How to Delete Duplicate Photos on a Mac?

When trying to keep your documents in order, duplicate files can be a nightmare, especially when it comes to your photos. Trying to go through your photos and work out if something is a duplicate can be a pain. And the last thing you want to do is delete a photo that’s not a duplicate by mistake when you think it is.

After all, it’s much more difficult to delete a document than it is to recover it once it has been permanently deleted, so you want to avoid this from happening. 

With so many people having a phone that takes incredible quality photos, having a lot of photos stored on your Apple Mac will be higher than ever. Not only this, but people screenshot images on their phones, download photos that they are sent from other people, and tend to take photos of things that might only be needed once, but never use them again.

Often these can be duplicate photos that are no longer needed. If you have any duplicates, not only will this take up unnecessary storage but it will also make your folders more cluttered.

How to Delete Duplicate Photos on a Mac

Read on to learn how to delete duplicate photos on your Apple Mac.

Why do you want to delete duplicate photos from your device?

There are a few reasons you might want to delete duplicate photos from your device. The first of these is that they can be unnecessarily taking up space on your Mac. This in turn will make your device run much slower and can stop you from being able to work on or use your Mac as you would like to.

You might end up trying to clear space by deleting photos that you like just because you think you have no other choice, when in fact it is duplicate files that can be removed.

Another reason to get rid of your duplicate photos is that it can make it confusing to find the photos that you want to use or see. When you have so many others cluttering up your space, it can make it near impossible to be organized.

Also Read: Top Effective Ways to Clean up Your Mac

Find duplicate photos on Mac in Finder

When it comes to storing files on your Mac, it’s not uncommon to have multiple copies of documents, downloads, and images. A lot of the time you will download a document, forget you downloaded it, and download it again.

Alternatively, you might save an image from your phone and edit it several times, saving different versions of the same file. This can result in the files being in multiple locations, one in your downloads, one in your documents, and the other under my photos. 

By using Smart Folder in finder, you can get your Mac to scan the information of your image and present all the files that have similar properties in them. Here you will be presented with all the duplicates, allowing you to sieve through them, deleting the ones you no longer need. 

Use an application to do it for you 

If you search the app store, you will find a whole myriad of photoduplication apps that are designed specifically to source images that are the same or similar to each other. Download one of these apps and let it scan your Apple Mac for you, instead of you manually searching all your folders. Not only will this be a quicker process, but it will also stop you from deleting the wrong images by mistake.

Before deciding what application to use, look at the user reviews and see the experience they have had with it. Only look for 4 or 5-star applications as chances are the 1 to 3-star ones may not do the job as well. 

Find duplicate files with a Terminal

If you know your way around Apple Macs and have some knowledge about code, then you could use the terminal to find duplicate files. To use the terminal, you will have to type some keywords into it, but if it goes wrong, you are at risk of damaging your laptop.

For this reason, do your research beforehand and only use it if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, the other options above would be more suitable. 

Also Read: How to Select the Best Cleanup Software for Macbooks?


When it comes to deleting duplicate photos on a mac, the above three methods will find a lot of duplicates (if you have any). That said, they aren’t fail-proof and some might slip through the net. For this reason, repeat the process every couple of months to make sure you find any new ones or ones you have missed.

It may be that you have to combine a couple of the methods above to find the duplicate files that you are trying to hide. By doing it regularly, you have a much higher chance of staying on top of your photos and it is less likely that they will all build up until your device is clogged and nearing its full storage capacity.

While it can feel like a hassle to do once, it will soon become much quicker once you aren’t having to scour through so many photos all at once. 

When deleting your files, they will be moved to your recycling bin. Make sure you clear this as until cleared, they will be taking up unnecessary storage space. Be sure to regularly check your recycling bin to ensure it’s empty as this is where the files you don’t need will be stored otherwise and you might not even realize it. 

If you are ever unsure about whether to delete a file, consider storing it in the cloud as this way it doesn’t take up space on your Apple Mac. This way even once you delete your files and remove them from your recycling bin, you will be safe in the knowledge your files aren’t lost if you deleted them accidentally.

How do you delete duplicate photos on your Mac? Do you use any of the above three methods? Are there any methods that we have missed that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comment box below. 

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