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How to Find Duplicates in Google Photos

Posted by Arch on October 1, 2019
How to Find Duplicates in Google Photos

If you’re something of a shutter bug, it can be pretty easy to max out your phone’s internal storage. For some, even an SD card isn’t enough to handle all of the pictures. That’s where backing up to the cloud comes in, so that you can store your images online, freeing up more space for the future snaps.

Google Photos is one of the more popular cloud options for storing pictures, with 15GB of free storage and the ability to automatically back up all of your pictures. Occasionally, though, you might find that you’ve got duplicate photos taking up your precious cloud storage space. So, what can you do to fix it, and why does it happen?

Why Do Pictures Get Duplicated on Google Photos?

Google loves its AI and algorithms. It has a special one that detects every image’s unique hash code to ensure that exactly identical pictures don’t get uploaded twice. However, if you’ve made any changes to the photo, its hash code will change, and so it will be uploaded again. Changes also include cropping, editing, adding stickers, and once you’ve made the change, Google Photos will treat it as an entirely new image.

Another reason why duplicates happen is thanks to Google’s retirement of Picasa in 2016. All images uploaded using that app were automatically migrated to Google Photos. The problem is that these photos don’t trigger the anti-duplication algorithm, meaning that you might end up with a large number of duplicated pictures.

google photos

How to Find Duplicate Photos

Unfortunately, there isn’t an automatic way to find duplicated images in Google Photos, so you will have to find them yourself. There used to be a few apps that could handle it for you, but since Google separated the Google Drive and Google Photos storages in July 2019, they now only work for Google Drive.

Fortunately, Google Photos arranges the images by the date that they were uploaded, which generally does make it easier to find ones that have been duplicated. So, here’s how to do the job yourself:

On a Desktop Computer

  1. Open up your web browser.
  2. Enter google.com into the address bar or click the link.
  3. Click on the Photos tab to the top left of the window.
    photos
  4. Scroll through your photos until you find a duplicate that you want to get rid of.
  5. Hover your cursor over the image, then click on the small blue check mark that appears to the top left of the photo. You can select more than one image to delete if you need to.
    select
  6. Click on the Trash icon at the top right of the white bar that appears after clicking the Check Mark icon.
    delete
  7. Click on the Move to trash button on the confirmation pop up.

On a Mobile Device

  1. Open the Google Photos app from your phone’s home screen.
  2. Tap Photos at the bottom left of the screen.
  3. Tap on the Menu button at the top right of the screen.
  4. Tap on either Select or Select photos.
  5. Tap on the duplicate photos that you want to delete. When you select them, a blue check mark will appear to the top left of each photo.
  6. Tap on the Trash icon at the top right of the screen.
  7. Tap on Remove on the confirmation pop up that appears.

This method will remove the images from your Google Photos storage, placing them in the trash. Images that have been moved to the trash will stay there for 60 days, so if you make a mistake and delete the wrong image, you can restore it in that time frame.

Stop Copying Me!

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it used to be to get rid of duplicate images. However, Google has implemented their duplication detection algorithm to try and ensure that identical images don’t get uploaded twice. If you’ve found a quicker way of finding and removing duplicates from Google Photos, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

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