With the storage allocations on smartphones growing larger every year, cloud storage decreasing in price and services such as Google Photos becoming more and more intelligent and convenient, there’s a growing temptation to take masses of photos and simply keep them.
Going through your photo library and pruning out the less impressive shots is a pain (and becomes more of a pain the longer you leave it) and software is getting better at finding the best ones (or the shots of particular people, locations or objects) for you. And who knows, maybe you’ll want that weird shot of your husband eating a sweet some time in the future.
But with all those photos floating around, and with copies of them building up on multiple synced devices and online services, it’s easy to end up with duplicates. And having two or more copies of the same photo really is a waste of storage: there’s no difference and hence no reason at all to keep them both, and there are software solutions out there that can remove the duplicates quickly and easily.
In this article, we explain how to delete duplicate photos on your iPhone. (For more general advice on clearing out unnecessary junk, see how to free space on an iPhone. And for similar procedures on your computer, take a look at how to find and delete duplicate files on Mac.)
The manual method
Before we get on to the clever methods, let’s quickly go back over the way you delete photos manually. Open the Photos app and find the images you wish to remove: tap the Photos icon at the bottom left to see all photos in chronological order, or Albums to narrow your search that way.
Tap a photo, then tap the dustbin icon at the bottom right (or top right in landscape orientation), then confirm. A quicker alternative method is to tap Select at the top right of the Camera Roll or album screen, then tap all the images you want to delete, tap the dustbin icon, then confirm.
Delete duplicates using a third-party app
There are various apps that can manage this process for you. We’ve tried a free option called Remo Duplicate Photos Remover, but there are plenty more you can try such as the paid-for Duplicate Photos Fixer.
Open Remo and tap Scan, and the app will look for duplicates on your device. (You’ll have to give the app access to Photos when it asks, but you don’t have to allow it to send you notifications if you don’t want to.) This takes a while – it took about three minutes for us, but it depends on how many photos you’ve got – and you can switch to a different app while you wait.
When it’s finished, Remo will pop up a message indicating how many exact duplicates it’s found, and the storage they take up. In this case, there was only one: note that the number and storage space reported does not include the ‘originals’. Tap OK.
You can now tap on the yellow boxes to select images and then tap the dustbin icon to delete all selected. Tap the three-dots icon at the top-right then Select All and it will select all but the first instance of each image. You can also tap a picture to see it full-screen, then tap the dustbin icon to delete it.
Once you’ve cleared out the exact duplicates (which ought to be easy), you can move on to the near-duplicates, which are listed under the Similar tab. We’ve got 19 of these – far more.
Again, you tap the yellow box by each set to select all but the first instance, or the three-dots icon then Select All to do the same thing for every set in one go. But for Similar rather than Exact matches we would recommend reviewing on a case-by-case basis.