How to delete duplicate photos on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Delete and merge duplicate photos on an iPhone

We store multiple pictures of the exact same thing or scene every now and then. But how should we sort and delete them? Well, that’s what we are discussing in this article. Apple has added a new delete duplicates utility in the Photos app with the launch of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura; it allows you to delete all duplicate copies from one or multiple photo albums.

While the pictures stored on your Apple devices are important, some of them (especially duplicate copies) are redundant, and keeping them isn’t worth it. Thanks to the Shortcuts app and the (newly updated) Photos app, you can easily get rid of duplicate photos on your Apple devices.

How to delete duplicate photos in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

  1. Head to the Photos app on your iPhone/iPad.
  2. Select the Albums tab from the bottom.
  3. Now, swipe down until you find Duplicates listed under “Utilities.”
  4. Inspect the duplicate matches (Tap any of the photo couples or duplicates to find out whether they are similar enough.)
  5. You can either 
    • Select all of them by hitting Select → Select all → Merge.
    • Select individual photos and tap Merge
  6. Confirm the duplicate merging process by hitting the Merge Duplicates prompt.
    It will delete the duplicates and retain the one with the highest resolution.
Deleting duplicate photos automatically on iPhone with iOS 16

Note: The feature looks for the image’s name or metadata. It compares it with all your images, so it wouldn’t be able to differentiate pictures taken at the same time, location, or featuring the same objects. But it processes and helps delete duplicate photos created by mistake or due to sharing them on apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. 

The new iOS software update came with plenty of features, especially for the Photos app. Apart from deleting duplicate photos, you can now edit multiple photos at once, lock your hidden and deleted album and more. 

Although there’s still time for the public release of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, if you don’t want to go down the iOS 16 beta route, you can try out the Siri shortcut method mentioned below.

Find and delete duplicate photos on Mac

If you’re using macOS Ventura, then follow the next set of steps. However, if you’re using macOS Monterey or earlier, skip to the next section

Eliminate duplicates through the Photos app in macOS Ventura

  1. Launch the Photos app on Mac.
  2. Click on Duplicates from the left sidebar, appearing under “Photos.”
    The detected duplicate pictures would show up in this Duplicates section.
  3. Review the different sections and select unwanted duplicates.
  4. Now, click on Merge or hit the delete key.

    Select unwanted duplicates from Photos app on Mac

The Merge feature would retain the best quality picture and delete its duplicates, whereas deleting them all would simply delete them and move them to the bin.

If your images folder is not synced or stored in the Photos app, you can import them to avail of this feature.

  • Select the images → to right-click (secondary click) → Share → Add to Photos.
  • You can also go to Photos app → File (menu bar) → Import → select the folder/files.

Use third-party apps to delete duplicate photos on Mac

You can use different software such as Delete duplicate finder or Gemini 2 to remove duplicate or redundant pictures from your Mac. I’ll walk you through the process of removing duplicate pictures through Gemini 2.

  1. Launch the Gemini app.
  2. While launching for the first time, It would pop up a Plus icon (+) along with a window to drop folders in it for inspection.

    Click the Plus icon (+) in Gemini 2 on Mac
  3. If you click the Plus icon (+), it will prompt you with folder options such as Home, Pictures, or Music.
    Select the one where your images are stored.
  4. Click on Scan for Duplicates, which will look through the folder to find duplicates.
    It will notify you once the process is completed.

    Click on Scan for Duplicates Gemini 2 Mac app
  5. Select the “Review Results” option from the prompt.

    Select the Review Results option from the prompt on Mac
  6. To make sure any other files aren’t included in the list, firstly, deselect all by going to the All Duplicates tab → Select Duplicates Deselect All.

    Deselect All images from Gemini 2 app for Mac
  7. Now, click on Images (or the folder where you’ve stored images) from the sidebar.
  8. Select Duplicates from the top left and choose Automatically.
  9. Click on Remove from the bottom right, and it will start removing the duplicate images.

    Use third-party apps to delete duplicate photos on Mac

Remove duplicate photos on iPhone, iPad, or Mac using Siri Shortcuts

Note: This method will only help you delete the pictures you’ve downloaded from the internet. It basically looks for the image’s metadata and compares it with the other images available on your device.

If you’re on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, or earlier and wondering how you can merge or delete the duplicate pictures from your Apple device, you’ve hit the right spot.

To start with, you will need to download this shortcut. After downloading the shortcut, head to the settings app and turn off the iCloud sync.

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
  2. Tap on the “Delete Duplicated Images” shortcut.
    Depending upon the size of your photo gallery, it will take time.
  3. If it detects any duplicates, it will prompt you to review them. 
  4. After reviewing, tap Done.
  5. On the pop-up, select Delete if you wish to delete the duplicates.
  6. Select the Show all option if you want to review the images again.
Delete duplicate photos on iPhone using Shortcuts app

If you go with the Don’t Delete option even once, you’ll encounter an error. To go over it, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Tap the three dots appearing at the top right of the shortcut.
  2. Select the (i) button from the bottom and navigate to the Privacy tab.
  3. Select the Ask to Delete option from the drop-down menu next to Photos.
  4. Tap on Done, and you’ll be good to go.
Delete duplicated images on iPhone using Shortcuts app

FAQs

Q. Duplicate photos are not showing up in iOS 16; what to do?

The duplicate photos feature only detects images that are of identical filenames. It looks for the image name and metadata, not the image contents. Thus, it would only show up if you have received or downloaded the same image from different parties or the internet.

Wrapping up

That’s pretty much it from my side for this article; I hope you enjoyed your way through it and (hopefully) were able to delete the duplicate images and clear the clutter.

While you’re here:

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