How does iCloud Photos manage duplicates?

tibi08

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 17, 2007
703
75
Brighton, UK
I want to understand how iCloud Photo Library handles duplicates - for example, if I have some old photos on both my iPhone and Mac, on which both I enabled iCloud photos, then does iCloud somehow match these and avoid duplication?

I found the attached explanation on iMore.com:
The Photos app will check for duplicates during import, like iPhoto or Aperture. And if you have iCloud Photo Library enabled, iCloud will check periodically for any duplicated content and unify it server-side.

There unfortunately appears to be no way to check for duplicates after import with in the app itself, however.
Is that really true? Does anyone have any more info? I'm sure I do have some duplicates in my library, but not consistently so there does seem to be a form of duplicate checking somewhere.
 

djbuu

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2015
88
8
I put in a call to Apple for this very reason and it had to be escalated to a Senior advisor (really bright guy). I'm working with him now but he didn't have an immediate answer.

My issue is similar. I have an iMac with all my photos on it. I also have an iPhone with photos on it. I used to sync my phone and iMac so there is overlap in the library.

My iMac uploaded all files to the cloud. About a week later, I turned on iCloud Photo Sharing on my phone. Well it ALSO wants to upload everything to the cloud, even duplicates!! I have a huge library so this is taking forever (days).

To make matters worse, I got a new MacBook and migrated my photos to the MacBook from the iMac. Now even that device wants to upload everything again even though it's already been done.

Your snippet of info gives me hope that duplication will be eliminated sever side but it seems not until a crazy arduous process of uploading everything first.
 

tibi08

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 17, 2007
703
75
Brighton, UK
I suppose it's logical that iCloud cannot work on duplicates until they are uploaded.... so although the upload process is irritating, if there is server side duplicate matching then that probably is the best we can hope for. I just wonder how good that server side matching actually is...
 

djbuu

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2015
88
8
I suppose it's logical that iCloud cannot work on duplicates until they are uploaded.... so although the upload process is irritating, if there is server side duplicate matching then that probably is the best we can hope for. I just wonder how good that server side matching actually is...
Except its incredibly stupid to do it this way. An Index file of the entire library must be created at some point and uploaded to the server which will determine what to upload and what not to. I'm only speculating but this process makes the most sense.

To upload individually honestly seems insane to me.
 

piratemc74

macrumors member
Jul 15, 2008
52
0
Holly Springs, NC
Duplicates don't appear to be going away

I've had my photos library in iCloud library for some time now. All my devices are set to use iCloud library, with only my iMac also storing locally. I have noticed that I see duplicates, here and there. I'm guessing, from the original import, and perhaps from iCloud Shared library? Dunno.... but, don't think iCloud is compressing duplicates behind the scenes... there appear to be different meta-data. I'll repost when I get a better handle on it...
 

soanis

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2013
116
138
Europe
Any update you care to share? I was unloading photos from my 5s to my Lion Macbook to save space but ever since iOS 10 and no more syncing between the 2 I was kinda forced to buy the 50GB option. Now I was wondering if I could upload the photos that are only present on my laptop, thing is it would be too hard to handpick them.
 
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