Good Design: Duplicate Cleaner for iPhoto

design, mac, tech

Duplicate Cleaner for iPhotoLast Thursday, I talked a bit about how I stupidly deleted all of my family photos and how I got them back. Luckily for me, my saga continues. I have my photos. I am very happy about that. But, as I mentioned before, they’re all a huge mess. Before I lost them, I had all of my photos very well-organized. They were all sorted out in folders, by year, month, and day. This was a great organization system, I thought.

The recovery process revealed a flaw in my thinking, though. When Data Rescue saved all my files, it didn’t do anything to preserve the folder hierarchy I had established. All it returned were the photos with their file names, which I’d never added any identifying information to. So now, the majority of my photos are simply titled “Unknown,” and have an arbitrary number as a file name. They are all mixed up.

To make matters worse, for a lot of the photos, there are duplicates. This is because I deleted two backups in my cleaning efforts and restored the contents of both. Navigating through the 41 folders Data Rescue returned was tricky, as the duplicate photos had no organization, and all the images were scattered around in different places. The first thing I did was to import them all into iPhoto so that I could tackle the problem visually. Once that was done, I began to fully grasp the scope of the work that was ahead of me. Before I could reorganize, I needed to get rid of those duplicates.

I searched around online for a tool that would assist me in doing that job. After investigating a few different options, I decided to try out Duplicate Cleaner for iPhoto, an app that worked with my existing software and claimed to do exactly what I needed. The reviews concerned me a bit, but the price was right (free), so I downloaded it and gave it a shot.


The Good

Much to my surprise, it worked pretty fast. My iPhoto library contains roughly 30,000 photos. Within an hour, it had them all scanned and had grouped all the duplicates (more than 7,000) together. It provided them all visually in a list and, for each pair, allowed me to select which of the two I’d rather get rid of. For some of my more recent photos (the ones that were saved on my laptop prior to the deletion mishap), the date was preserved as the title. The app allowed me to opt to save all of those in one fell swoop so that I didn’t have to go through and manually select the photos I wanted to keep; it just deleted half of them. It made the process fast and easy- all I had to do was select the photos and click the big button to send the duplicates to the trash.

The user interface is very simple and clean. This is a tool that does a specific thing and does it well. I appreciated the one-click nature of most of the functions, as well as the few options available in the app’s toolbar. Once the app is running, it gives a snapshot of what it’s doing, as well as how many photos you’re getting rid of. I also liked that it automatically calculated how much drive space was being freed by the deletion.

The Bad

While my experience with the app was overwhelmingly positive, it wasn’t all perfect. The first thing I noticed was that the app seems to be really resource heavy. Almost immediately, my laptop heated up, which is something I’m not used to. At one point, I heard the fan going, which was the first time I’d ever heard that happen. Along the same lines, my battery drained super fast when the app was in use. The battery depletion was greater than when I use the computer to watch movies.

Lastly, there is one UI flaw with the app. Along the bottom, it advertises another product alongside its “Send Feedback” link. Considering that this app is free, I can’t really complain too much about it being in some small way ad-supported. But I guess I will anyway. It makes the nice design a little uglier.

Concluding Remarks

For my needs and for my computer, this app was a solid piece of design. It did exactly what I needed it to in a mostly unobtrusive way. I had no problems using it and will likely use it again in the future.

That concludes step two in my photo restoration journey.


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