Photos is adding duplicates to my library
Q I was notified by iCloud that I was seeking custody for 42,500 pictures, the cost of which is peanuts. However, within Photos, in the ‘Photos’ section, I have a large number of duplicates, triplicates, and so on. This is because I have photographs in different files. As an example, I used to be MD of a fleet of ships that came into service in the 19th century and still exists. I have photos of all these ships, and from time to time new ships are added. I am able to name each ship alongside its photo.
From time to time I deliver lectures on this, using these photos, so some are within Keynote or Outlook. In the Photos section of the app I may well have a half dozen repetitions of ‘SS such and such’. How do I bring this back to earth? Do I understand correctly that Photos is reading any photos on my computer? I am aware of how to construct albums and I know how to delete a picture from Photos. But searching through 42,000 is a bit much. Rod Brown A Photos doesn’t scour your hard drive. The images in your library are the ones that were migrated from iPhoto and the ones that you have manually imported since then. When you enable iCloud Photo Library, the Photos app checks whether the image already exists in your online library before it uploads the local version. The same check happens when you first import a library. You can force Photos to rescan for duplicates by exporting your entire library to a folder and then reimporting it to a new library.
If this was going to work for you, it would already have eliminated most duplicates when you migrated from iPhoto, and it doesn’t seem to have happened. I suspect this is because your duplicates are slightly different sizes, croppings and resolutions – probably created when you imported images into other apps for your lectures. I don’t really understand how those copies ended up back in your library, but there we are.
To get rid of them, you’ll need an app with a looser definition of ‘duplicate’. PhotoSweeper is one of these. It’s on the Mac App Store for £7.99 but there is also a free trial on the website at overmacs.com.
Photos can sometimes look like duplicates at first glance, despite subtle differences.