Mac Performance

The Best Ways to Find and Delete Duplicate Photos on a Mac

If you’re like most people, you probably take 10 - 15 photos from just one angle. Both your digital camera and phone are brimming with images that you later transfer to your Mac, where you edit them and create even more copies. What’s worse, you can duplicate the same photos stored in your phone the next time you connect it to your Mac.


Stop this madness and take control by ridding your Mac of useless image duplicates. This article covers how to delete duplicate photos on your Mac:

How to delete duplicate photos on a Mac

To remove duplicate photos on your Mac, you can either use specific software or do it manually.


Manually deleting duplicates requires going through several folders to dig up image copies. macOS has built-in features like the Smart Albums and Smart Folders that offer a more efficient way to sort out the files.


You’re also welcome to explore how MacKeeper can help you speed up finding duplicate images and deleting them.

Remove duplicates in the Photos app

The Photos app automatically detects duplicate images when you import them, but it can’t do the same for those already in your library. You will have to do it manually.


Most duplicate photos are taken on the same day. The Photos app lets you sort the pics by date, which makes finding and deleting duplicates easier.


For photos that weren’t taken on the same day, you can use other criteria for sorting them or narrowing down your search.


To do this:


1. Open the Photos app


2. Click File and select New Smart Album

photos app file drop-down menu

3. Set the filter criteria in the pop-up window, then choose a Smart Album Name

new smart album photos app

4. Select the duplicate pictures, control-click on any of the selected images and click Delete


5. Click Delete in the pop-up window to confirm

6. Select Recently Deleted in the sidebar. Then click Delete All in the top right corner. This step ensures your deleted photos will not get stored in the app for another 30 days

photos app recently deleted tab

The Smart Albums you create are saved in the sidebar of the Photos app. You can return to them for routine cleanups.

Search for duplicate images in Finder

Duplicate photos tend to accumulate over time. And they’re not always stored in the Pictures folder. You’ll find them spread across various folders on your Mac, including Downloads, Documents, and Desktop.


Fortunately, you won’t have to scour every folder to look for duplicate photos. The Finder app on your Mac has its own Smart Folders to help you sort files by specific criteria.


To create a Smart Folder in Finder:


1. Open the Finder window


2. Click File and select New Smart Folder

finder file menu new smart folder option

3. Select This Mac, and click on + in the upper-right corner

new smart folder this mac option

4. Select Kind in the first drop-down menu and Image in the second one. Here, you will be able to easily spot duplicate images. You may also want to sort the files by Name

new smart folder for images

6. Select the photos you’d like to delete


7. Control-click on the images, and select Move to Trash

move duplicated photos to trash

8. Empty the Trash

Remove duplicate photos with MacKeeper

You can either toil away for hours on end trying to manually delete duplicate images or use trusty software to get it done in a few clicks.


MacKeeper has a Duplicates Finder feature that lets you easily search for and delete duplicate photos on your Mac. The intuitive interface makes it easy to use. And what’s more, it now detects blurred and similar photos.


To remove duplicate files:


1. Download and install MacKeeper


2. Select Duplicates Finder from the sidebar


3. Click the Start Scan button

mackeeper duplicates finder tool

4. Once the scan is complete, click Remove Duplicates to delete all duplicate files on your Mac, including duplicate images

mackeeper duplicates finder scan

5. If you prefer to review the files and delete them one by one, simply unclick Auto-selection


6. Click Remove Duplicates


Can Mac Photos find duplicates?

The Mac Photos app will not be able to help you find duplicate images that are already in your library, but it can automatically detect duplicates as you import them. You will have to manually search for duplicate photos already stored in the library.

How do I eliminate duplicate photos in iPhoto?

Newer versions of macOS have replaced iPhoto with Photos. The older iPhoto app does not have the Smart Albums feature. As a result, you will have to manually sort through the Library folders to find similar image files.


With photos located in different folders, you face the risk of deleting the wrong file. You can avoid the mistake by following these steps:

  1. Click on the image
  2. Press Command+I to reveal the file info and verify the photo’s name, file size, and resolution
  3. Repeat the steps for other images

The photo’s name tells you if it’s an exact duplicate, while the file size and resolution let you know which ones have higher quality and should be retained.

How do I stop importing duplicate photos?

If you’re the type who doesn’t delete images in your camera or source folder after transferring them to the Photos app, you run the risk of copying the same files the next time you import photos. Fortunately, the Photos app comes with a built-in duplicate detector.


A Duplicate Photo warning appears every time you import an image that already exists in your Library.


You can choose to import the duplicate photo, which creates a new file in the Library. Opting not to import the duplicate will make Photos skip that image and move on to the next one. You have the option of enabling the checkbox for Apply to All Duplicates, which lets you perform a bulk action for several images at a time.




Prevent useless files from eating up valuable drive space. Whether you choose to do it manually or using software, make a habit of taking out the trash files. And because images are particularly heavy and aplenty, they require your attention the most.


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