 10 RS4) using image viewing software.

To solve the issues, you can install an extra codec and plugin like:

The best HEIC duplicate finder for Windows

Visual Similarity Duplicate Image Finder lives up to its name in every aspect. Besides removing Apple Photos HEIC duplicates, it can detect other image formats, such as JPG, PNG, BMP, WBMP, PPM, PSD, CRW, WEBP, ICO, JP2, GIF, etc.

This HEIC Duplicate Finder for Windows scans images using an optimized and innovative algorithm, offering most accurate results. Moreover, it encompasses other features like Image Search, setting similarity threshold and other filters, etc.

How to find and delete photos duplicate HEIC on Windows

1. Get Visual Similarity Duplicate Image Finder installed on your Windows and run it.

2. Click Add Folder in the toolbar to import the folders that cover the unneeded HEIC files you desire to delete. Alternatively, drag-n-drop them inside the program.

the toolbar displaying Add Folders and other tools

3. In the right panel of the interface, check the first box under Folders, choose Visual Compare as the scanning method and set the Similarity value.

4. Click the Start Scan button.

5. Once the results are displayed, choose a rule for marking duplicates and click the Auto Check button.

the scan results window displaying duplicate photos that have been found

6. Check the Delete files to Recycle Bin box and click Delete Checked Files.

Note that the HEIC and JPG duplicates issue can also happen on Windows PC due to improper settings. In this case, the software can also help, and it is recommended to choose the rule “Images with smaller file sizes if dimensions are equal”.


Remove Photos duplicate HEIC on iPhone

The manual solution

1. Go to the Photos app.

2. Tap Select button in the upper-right corner.

3. Tick all similar captured HEIC photos.

4. Tap the trash icon in the lower right corner.

5. From the pop-up, confirm the Delete.

a pop-up dialog provides the Delete option

6. Go to empty your Recently Deleted album.

Delete Photos duplicate HEIC via a third-party app

Remo Duplicate Photos Remover is a popular HEIC duplicate finder for iPhone. It’s good at scanning all the exact duplicates, similar images, and lining up them separately. It offers useful details for images such as date, size, resolution, etc. and automatically reserves one best copy in each picture group.

How to remove Apple Photos HEIC duplicates on iPhone

1. Download and install Remo Duplicate Photos Remover from App Store and open it on the iPhone.

2. Tap the Scan button, and it will start scanning your photo library. Note that you have to allow it to access Photos but not have to the notifications.

3. After the scan finishes, the app shows images into two categories: Exact and Similar. Select the photos duplicate HEIC for deletion.

4. Tap the trash can icon in the bottom right corner.

a trash can icon located in the bottom right corner of the screen


Conclusion

Improper import settings can lead to multiple copies in different formats of the same photo. You will want to get rid of the unwanted copies to save space. This article shows you an easy and automatic way to get rid of HEIC and JPG duplicates on Mac. There are also steps on how to weed out duplicate HEIC files on other platforms with HEIC duplicate finder.

In addition to fixing the existing duplicates, don’t forget to avoid the settings or practices that result in this issue. Happy shooting photos!

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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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