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Easiest: How to Delete Duplicate Photos in Google Photos?

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Posted by @MultCloud

Feb. 19, 2020| 5 mins read

Author MultCloud


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We all know there is no automatic way to delete duplicate photos from Google Photos. So we have to use the manual way to remove duplicate photos in Google Photos. In this article, you will find 5 free and safe ways to resolve Google Photos duplicates problem and three ways to avoid duplicates generated in Google Photos.

This article is a little bit long, you could find what you are interested in to read through below guidance.

Complaints of Google Photos Backup Duplicates

"I can checksum the files myself and see that they are identical but if you put a file from one computer on another computer it gets uploaded as a duplicate... People really are going to go elsewhere."

"This is pretty screwed up. You think its ok to create hours of work because you didn't take the time to explain the process before we created thousands of duplicates? You suck, and now I'll go use some other photo site."

"Removing each one individually would take DAYS, and this issue has now ruined my online albums for sharing with friends and family."

"This service is fill of bugs for uploading existing photos. Duplicates all over the place and no way to organize via tags. Nice try Google, but you'll need to put better engineers on this one. It's pitiful."

"These duplicates are a major issue. Perhaps they need new QA testers. This product will have cost me more time than I choose to think about. This sucks. I think I will find a better software and keep things local."

Google Photos Duplicates
Google Photos Duplicates

Why Google Photos Upload Duplicates?

Google Photos Backup Has Identical Duplicate Detection

Google Photos has identical duplicate detection, which means that if you have uploaded photos to Google Photos already, it will not re-upload the same photo. The de-duplicating feature will check/scan to see if they have been previously uploaded (each photo file has a unique "hash" that allows us to determine this). If they have, it will skip that photo upload and check the next one and so on. So, it will look like it is uploading the uploaded photos again, but it will just cycle through (re-scan) all the photos and only upload those that were not previously uploaded.

Photos backup client will hide/merge duplicate photos; it will only show one copy of a duplicate. This only applies to exact duplicates. If you are seeing what look like duplicates in your Google Photos account, they are most likely either near duplicates or they are copies of the same photo that were changed in some way (e.g. opened in something like Photoshop and then re-saved). If even a single bit is different in two images, Google Photos won't see them as duplicates.

See detailed explaination about how Google Photos handles duplicates:

Some Reasons for Getting Duplicates

1. If you have uploaded pictures/videos using former Google backup app or other methods say Desktop Uploader or Picasa, then, a new upload by Backup and Sync or drag & drop will create duplicates of all photos which have been modified (edit, change data and time, add tags, etc. not include rename) by former app. For example, Picasa is much older and did not play by the same rules that allow de-duplication to work (specifically, Picasa might have altered the image metadata or image data prior to upload) and the newer Google Photos Backup utility may not successfully detect the duplicates. (Picasa and google photos store them in different folder)

2. Uploading from multiple devices (for example different smartphone, computer and NAS) will result in duplicates (EXACT copies of photos will not be duplicated, but VIDEOS do).

3. Devices changes. Using a new phone, new computer or reformatted computer (reinstall/upgrade OS, photos backup app, etc.) may also generate duplicated photos.

How to Delete Google Photos Auto Backup Duplicates?

Many users are unwilling to remove duplicates in Google Photos manually due to time-wasting. Unfortunately, there are only manual ways until now.

Note: No matter which way you take below, bear in mind that the Google photos backup app does not perform a sync function from cloud to local. Otherwise, your local source photos may be removed at the same time when you delete duplicates.

In the following parts, you will find 5 ways to help you delete duplicate photos in Google Photos.

1. Google Photos Find Duplicates - Check

Google photos backup duplicates should be next to each other except when date & time was changed. You may have to check which ones you can delete:

  • One photo may be edited, the other not. You need to open the photo and click the pencil to find out.
  • One photo may be in an album, the other not. You now can see in the info panel to which album(s) a photo is added.

