My photos (iOS, macOS, etc) &. problems with duplicates

Hi all!

This is an old and new problem for me.


Am traveling and uploaded a lot of photos (and some videos) from my phone to the cloud.

I drove to my childhood home and it’s in the middle of very poor (cellular-only) Internet access.

Trying to get everything synched at a coffee shop.

This is my third “borrowed Internet” run.

I really want my computer to have the same photo-set, to manage the photos on computer, ipad and phone and have them synch.

Computer was taking forever (at coffee shop wifi speeds) to download from the cloud to the Photos app on macOS – They’re about to close and I found my missing phone cable (USB C to iPhone).

This may have been a mistake: I plugged my phone into my computer and imported a bunch of the recent photos/videos to the Photos app on the computer – Now my computer has switched from trying to download the photos to uploading them to the cloud (as if they were new!) and I see duplicate thumbnails for everything I just imported.

Why can’t the app “see” that these are the same photos and not duplicate them?


I have other, longer-lasting issues in this area. … I can’t “import all new” items as clicking on the phone, when it is plugged in, shows about 14 duplicates of each one of hundreds of very old photos (one or two iPhones ago), just waiting to be imported and duplicated again.

I really want to use iOS and macOS photos as my “one-true-archive” (especially as the camera I often have in hand IS my iPhone and I love the location-info and the ease of use) but it makes it so hard!

When I get home, is my fix to export all the photos somewhere, wipe my phone, and wipe out all my photos on iCloud?

How do I get them into the iOS Photos apps with only one copy of each thing and preserve all the date/place data?

I’m going to have to hit pause with 463 items pending upload and close up at the coffee shop (not sure if I’ll get to high-speed anything for 4-5 more days).

Frustrated – Thanks for any suggestions and help!


I have the same issue. Wish I had a fix for you, as I’d certainly like to fix mine too.

1 Like

Yeah, me too. Power Photos can help.

1 Like

Looks like you have collected a number of sync hiccups over time that are playing up. These have likely been caused by phone migrations or interrupted syncs. Power Photos can help clean up your library, de-dupe etc. but does not reset the cloud sync perse.


Do you have a lot of faces- and location tagging in your database? because this might create different versions of a photo when there is a sync failure. The picture is exactly the same, but the metadata (and some of it you don’t see in standard screens) is different, thus it presents doubles.

When you get back to fast broadband, I would switch off sync on all devices and clean up your computer database with either Power Photos or just through visual inspection. Create some albums on affected photos to force change having to sync. Once you feel your database is clean switch sync back on and let it play out. this should solve most issues.

If that doesn’t help and you have no real added metadata enhancements in your database, I would download all photos from iCloud to your computer and rebuild the Photos database from scratch by importing them to a new database and then setup up a sync device by device. Once your routine is error-free it should work as advertised.

1 Like

Thank you all for the input so far!

I had not heard of Power Photos and will work with that when I get home!

Not recently, but over time, I have relistened to several of the photos episodes.

Will consider other options for photo management!

Thanks again!

Huge thank yous to all who recommended Power Photos!

It was worth the 30 bucks and then some!!

The tl;dr is:

  • Thank you all re: that Mac app!
  • Is there an app that can fix photos on my phone?
    • When I connect the phone to my MBP via lightning cable, Photos says the phone has 483 “new” photos to import. These are not new. If I import them, they create duplicates in the computer/cloud library.
    • Importing them does not change their “new” flag (or whatever is telling Photos they have not been imported) – Importing them; then deleting the resulting duplicates doesn’t help.

In theory, I can just leave this alone and never import photos into the Photos app via lightning cable.

Would like to fix it though.

Any thoughts?

I do plug the phone in semi-regularly as I have Dropbox set up to grab photos, screen shots, etc. as a back-up.

So, the long-story:

Power Photos


It identified and allowed me to delete more than 5,000 photos from my Photos library and all seems to have synched ok.

Power Photos crunched away for a while and returned (I think) flawless recommendations during the “find duplicates” part – I was amazed because it really figured it out (Essentially, “You have eight of these and this is the one I’ve marked for keeping … You have four of these and this is the one I’ve marked for keeping…”). … Could not find a single instance where it messed up that part.

Deleted the dupes and reduced the library file by many GB!

482 Photos on the phone want to be looked at as “new,” no matter what

My phone remains a problem.

It’s a good news/bad news thing.

Bad news: The Photos app on my MPB continues to see 483 “new” items that it wants me to import. They are not new.

Good news: This is not affecting anything else – the phone is not creating duplicates in the cloud, etc.

In looking on the phone, only one photo seems to be actually duplicated, the rest only show one copy on the phone.

This is a mix of photos, screen shots and JPGs, (etc) I saved from social media/websites. … Has some very old and some relatively new. … Can’t detect any pattern to say, “Ah ha! Only photos where ‘x’ is the case, are causing problems!”

Is there an app that can repair whatever is wrong with either the 482 photos on my phone or whatever else is wrong (on my Mac?) that’s causing the problem?

This happens to me all the time and, like you, I sure wish I knew what was causing it. I just delete them from my phone, but it’s a pain.

1 Like

Do you have control over the photos? I tried another one that was tossing photos I didnt want tossed. I found them in the Trash! There are some photos I want duplicates for.

1 Like

@Katie … Yes. It looked like I could choose to keep as many of the duplicates it identified (I suppose that would allow me to keep versions with different caption data/titles, etc.).

1 Like