Deleting duplicate images in Lightroom

Hi all,
Wondering what the best way is to delete duplicate images in LR. I’ve searched and found some plugins that sounded good, but most are for older operating systems. Most of my duplicates are cell phone images. Even tho’ I always check ‘don’t import suspected duplicates’, somehow many cell phone images snuck through. What is the easiest way to identify and delete them? I’m on a MacBook Pro running Big Sur 11.13.1. Thanks!
Christal Steele

Hi Christal,

I’ve never found a particularly “easy” way, although my method is pretty straight forward. I usually find that my duplicate files have a naming convention that is pretty consistent and easy to spot. For example if I had an image called “IMG_01314.jpg” it’s duplicate is usually “IMG_01314-2.jpg” or something similar, and all of the other duplicate files also end in “-2.”

If this is true for you, you can simply create a Smart Collection, or just use the library filter bar to search for “-2” and you should see only the duplicates. Obviously you want to actually check that each file truly is a duplicate, but this can get you started.

I hope that helps! I’d be interested to hear your results with a plugin as well so keep us posted on the progress!


Another scenario that can create duplicates is when you shoot dual formats such as RAW + JPEG. If the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” box is checked which is under the menu setting Edit > General > Import Options you will see both images side-by-side in Lightroom. IF this box IS NOT checked both files will be retained on your hard drive but Lightroom will only show one image and I never determined how to delete one format without deleting the other. I keep this box checked so that I can easily delete the second format if I don’t want it.

Hi Forest, and thanks for your response. I’m just getting back to check. That’s certainly one way of doing it, but as you said, I’ll still need to check to make sure each image is truly a duplicate. I still anticipate this taking some time to do. The thing is…with only my cell phone images, the files do not have a -2 after them. For instance one image has a title of IMG_0472 and the exact same duplicate image has a different title of IMG_0472 22-34-26. I’ve never understood why this happens. The only thing I can figure is that I switched from an Android phone to an i-phone, and maybe something weird happened there. But with such disparate numbers for the 2 identical images, even an app designed for finding duplicates is unlikely to work. Looks like I’m just going to have to do this the painstakingly slow way! :slight_smile:

Randall, thanks for your reply! I actually never shoot in the dual mode. I only shoot RAW. Actually, sometimes I don’t need to shoot RAW, but I’m afraid that if I change over to jPeg for some incidental shooting, then I’ll forget to change back over to RAW for the important stuff. So I’ve just always shot in RAW.