Stop Duplicate Photos on iPhone

How to Stop Duplicate Photos on Your iPhone

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Written by Mako Young Mako Young Contributing Writer • 19 articles Mako Young, also known as J. Robertson Macaulay Young, is a contributing writer for Handy Recovery, having fully joined the project in early 2022 as a macOS expert, a title he continues to hold up to date. Since then, he has been dedicated to creating data recovery and storage optimization guides for Apple devices. LinkedIn

Are you tired of seeing duplicate photos cluttering your iPhone’s storage? These can take up valuable space and make it difficult for you to manage your image library.


In this article, we will discuss why duplicate iPhone photos appear and provide effective methods to stop duplicate photos on iPhone. Whether you are using any model of iPhone, or running in any iOS, these methods can help you optimize your photo collection.

Why Do Duplicate iPhone Photos Appear?

Duplicate photos can sneak into your iPhone for various reasons:

  • 🧷 Manual/accidental duplication: There are instances that you accidentally create duplicate photos by tapping the capture button repeatedly or saving an image multiple times.
  • 📦 Importing from multiple sources: Importing photos from different devices or services can lead to duplicates if not appropriately managed.
  • 🪄 iCloud synchronization: While iCloud Photo Library is convenient, it can cause duplicates if not configured correctly on your settings.
  • 💾 Restoring from backups: Restoring your iPhone from a backup might reintroduce duplicate photos if the backup contains such copies.
  • 📲 Third-party app usage: Using third-party photo editing or management apps can result in duplicate images, especially when saving edited versions alongside with the original version.
  • 💥 Burst mode: When you take photos in burst mode, this can result in multiple similar shots being saved on your iPhone, some of which might be considered duplicates.

How to Stop Your iPhone from Duplicating Photos

There are several methods to stop your iPhone from duplicating photos, and most of them you can do by configuring your iPhone’s settings. Read on below to know more.

Method 1: Disable Automatic Synchronization with iCloud

By disabling iCloud Photos, you gain more control over your photo syncing and can avoid potential duplication issues. Remember that this method prevents automatic synchronization, so you must manually manage your photo backups and transfers.

Follow these steps below to prevent photo duplication on your iCloud settings:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on your Apple ID at the top of the Settings menu.
  3. To access your iCloud Settings, scroll down and select iCloud.
  4. Tap on Photos from the iCloud on icloud
  5. Switch off the toggle next to iCloud Photos. switch off sync icloud photos

Method 2: Turn Off Auto HDR

HDR is an iPhone feature that takes several photos in different exposures and blend them together. This is turned on by default. But if you want to turn it off, you can definitely do so.


Note: Starting with the iPhone 13 and subsequent models, the ability to manually turn off HDR for photos directly from the camera settings has been removed. However, you can still manage HDR settings for already captured photos by navigating to Settings > Photos.

For iPhone XS, XR, 11, SE (2nd generation), and iPhone 12:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Camera. go to settings and camera
  3. Toggle off Smart HDR. go to camera and find hdr

For older iPhones such as iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Camera.
  3. Toggle off Auto HDR.

Additional Note: for iPhone X and older, you can save the non-HDR version. Just go to Settings > Camera > turn on Keep Normal Photo. However, this is not recommended especially if you want to save up on storage.

Method 3: Don’t Save Original Photos After Editing

When you edit a photo on using the Photos app, your iPhone will replace the original photo with the edited version instead of keeping a copy of both. But, you can always revert back to original.

However, if you edit the photo using third-party apps, that can lead to creation of duplicate images stored on your camera roll. Often times, third-party apps don’t replace the original photos by the edited version so you have to manually delete the original photos after editing. But, you can also check the settings of the third-party photo editing app that you’re using to see if there’s an option to fix the problem with duplicating photos.

To manually delete the original photos after editing, do the following steps:

  1. Go to Photos.
  2. Look for the original photo that was edited.
  3. Select the photo and tap the trash can icon on the lower-left part of the screen.

Additionally, you can also check if iPhone marked the images as duplicates. iPhone will tag photos under Duplicates folder if they are copies with different metadata.

To view, do the following steps:

  1. Open Photos app.
  2. Under Utilities, click Duplicates.
  3. Click Merge. merging photos
  4. Then, click Merge Exact Copies to confirm. merging two exact copies

Method 4: Avoid Using Multiple Sync & Backup Methods

Preventing photo duplicates caused by conflicting sync and backup methods involves streamlining your approach.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Choose a primary method. Select one main service for syncing and backing up your photos, such as iCloud, Google Photos, or Dropbox.
  2. Assess other services or methods you might have set up for photo backups. Disconnect any overlapping or redundant methods.
  3. Prioritize consistency. Stick to your chosen primary method to prevent data conflicts and duplicated photos.

By centralizing your syncing and backup approach, you minimize the chances of photo duplicates resulting from multiple, overlapping methods.

Method 5: Backup Your Photos Manually

Backing up your photos manually on your computer or external hard drive instead of using automatic synchronization can sometimes help stop iPhone from duplicating photos.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Launch a File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac). Open the appropriate file management tool on your computer.
  3. In the file explorer or Finder, locate and select your iPhone’s name under Devices or Locations.
  4. To copy photos, navigate to the folder where your photos are stored. Select and copy the photos you want to back up.
  5. Navigate to a folder on your computer where you want to save the photos and paste them there.

You have more control over the process and can avoid the automatic synchronization that sometimes leads to duplicates when you back up your photos manually. This method ensures that you transfer your photos without creating unnecessary copies on your iPhone.

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Photos

Despite the fact that third-party apps can’t get an iPhone to stop duplicate photos, there some apps could be configured to wipe duplicates as a background process.

Some significant features of these apps include photo library scanning to detect and delete screenshots, selfies, large videos, live photos, similar pictures, burst photos, and blurred images. They analyze content, file names, and metadata to pinpoint duplicates, allowing you to review and delete them. They also have AI-powered features, such as removing photos taken with closed eyes.


We created a more detailed list on the best apps to delete duplicate photos on iPhone. But of the options that we recommend are Cleaner for iPhone and Photo Cleaner – Album Organizer, both available for iOS devices for free.


Duplicate photos on your iPhone can arise because of different factors. Some of these are accidental duplication, importing from multiple sources, iCloud synchronization, backup restoration, and third-party app usage. If you are also taking multiple shots of the same thing, this may also lead to having duplicate photos.

Yes, using iCloud Photo Library can potentially result in duplicate photos. If not configured correctly or if there are synchronization issues, iCloud may unintentionally create duplicate copies of your photos across devices. It’s important to ensure proper settings and synchronization to avoid such duplicates and keep your photo library organized.

Yes, third-party photo management apps can contribute to creating duplicate photos. When using these apps for editing, organizing, or transferring images, they may save edited versions separately, leading to duplicates. To avoid having duplicates, you can change your settings to stop saving original photos after editing.


By following these methods and understanding the reasons behind duplicate photos, you can declutter your iPhone’s photo collection and prevent future duplication. Taking control of your syncing and backup methods and leveraging helpful tools will ensure your photo library remains organized and duplicates-free.

About article
Contributing Writer Mako Young

This article was written by Mako Young, a Contributing Writer at Handy Recovery Advisor.

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