I moved to Photos and iCloud Photo Library, and I am happy so far. Because of previous imports, crashes and re-imports, several thousand duplicates (identical pictures - not of the same photo) in my library. Now I would like to identify these and delete them.

I have upgraded my Duplicate Annihilator from Aperture to Photos but my 56000 photos seem to be to much for it, because they claim that it is Photos API which is causing problems and slowness.

Is there an other way of finding duplicates and deleting them from my iCloud Library?

3 Answers 3


I had the same problem as you. Here's what I did to remove the duplicates quickly and easily.

  1. Export your entire photo library to a folder.
  2. Close photos and create a new photos library. (No deleting until you know it worked)
  3. Open that new empty library in photos and drag everything (using CMD+a in finder) in that exported folder to the Photos.app window.
  4. During the import you will be prompted to choose what you want to have done for duplicate photos and it will show you the first two identical photos that it has found, select "skip" and "apply to all".
  5. There you have a full library of purely unique photos.

Notes: Since you mentioned you have 5000 photos, the Mac will potentially become a little unresponsive while you're dragging them into the window. Be patient with it and let it do it's thing but it is working. (4,3000 photos was a little stuttery on my 2012 Mac mini i5 but it did work after being patient)

Photos may not be able to detect if it already has those photos in the library yet but doing it during the import has proven to be a reliable solution so just be prepared to do a massive import for now.

  • Actually a good idea - haven't thought about that, but I guess I would loose quite a bit of metadata. But definitely a good idea if metadata is not that relevant / not present yet.
    – Rainer
    May 16, 2015 at 9:34

Export and import didn't worked for me. Actually worked but duplicates were not detected. dupeGuru Photo Edition (http://www.hardcoded.net/dupeguru/) helped, recommend it, it's free.


Duplicate Annihilator worked great for iPhoto and Aperture, but it looks like their Photos support is still lacking. It may not be feasible to do a good job until a new version of Photos is released with a proper API. I checked and I don't see any alternatives yet.

But I'm sure they'll be coming. So, unless you want to run Duplicate Annihilator on iPhoto and then reimport, I would just wait for it to improve.

  • I just found PhotoSweeper overmacs.com and it works perfectly - you can specify if you want to have exact matches (seem to include file names - which is a shame as it did not find any duplicates) and also fuzzy matches of different resolutions, different methods, ... And it worked relatively fast - duplicate identification a few minutes, putting 8000 photos into a new album a few hours. They have a demo to try it - very nice.
    – Rainer
    May 16, 2015 at 9:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .