Oryna Lienkova
Apple certified support professional
October 1, 2021
12 minutes to read

Delete Duplicate Photos from Mac Photo Library

Duplicate pictures may occur on your computer for various reasons. However, if you wish to optimize your Mac storage, it is better to get rid of unwanted identical photographs. Depending on the quality of the image, even one duplicate photo can take gigabytes of disk space on your Mac. Fortunately, you can use a free Duplicate File Finder app, which helps you to easily detect and remove duplicate files from your computer.

To delete duplicate photos from your Mac, using Duplicate File Finder, complete the following steps:

  1. Launch Duplicate File Finder.
  2. Click on the Choose Folder button → select Photos Library from the menu that appears → click on the Scan button to search for duplicate pictures.
    duplicate file finder start window with drop menu to choose folder for scanning
  3. In the next moment, you will see a list of all your equal and similar photos arranged in groups on the left side of the app’s window. On the right, you will see a preview of the duplicate pictures, and their info.
    You can compare two images at once for a convenient selection. Place the pointer on the photo and you will see a Trash can and a Thumbs-up icons. Click on the Thumbs-up to keep an image or on the Trash can to remove it. You can also click on the Auto Select button to allow the app automatically choose the unneeded photos. Then, click on the Review & Remove button.
    similar photos tab in duplicate file finder app
  4. Overview the images you are going to delete and click on the Remove button. The app will ask you to grant Duplicate File Finder access to control Photos. Click OK to allow this free duplicate photo finder to complete the removal process.
    Duplicate file finder - notification to grant access photos for removing duplicates
  5. Then, all the selected photos to be remove, the Duplicate File Finder app moves to the Selected Duplicate Photos album in the Photos app.

While the Duplicate File Finder app helps you to remove unwanted duplicate images, the Photos app, securely stores your data and prevent it from the accidental removal. So, all the pictures from the Photos Library can be removed from your Mac within the Photos app only. Go to step 2 of this guide to learn how to completely remove the useless duplicate and similar pictures from the Photos app on your Mac.

Delete Pictures from Photos Library

You have successfully found and selected to remove all unwanted duplicate pictures in the Photos library via Duplicate File Finder.

However, due to the Photos app specification, you can only remove the images within the Photos app. So, Duplicate File Finder has moved all the unneeded pictures you have just chosen to the “Selected Duplicate Photos” album in the Photos app. To continue the removal process, complete the following steps:

  1. Switch to the Photos app.
    Finder window - Applications folder - Photos app
  2. Expand “My Albums” and choose Duplicates album on the sidebar.
    Photos library app with Duplicates album  in sidebar
    Note, in the old versions of Duplicate File Finder 6.8 and earlier, the album with duplicates in Photos app is called “Selected Duplicate Photos.”
  3. Select photos in the album.
  4. Choose each picture using your mouse or a track-pad step by step. If you wish to remove several images, press and hold the Command key and select the unwanted photos. Use the Command+A keys combination to select all the images.

    Photos app with selected pictures in Duplicates album

  5. Perform mouse right-click on the selected photos.
    Right-click on any selected photo. Then, press the Command(⌘) key and choose Delete Photos from the menu that appears.

    Please note that it is important to press the Command key, because if you don’t do this, the photos simply get removed from the Duplicates album. If you delete photos with the Command key, the photos get removed to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app.

    Photos app context menu with delete option selected

    If you are using macOS 10.14 or earlier, just make a right-click and select Delete Photos from the menu that appears. If the delete function is not appearing, simultaneously hold Сontrol+Сommand and make a click (right-click if using a mouse) to bring up the delete option.

  6. Click on Delete Photos.
    Click on Delete to confirm the removal from the pop-up window.

    Photos app showing confirmation message for files removal

By default, all the images are moved to the Recently Deleted album of the Photos app and will be automatically removed in 30 days.

Photos app with recently deleted album highlighted

If you want to immediately get rid of the useless duplicates from your Mac, click on the Delete All button to remove all the images.

Photos app Recently deleted album with Delete All button highlighted
In the window that appears, click OK to confirm the final deletion of the photos from your Mac.

confirmation message to permanently delete duplicate photos

This method seems a bit complicated, but it is only meant to protect your data. Duplicate File Finder helps you find unwanted images in Photos, but the decision on what to delete is yours. Therefore, carefully select the images you want to remove because, after clicking the Delete Item button in the Photos app, the selected images will be instantly and permanently deleted from your Mac.

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