Find and delete similar and bad photos on Macs: Free up space

No matter how good cameras become, we still manage to take bad photos occasionally. You probably have a few in your photo collection on Apple Mac. Use Ccleaner to find them and delete them.

We all take bad photos from time to time and they may be blurred, too dark or washed out. Fortunately, it is becoming harder to take a bad photo because cameras are getting smarter at taking good photos. They can correctly set the exposure, saturation, focus, shutter speed, aperture and other things. All we have to do is to point the camera and tap a button.

Mostly, things go wrong and photos are less than stellar when we experiment with manual settings. If you try to adjust the exposure, shutter speed and apperture yourself, perhaps to get creating with your photos, sometimes the results are not quite what we envisioned.

Unlike the days of film cameras where every shot cost you money, digital and phone cameras take photos for free. You can take several shots in quick succession and choose to keep the best one later. It costs nothing and there is more chance of taking a good photo, even if it is just accidentally, as in my case. For this reason, you may have lots of very similar photos in your collection.

If you have bad and similar photos stored on your Mac, they are just wasting space. You could, of course, browse your photos and find and delete them yourself. However, there are utilities that can automatically find bad photos and they could save you a lot of time and effort. Move the bad photos to the trash and they could recover storage space too.

Ccleaner cleanup utility for Apple Mac
Ccleaner has features for analyzing photos

Ccleaner is best known as a Windows cleanup utility, but what you may not realize is that there is a version of the app for the Apple Mac and it also has some useful features for freeing up space on the disk that is occupied by photos. Ccleaner can find duplicate and similar photos, and this enables you to free up space.

I looked at Mac utilities to find duplicate files a while back I showed how to Find duplicate photos in the Photos library on Apple Mac. Here I will look at Ccleaner’s Analyse Photos feature. This finds similar photos and bad photos.

Scan for bad and similar photos with Ccleaner

Choose the folders to scan in Ccleaner
Select the folders to scan for bad photos

Click the Find button in the Analyze photos section of the home screen and you can choose which folders to scan for bad and similar photos. Both internal and external storage is supported.

Although you can select your home folder and your Photos Library is stored in it, Ccleaner cannot access photos in Photos Library. This is a major limitation and it only scans ordinary folders.

Some people do not use the Photos Library and prefer to keep photos in folders elsewhere, perhaps even on a separate drive. Some keep photographers have tens or hundreds of gigabytes of photos on external drives. Ccleaner is useful for them, it is not useful for people that use the Photos app to store their photos.

Photo scan results

Bad and similar photos found by Ccleaner on the Apple Mac
Bad and similar photos found by Ccleaner

A summary of the scan results is displayed. It hasn’t found many on my Mac because my photos are in the Photos Library. I copied some to other folders to test Ccleaner. You can review bad photos or similar photos.

View and delete bad photos

Bad photos found by Ccleaner on the Apple Mac
Bad photos found by Ccleaner

I took some bad photos to see if Ccleaner would find them and it did. You might consider a pin-sharp picture of you showing all your wrinkles and awful haircut is bad, but that is not what Ccleaner is looking for. It looks for things like bad exposure, blurry images, and other things. You can review the photos and select them for deletion.

I fiddled with the phone camera settings in manual mode to take some bad photos, making them too dark and even shaking the phone as I took the photos (auto camera settings rarely take bad photos).

The free version of Ccleaner will not delete bad photos. However, you can view them and click a button to open Finder with the file selected. It is then a simple matter to send it to the Trash. Pay for Ccleaner (£19.95 in the UK, $29.95 in the US), and you can select and delete photos from within the app.

View and delete similar photos

Similar photos on the Apple Mac found by Ccleaner
Duplicate photos found on the disk

Similar photos can be viewed in the same way. Click the button on the scan results screen and thumbnails are displayed. The photos that are found may be duplicates or they may just be similar. Look at these for example:

Similar photos found by Ccleaner on the Apple Mac
Similar photos found by Ccleaner

These are all different photos and some are very different, such as looking to the left and the right, but Ccleaner still found them. This is quite a clever feature. You can manually select photos you don’t want or let Ccleaner automatically select them.

As with bad photos, Ccleaner free will not delete photos, but a Finder window can be opened with the file selected in just two clicks of the mouse. You can then manually delete the similar photo. Pay for Ccleaner and deleting similar photos can be done within the app.


Not being able to scan your Photos Library is a major drawback and Ccleaner’s photo cleanup tools are only for people that store their photos in folders and drives on the internal or external drive. A lot of people prefer this and if you are one, you should try Ccleaner.

The free version of the app can be used to find and delete bad photos and similar photos, but you must do it manually through Finder. Auto-selecting and deleting photos from within the app is a paid feature. However, the app is reasonably priced.

Leave a Reply