Photo Cleaner is a very handy tool that helps you find groups of similar images and photos, so that you can easily identify potential files to remove and free up valuable disk space on your Mac.
The app functions as a standalone app. When you first launch it, you are presented with the Start dialog and introduction message, as seen below. Click the Start button to proceed.
Using the App:
The app has helpful Tips at every stage to help you use the product efficiently (these can be disabled if you tick the disable tips checkbox next to any tip available). Once you’ve clicked Start, you are presented with the select folder stage, as seen below.
Click on ‘Add Folder’ to browse through the folders you wish to add for scanning purposes. Once you have selected a folder, you can click on ‘Choose’ at the bottom right corner and it will be added for scanning. You can add multiple folders to scan at once, should you desire.
Once you have selected folders, the bottom left hand corner of the app window will present you a dropdown which allows you to select matching accuracy, whether Medium, Recommended or Highest, as seen below.
Once you are satisfied with your matching accuracy and the folders you wish to scan, move your mouse to the right hand corner of the app window and select ‘Start Scan’.
The app will now begin scanning. The time required to scan is dependent on how many photos the folder(s) you selected contains. This could range from a few seconds to a number of minutes.
Once the scan is complete, a popup notification will appear on the top right hand corner of your Mac’s screen, showing you how many similar images were found.
You will then proceed to the next stage, showing you the scan’s results. The bottom text on the app window shows you how many similar images were found in a number of groups. The left hand column shows you groups of similar images in thumbnails. Click on each one to open up the similar images within that very group itself.
Similar images within a selected group will appear in the main image screen in the centre of the app window, where you can move and select through each image within that group individually if you desire.
The right hand column of the app window shows you a detailed overview of the visible image on your screen at that time.
Sorting and selecting similar images:
The top left corner of the app window lets you sort and filter through the scan results. You can search manually for certain file names (eg. wedding photos), or you can have the app automatically sort results depending on size and count, in ascending or descending order.
Once you have finished selecting similar individual images/groups of images that you wish to remove, click on ‘Next’ at the bottom right corner of the screen to move on to the final review screen.
EXPERT TIP: If you only wish to keep one image out of a similar group, you can right click on that image file path and select ‘Keep only this image’. This will check all other images in the group for removal.
Deleting similar images:
At the review screen, before proceeding, make sure you verify your selected files. You can uncheck any files you have currently selected at this stage. Note that any checked files will be deleted to your Trash Can by default, but if you have selected the option to instantly delete these from the Preferences menu, then these images will be permanently deleted and will be unrecoverable.
At this stage, you can still go back and select more files to add to your list of photos/images that you want removed. Simply click on the ‘Back’ button at the bottom left hand corner of the screen, and it will take you back to the scan results.
Once your selections have been verified, you can remove them by clicking the ‘Clean’ button on the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
We always recommend you make a Time Machine backup of all your computer’s files on a separate storage device like an External Hard Drive, before proceeding with permanent deleting/altering of system files.
Once you have removed the images in question, you will be presented with a summary screen, an example of which can be seen below. This shows how many similar images were removed and how much space was freed up.
You can access the preferences panel by clicking on the Photo Cleaner text on the top left corner of your Mac’s menubar and selecting Preferences, or simply hitting Cmd + , (command and comma keys) when the app window is open.
In the Preferences panel, you have a range of options to customise the app to your liking.
Move deleted files to Trash: Select this option to move deleted files to Trash (on by default). This means that once files are removed by the app, they appear in your Mac’s Trash. If you unselect this option, then removed files from the app are instantly deleted permanently off your Mac.
Minimum file size to scan for: You can use this option to specify what file sizes you want the app to search for. If you only want really large files, for instance, you can select the dropdown option to MB, and put the minimum file size as 10. This means only files above 10MB will be searched for.
Ignored File Extensions: Manually type in any file extensions that you do not want the app to search for. These could include, for instance, .jpg, .gif, etc.
Ignored Folders: Add (+ button) or remove (- button) any folders from the Finder window that appears. Use this option to ignore folders that you do not want the app to scan. For eg. If you are scanning your Photos folder, and within it you have ‘Graduation’ as an additional folder that you do not want any files removed from, then simply click on the ‘+’ button, add the Graduation folder to the list and it will be ignored from any scanning within the app.
Show tips while using the app: Tick this option if you would like the helpful tips to appear at every stage of the app when you use it.