iOS 16 has a powerful new feature that’ll automatically detect Duplicate Photos, inform you about them and then delete the lower resolution copy when you want. It’ll merge any missing Metadata between them, meaning nothing is lost. This is a fantastic way to reclaim storage on your iPhone or on iCloud as it’ll delete lots of large duplicate photographs that are just taking up space!
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As our Photo Libraries grow and grow, it’s inevitable that our device will start becoming full of duplicate pictures taking up unwanted space.
In iOS 16 there’s a really quick way to find and fix this problem – here’s how.
I’m going to go straight into the Photos app and you may notice at the bottom here that I’ve actually got over 94,000 photos!
Yes, that’s quite a few I know!
But we’re going to go through and remove any duplicate pictures to hopefully clear up a little bit space in iCloud.
Now, you haven’t got to do this by scrolling through all 94,000 pictures, thankfully there’s a much quicker way.
Tap onto Albums at the bottom of your screen and then scroll right down to the bottom of that page.
At the bottom of this screen is a new section called Utilities and one of the items in there is Duplicates.
Now you can see that I’ve got 2,727 duplicate pictures – so let’s go in there now and explore.
When I tap on that you’re going to see a huge list of pictures, but the difference here is that the pictures will be duplicated side by side.
It will show you the file size and if you tap onto it you can see that image and swipe between the two to check they’re the same.
It’s very interesting seeing the file size being different, because you would imagine a duplicate picture would be the exact same file – but actually what Photos has done is found different versions of that file.
Not to fear though, it will only keep the best version it has.
Now with this particular photo of a sculpture down here in Cornwall I’ve got two pictures that are identical.
I don’t want two in my Library and rather than going onto one and deleting it and perhaps missing the better quality one, instead I’m going to tap here and press Merge.
Photos will then ask if you’re happy to merge those two pictures together – and it will combine metadata from both so you make sure you haven’t lost anything apart from saving a bit of storage space.
Now I can press Merge on the next pair of pictures and it will do the same process again.
But with two and a half thousand pictures this could take some time!
So instead what I’m going to do is press Select on the top toolbar.
Now from here you can select to merge a few different pictures at once, so I’m going to select three or four here.
And then when you press Merge it will do those batches all at once.
But it’s even quicker to press Select in the top toolbar and then choose Select All, and then Merge all of those pairs at the same time.
This process takes a moment or two, but when it’s done you’ll have no more duplicate images left.
In fact that album will disappear completely from the Album screen, and if I go back to my main Photos screen now you’ll notice I’ve gone from 94,685 images to a much more realistic 93,262.
And because it was duplicates we were deleting, I haven’t lost anything important.
Not bad for a couple of minutes work.