2. Google Photos Detect Duplicates - Search

If the upload dates are different (e.g. if you uploaded long ago via Desktop Uploader, and now again to Google Photos), it is easier to delete the duplicates. In https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_ where they are sorted by upload date (latest on top). Uploads from Desktop Uploader do not appear there at all. Then, hovering over the date with your mouse and tick inside the small circle which appears you can select all photos uploaded on that date, or in batches of a maximum of 500. Review and deselect any individual photos which you need to keep, then move the duplicates to the trash.


3. Google Photos Delete Duplicates - Delete a Whole Folder/Album

Drag the duplicate photos into a folder and delete. Or, if you can figure out what photos should be stored in the folder/album which contains duplicates, just delete a whole folder/album and re-upload all photos belong to the folder/album from local device.

To delete photos directly from an album in Google Photos, open the album, go to "More options" (3-dots icon), and use "Delete album".

4. Google Photos Remove Duplicates for Picasa

Can google photos recognize duplicates? If you are still using Picasa, the answer is yes. Just enable syncing and then go to Tools, choose Experimental and click on Show Duplicate Files. Delete the duplicate photos then.

5. Google Photos Eliminate Duplicates – Leave It Alone

If you uploaded photos/videos in the free "High Quality" and have all your photos in albums, you could simply ignore the duplicates in the library since your cloud storage is unlimited in this situation.

How to Avoid Google Photos Duplicates Generating?

1. Get a Fresh Settings or Fresh Start to Any Software/Hardware Changes

Considering the causes of Google photos upload duplicates, to avoid future Google photos auto backup duplicates, users should keep backing up photos using the same local device client. If the client gets updated/reinstalled, just adjust settings and only put the new photos or future photos to source folders. If the local devices get renewed/reformatted or replaced, also reset settings to put already uploaded items out of source folders. Moreover, to avoid upload same photos via different devices (desktops, laptops, notebooks or phones).

2. Upload Google Photos Manually

Just open Google Photos and upload new local photos by drag and drop or “Upload” button or “Add photos” bottom in a certain album. See more details here https://sites.google.com/site/picasaresources/Home/Picasa-FAQ/google-photos-1/how-to/how-to-upload-photos

3. Use Different Upload Methods

Since the troubles Google Photos has given you, if you are fed up with it, you can switch to other cloud drive services like Dropbox and OneDrive. They have their own file backup tool to upload local files to cloud storage.

Or, you can make use of third party software which enables you to do local items upload to cloud task such as MultCloud. MultCloud is an FREE online cloud drive manager which can help you not only upload local files (of course including photos/videos) to its supported clouds like Google Drive, Google Photos, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc., but also upload remote online files directly to cloud drives.

Google Drive Upload
Google Drive Upload

MultCloud also allows you to transfer/sync files among cloud drives directly as long as you add your clouds to MultCloud without using laborious uploading and downloading method. For instance, sync pictures between OneDrive and Google Photos.

Sync Photos between Onedrive and Google Photos
Transfer Photos between Onedrive and Google Photos

Following any way above can help you delete duplicate photos in Google Photos. This article not only guides you how to remove duplicates in google albums, but also provides free ways to avoid Google Photos duplicates generating. In general, it is very useful for us to manage google photos stored in Google Photos.

Suggestions to Google Photos Backup App

Many users have given their opinions about how Google Photos handle duplicates. They insist on that Google should implement an ACTUAL duplicate detection to detect duplicated photos. When a photo is being uploaded but Google Photos finds it's the same as one of the previous uploaded photo, Google photos backup app will ask user to decide whether to keep/merge (keeping the largest/most recent photo) or delete all duplicates.

If there are already duplicates in cloud, Google Photos should give a function to search out all duplicates and delete them. This actual duplicate detection can exactly detect files of same content but in different file names, different upload dates, upload by different clients, upload from different local devices, etc.

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