How to delete duplicates in Google Photos

Google Photos has definitely improved in many ways over the years but, what users most commonly critic is library organization and management. Google doesn’t shy away from discontinuing really well-built services (Google Play Music, anyone?) and miss to add the best features in the replacement service. The prime example is Picassa. Now, you can edit photos and videos in Google Photos, create Shared Albums, group faces, and utilize great AI-powered Search. What Google Photos can’t do is identify duplicates. To locate and delete duplicates in Google Photos, you’ll have to do things by hand. Learn more about it below.

Why are all my photos duplicated in Google Photos?

Google Photos deals with duplicates on its own and usually won’t upload multiple instances of the same photo or video. It uses metadata to identify photos and unless the same photo comes from different sources and with different metadata, you’ll never see duplicates in Google Photos. There might be two or more photos that look completely the same but the metadata is probably different. That’s why you see them in your Library.

Yes, if you look it up online, there were instances when Google Photos uploaded the same images and videos twice due to an error on Android Beta. Luckily, the problem was fixed by itself for all affected users. On the other hand, if you do end up with duplicates in (same or really similar look, different metadata) Google Photos, there’s no built-in tool to delete them en masse. You need to navigate through your library by hand and delete duplicates on your own.

This isn’t exactly convenient and users are asking for a tool that, just like the one in Files by Google, identifies and allows you to delete duplicates. That’s not an option at the moment and we highly doubt it will ever be. There are some online third-party tools that allegedly provide this functionality but we don’t suggest giving access to your Photos Library or Google Account to questionable services. Another great thing about Picassa was the way it placed the duplicate photos side-by-side. Not the case with Google Photos.

How to find and delete duplicates in Google Photos

So what are your options? Firstly, check the Backup Device folders. Apps like Instagram can save posted images. If you already have the same photo in Camera Roll, it’ll get duplicated. Here’s how to check which device folders are backed up:

  1. On your phone, open Google Photos.
  2. Tap on the account at the top right corner and select Photos settings.
  3. Choose Back up & sync.
  4. Select Back up device folders from the bottom.How to delete duplicates in Google Photos
  5. Disable folders you don’t want to back up in order to prevent possible duplicates.

The thing that remains is to locate the duplicates that are already backed up by hand. The easiest way to do it is in Google Photos for the Web on your PC. That way you’ll get a better overlook than on a smaller smartphone screen. Navigate to Google Photos for the web and just go through the library.

Based on everything at the user’s disposal, Google Photos are a quite good cloud backup service and not ideal when it comes to organizing your photos. Especially when compared to discontinued Picassa. If you have an option to transfer phone photos to your PC, organize them there, and upload them to the web client or with Drive for Desktop — you should definitely take that approach.

Finally, you always have an option to download all photos to your PC and then delete everything from the library. Once you sort them out manually or with third-party software, you can re-upload them back. This can take a lot of time and effort but, there are not many alternatives.

You can use Google Photos Takeout on your Google Account Management console to get all your photos fast. And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below.

What are some features that you miss on Google Photos? Tell us below.

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