How to clean up duplicates in Photos app

If you frequently shoot photos and import them to your Mac, you definitely have plenty of duplicates hidden in the depths of it. These imported files can be accessed via the Photos app — an application that replaced iPhoto in 2015. 

Duplicates in the Photos app appear of two different kinds: the hidden and the visible. Let’s take a look at how to delete duplicate pictures in Photos to free your gallery from both.

How to find and remove Photos duplicates

After you crop, resize, rotate, or otherwise edit your photos, Photos stores the original unedited photo for safekeeping — and hides it in the depths of your Photos library. These copies are kept hidden from you, the user, and they significantly increase your library size.

Fortunately, the app Gemini 2 was created to help you in just this situation. After you have it downloaded and installed on your Mac, Gemini 2 will scan your computer for duplicate files, including those hidden photos, and quickly delete them.

How to remove duplicates from Photos with a duplicate cleaner

You can follow these steps to remove all of your hidden duplicates from the Photos app:

  1. Download and install Gemini 2.
  2. Click on the +.
  3. Then, select the Pictures folder and click Choose > Scan for Duplicates.
  4. After the scan is complete, choose either Review Results or Smart Cleanup.

Now, the only thing to keep in mind is that Gemini 2 will remove hidden and visible duplicates. So, when you get to step 3 you do have the option to review the results of the scan before you delete all of the duplicates Gemini 2 found.

If you got a little excited and clicked Smart Cleanup, but now you want to review those photos, you can click Review Trashed to see what you just removed from your Pictures folder.

For earlier systems (10.9 or lower), download Gemini Classic. The flow is pretty similar: you pick a folder with your Photos gallery for a scan in the main menu of the app.

Then, you simply get rid of the files the scan has found. You can do it in two ways: choose the type of selection (which of the two identical files to delete) or click Automatically to select all files and let the app decide which copy can be removed from your Photos library.

How to remove duplicate photos manually

Visible duplicates in the Photos app are just as common as hidden ones. Whether you saved a picture from an email or text multiple times, or you just had an issue the last time you synced your iPhone. But the good news is you can manually go through your library to find and remove any duplicates.

After you open the Photos app, you can scroll through to look for duplicate or similar-looking images. But when you find a copy of a picture, how do you know which one to delete? You can follow these steps will help you figure it out:

  1. Click on one of the photos.
  2. On your keyboard, press Command+I.
  3. Verify the photo’s name, resolution, and file size.

Repeat those steps for every copy of the photo you find. The photo’s name will tell you if they’re exact duplicates, and the resolution and file size will tell you which one is of higher quality.

When you find the picture(s) you want to delete:

  1. Select the picture.
  2. Note: You can select multiple photos by holding down the Command key and clicking on them.

  3. Click Delete on your keyboard.
  4. Click Delete.

Don’t forget to go to the Recently Deleted tab in the left sidebar and remove your photos from there to actually free up space on your computer.

Manual duplicate photos removal in macOS Ventura or later

If you installed macOS Ventura or Sonoma, the Photos app comes with a built-in duplicate finder. It makes the process of finding and removing duplicate photos less painful and significantly faster. 

Here’s how to use this feature: 

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Click Duplicates from the sidebar. 
  3. Click Merge [x] Items > Merge [x] Exact Copies.
  4. Delete the photos from the Recently Deleted album.

Note: The Duplicates album appears automatically. If it’s not there yet immediately after an upgrade to Ventura or Sonoma, connect your Mac to the power source and quit the Photos app. It may take a while for the system to scan your library and find the duplicates.

Searching manually definitely requires a bit of time and patience. So, if you start this process and realize you might have bit off a little more than you can chew, then you should check out Gemini 2 to scan your photo library and help you quickly remove the duplicates.

That’s it. You’re done cleaning up the duplicates in your gallery. It’s a good idea to repeat duplicate search and cleanup every now and then to make sure you haven’t accumulated any new copies and are wasting your Mac space on the useless files. Cheers.

Gemini 2
Gemini 2

Your know-how to fight duplicates