How to Remove Duplicate (and Similar) Photos on Mac
Guides • Updated on Dec.19, 2022
Even if you are not a professional photographer, duplicate photos are a pain in the ass. They take too much space, mess up your file organization, and even cost you money. Things get pretty worse if you have a Mac — where storage space is an expensive affair.
However, it’s not easy to manually scan an entire photo album and find out the duplicate files. Even if you have, say a hundred photos, that can easily take an hour or so. So, even thinking of finding duplicate images on a drive can give you nightmares.
So, what’s the solution? Well, besides cleaing up system data, regularly removing duplicate files would certainly help you, and it’s certainly the way to go in 2023 as you would want a much cleaner and quicker Mac this year. But how do you do it? Well, we think this quick guide may help.
RELATED: Best Duplicate File Finder Apps for Mac for High Efficiency
Ventura and later: remove duplicates using the Photos app
If you have installed macOS 13, removing duplicate photos in the Photos App will be incredibly easy, and useful for freeing up significant amounts of storage space. Among the many new features, that came with Ventura, one of the most underrated was the addition of the Duplicates folder in the Photos App.
Photos will now automatically find duplicate and similar photos, place them in chronological order by the date they were taken, and put them in the Duplicates folder. This allows for very organized, effortless, and easy management of any duplicate photos you might have. It also gives you the option to delete one, several, or all of the duplicate photos, keeping your hard drive clean from excess photo clutter.
To remove duplicates using the Photos App, open Photos, select Duplicates and click Merge Items. If you are deleting individual photos, remember to empty your Recently Deleted folder.
Additionally, Photos will also automatically find and sort duplicate videos using the same system as above. These duplicate videos will be listed in the Duplicates folder. Removing these can be even more effective than removing duplicate photos, as one video can take up several megabytes by itself.
Monterey and earlier: remove duplicates using the Finder app
Finder is the file manager app that comes with your Mac, and it can be very useful in identifying areas that need to be cleaned up to free up storage space on your hard drive. Although Finder does not have a built-in automatic duplicate detection and removal feature like the one that came with Ventura in Photos, it will allow you manually remove duplicate files and photos. Because it is a manual process, there are some steps to follow, but all of them are very easy and will result in duplicates being removed.
Begin by opening Finder, and select the folder from which you wish to remove duplicate photos. These folders can be Downloads, Desktop, or other personal folders. In the text field in the top right corner, enter kind: images, or enter kind and select Images in the drop-down tab. To identify certain types of images, you can enter kind: jpeg, or whatever type of image you wish to sort through.
Next, select the folder you wish to search to search for duplicates. Unless you want to search your entire Mac for duplicates, do not select the This Mac option.
Finder will then list all of the image files from the folder you selected, including all of the images in the subfolders. From here you can then scroll through the photos and delete any duplicates that you see.
To make this process easier, go to the View menu, and select Cover Flow. This will then give you the option to arrange the photo files in your selected folder by size or name. Move any located duplicates to the Trash and empty it once you are satisfied.
Duplicate photos that are not showing in macOS (including Ventura)
Duplicate photos not showing up has been a common issue not just on Ventura, but also on iOS 16. There are a variety of technical reasons for this, but thankfully, there are several viable solutions to this problem.
Give it time
First, check to make sure you have installed Ventura on your Mac by selecting About this Mac. If you have Ventura installed, then go to the Photos App, and check to make sure you can view the Duplicates folder. If this folder is not there, try restarting your Mac. Additionally, it is worth noting that the Duplicates folder will not appear unless your Mac has identified duplicate photos.
If you are sure that you have duplicate photos, but the Duplicates folder in Photos is still not appearing, give the app some time to process through your library. If have you more than 1,000 photos, this may take at least two minutes.
Once Photos has been given enough time to identify any duplicate photos, the Duplicates folder will appear, and you will be able to merge, save, or delete any photo you wish.
Gemini is an intelligent piece of software from MacPaw. It is an intuitive tool that helps you recognize and remove duplicates files from your Mac. In other words, this software solution can save you several hundreds of dollars by making the best out of your Mac storage space. In this article, however, we will be using Gemini to remove duplicate photos on Mac.
Gemini is available for free, but the unlimited version costs you $19.95. It’s available on Setapp too.
