How to cull your iPhoto library of duplicates and bad photos

Christopher Breen writes for Macworld, “Reader Phil Rogers has more images than he cares for. He writes: ‘Because digital photos are so easy to save, my wife and I developed the bad habit of downloading, and downloading, and well, downloading. If we needed to show each other something at the store, we’d snap a photo and email it. Then at some point, that orange, or stapler, or whatever, would eventually get downloaded. Net result? Over 50,000 photos in iPhoto, with many duplicates. How does one even begin to cull the herd? I’ve tried many of the duplicate-finder programs with varied success. But what about just plowing through to get rid of the clunkers?'”

Breen writes, “This is a common problem, particularly now that so many of us carry around cameras (in the form of mobile devices) each day…”

How to cull your iPhoto library of duplicates and bad photos here.


  1. This looks like a promising tool for handling duplicates. Has anyone used this or Fat Cat Software’s iPhoto Library Manager? I’m going to combine libraries from three Macs soon and Fat Cat’s comes up on searches. Not sure how good it is.

    1. Fantastic. Been using it for years and it keeps getting better. Perfect for merging libraries. I set it to set a comment for each duplicate it finds as “duplicate” then make a smart album from the comment. I then go one by one and choose which one to keep. Sometimes they may, inexplicably, differ only by a few Meg in size but otherwise seem the same. You can let the software decide which one to keep but I’m never happy to hand over that decision to any software.

  2. It would be nice if iPhoto “just worked” without so much user work and 3rd party band-aids. But we all know why iPhoto IS NOT seamless — because development stopped many years ago, and now Apple is attempting to sell people iCloud rental instead.

    Hey, Apple: we’re not interested. We want to manage our own photo archives on local storage!

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