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How to Clean Up Your Photo Library

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09 / 10 / 2017

How to Clean Up Your Photo Library

Imagine there are hundreds of duplicates among the thousands of photos on your Mac. Did you know they take up free space on your hard drive? What are these duplicate files, or dups? Let’s check how and why these files appear and determine the best way to get rid of them.

A duplicate file is a multiple file copy, a copy of a photo in this case. Every time you crop or edit a photo, copy of the original is created. The problem is that dups can accumulate on your Mac’s hard drive very fast. Overall, these files may take a large amount of free storage space in a short period of time. However, there are few ways to avoid this and keep your Mac in good shape.

The AppStore offers dozens of cleaning apps, but you can remove duplicate files manually. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but it doesn’t hurt to try, does it?

Remember, the Photos app will notify you when you are trying to import identical files with the same file attributes, but it won't recognize edited copies of the same photo as duplicates such as scaled-down versions or the same photo with different creation dates.

In addition, the Photos app itself doesn’t recognize duplicates so you'll need to remove them manually. The easiest way to do this is to open Photos view, the first option at the top of the sidebar. Next, select to display the newest photos first, instead of sorting by the date of adding to the Photos app.

By default, all photos are automatically copied when imported on macOS. Here’s the way to stop this:

  1. Open the Photos app and click Photos at the top menu bar.

  2. Select Preferences.

  3. Uncheck the Copy items to the Photos library field.

This trick makes a picture stay in its original location. Instead of adding a file copy to the Photos Library, this method creates an alias in the Photos app. Try to use this option to reduce the duplicate files accumulation on your Mac.

Also note that if you don’t understand the details of how the duplication process works, you should avoid changing settings. Make sure you don’t inadvertently modify or remove your pictures.

As you see, finding and deleting photo dups manually is a tough job, which requires much time and macOS advanced knowledge. That’s why there are many programs that automatically remove unnecessary file copies and keep your photos safe. What’s more, many software programs include a number of maintenance tools in addition to cleaning functions. If you choose an all-in-one application like MacKeeper, you'll kill two birds with one stone.

When cleaning up your photo library with MacKeeper, its Duplicates Finder feature is able to detect file copies even if they have different names. This tool searches for file copies, sorts them in a list and doesn’t remove anything without your approval. If you allow file copies to be removed, Duplicates Finder will delete them and instantly free up space on your Mac's hard drive.

The app automatically detects the original file and checkmarks the duplicate one. You can also schedule automatic duplicates cleaning, (e.g. once per week) and MacKeeper will do its job without sending you a reminder. Isn’t that handy?

So, since you know how to remove tons of dups from your Mac, you’re free to choose the best way to clean up your photo library. Will you do it manually or automatically? Or will you use other methods? Let us know in the Comments section!