There are also some additional features in Gemini. For instance, just like you find duplicate photos, you can use the tool for finding similar images as well. AI algorithms used in Gemini are too good at doing this job. The duplicate remover gives you complete freedom on this matter. Now, without further ado, let’s check out how to remove duplicate images from macOS?
Before we begin
Gemini is not a fully automatic duplicate file remover yet. So, we recommend this product as a way to guide you through the mess. That is, you can use Gemini to find the potential duplicate/similar files on your Mac. Then, according to your discretion, you can keep or trash the files. Or, as in most cases, you can completely trust Gemini to remove duplicates and retain just one copy.
How to remove duplicate photos on Mac?
Step One — Select Drive/Folder
The first step of removing duplicate photos using Gemini is scanning a folder/drive. To do that, you have to open the Gemini interface first.
You have two options. First, you can drag and drop the folder you want to scan. Second, you can click on the + button and choose the appropriate options. You can select the Home, Pictures, or Music folder.
In this case, of course, you have to select the Pictures folder.
Step Two — Start Scanning
Once you have selected the folder/drive, you have to press the Start Scanning button on the next screen.
Now, wait until Gemini completes scanning the selected folder.
On the upcoming window, press Review Duplicates button to proceed.
Step Three — Reviewing Duplicate Files
As you can see, Gemini has a fully-fledged interface for reviewing duplicate and similar files. It primarily has a list of files, the duplicates of which the tool finds on your Pictures folder.
You also get some additional tools to find the desired duplicate file. As you can see, you can sort duplicate files based on file location, date of modification, and size on disk.
There is also an option to ask Gemini to select duplicates based on a criterion automatically. For instance, you can ask the program to choose the copy that is older or newer.
You can click on the arrow next to each entry to see the potentially duplicate files. In this way, you can kind of double-check things before you hit the Delete button.
Step Four — Remove Files
Once you have selected the duplicate file that you want to remove, press the Remove button on the bottom-right side.
Now, provide the necessary permissions to Gemini and wait until the deletion process is complete.
A word on smart cleanup
Gemini also has a feature called Smart Cleanup. That is, the tool will use its AI-powered algorithms to select the duplicates automatically. For this, however, you have to trust the duplicate finder a bit.
That is, you don’t get to review the duplicate files when you press the Smart Cleanup button. So, as much as we know that the Gemini algorithm is excellent, we won’t recommend it if you’re scanning essential photos.
How to get rid of not-quite-duplicate photos
Do you know those photos that aren’t entirely duplicate but similar? You might have a lot of these if you are into professional photography. Getting rid of these photos can also save a lot of space from your Mac. And, as it happens, PhotoSweeper app has an option for that as well.
PhotoSweeper is anti-duplicate software that you can install on your Mac. It is great for removing duplicate and very similar photos, with the best part being that you do not have to remove your photos from the Apple Photos App or any other library manually. Furthermore, the latest PhotoSweeper improved integration with Apple Photos and Adobe Lightroom Classic, while also working with the latest Capture One Pro 23 and Aperture.
To remove very similar photos from your Mac using PhotoSweeper, begin by opening PhotoSweeper and selecting Single List Mode. Next, drag and drop the folder of photos you wish to scan for not-quite-duplicates. Then, select Similar Photos at the top of the prompted PhotoSweeper settings pop-up. Here is where you can get very specific in what you want PhotoSweeper to search for, such as the size of the photo, file name, the time gap between photos, and matching level. Once you have customized your settings, click Start.
PhotoSweeper will then automatically begin searching the folder for similar photos according to your specifications. Once it is finished, it will display similar photos which you can then pick between for removal.
Removing duplicate photos makes saving space easy
If you are finding yourself in constant need of more hard drive space, but don’t want to delete all of your photos, removing duplicates is the way to go. You can still keep all of your favorite photos, all while saving space for other items on your hard drive.
Many of the methods for removing duplicate photos included in the article are free and work very well, especially if your Mac runs Ventura. If you are unwilling to spend money to free up space and remove duplicate photos, then both macOS 13 features and the Finder app will have you covered.
If you are willing to spend a little bit of money, then the benefits continue to mount. Gemini is a fantastic option for optimizing your storage, and the trustworthy and competent developers of CleanMyMac X make it. Best of all, you can easily recover accidentally deleted photos with photo data recovery tools.
With whatever options you choose, removing duplicate photos will no longer be a hassle or source of frustration for you in the future.