How to Merge Duplicate Photos on iOS 16/17/18

Many new features come with iOS 16/17/18, and merging duplicate photos in the Photos app on iPhone is one of them. Here in this guide, you will know everything about the new feature and merge duplicate photos on iOS 16/17 successfully.


By Demi / Updated on July 9, 2024

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If you use your iPhone frequently to take and save photos, your photo library is probably clogged with a few duplicate photos. Besides, you may also unconsciously duplicate photos on iPhone.

In the past, you had to rely on apps or manually delete these duplicate photos. Thankfully, Apple has made it much simpler to erase any duplicates taking up unnecessary space on your iPhone since iOS 16.

Apple iOS 16

Here’s how Apple describes the merge duplicate photos feature on iOS 16: “Merging combines relevant data like captions, keywords, and favorites into one photo with the highest quality. Albums that contain merged duplicates are updated with the merged photo.”

The Merge option is made to make it easier to locate the duplicate photo with the best resolution and image quality, which is the one you want to preserve, without having to go through all of your duplicate images manually. While deleting other duplicates, Merge automatically identifies the duplicate image or video with the best quality and keeps it on your device.

Merge Duplicate Photos iOS 16

How can you make use of this powerful new feature to successfully merge duplicate photos on iOS 16? keep reading this guide to learn more about it.

How to Delete/Merge Duplicate photos on iOS 16 and later

After upgrading iOS version to 16, you can directly manage duplicate photos in the Photos app. Optionally, you can choose to filter the duplicates first to let your iPhone show all or only duplicate photos or videos as per your need.

Step 1. Open the Photos app and tap Albums at the bottom of the screen > Scroll down to locate and tap Duplicates under Utilities.

Duplicates Album

Step 2. Tap the 3-dot icon from the upper-right corner > Tap Filter > Choose All Items or Only Show Photos/Videos > Tap Done to confirm.

From the Duplicates albums, you are given two options to manage the duplicate photos, which are ​​​​​Merge​​ and Delete. Follow either of the subsections below depending on your preferences.

Option 1. Merge duplicates
Step 1. Go to the Photos app > Albums > Tap the Duplicates albums.

Step 2. Tap Select > Select all the photos you want to merge > Tap Merge X Duplicates at the bottom. Here, X is the number of duplicates you will have selected.

Merge Duplicate Photos

And that’s it! The selected duplicate items will now be merged on your devices.

Option 2. Delete duplicates
Instead of letting iPhone merge duplicates, you can also choose to delete duplicates you want with almost the same steps.

Just select the duplicate photos you want from the Duplicates albums and click the trashcan icon at the bottom of the screen to delete selected duplicates.

What happens when you merge duplicate photos?

You can take advantage of this useful function to make some space savings while guaranteeing that you don't lose any of your photos. Here are a few commonly asked questions about merging duplicate photos in iOS 16 that should help you get up to date with the latest information.

Will duplicates be removed from the cloud as well?
Yes, duplicates deleted or merged from your iPhone will also be removed from your iCloud Photo Library.

Can you recover duplicate photos or videos?
Yes, like any other deleted photos and videos, the deleted duplicates will be removed to the Recently Deleted album, and you have 30 days to recover the duplicates like what you used to do to recover deleted photos and videos.

Will this remove duplicates from custom albums as well?
Yes, duplicates will be removed from your custom album and deleted as well. To reflect the change while ensuring that the photo is still available in your albums, if you choose to merge your duplicates, the highest quality image still on your device will be uploaded to your custom albums.

Better manage iPhone photos with FoneTool

Indeed, the latest iOS version is attractive to every iOS users for its new features. Merging duplicate photos is far from enough to manage iPhone photos. It is suggested to try FoneTool, a powerful iOS data management tool, to better manage iPhone photos on computer. It also supports iPad and iPod, and works well with iOS 18/17, as well as iOS 16/15/14/13 and former iOS version.

Since the new feature on iOS 16 will not only merge duplicates in the Photos app but also in iCloud Photo Library, if you feel that this feature is not safe enough and has a risk of losing data, you can rely on FoneTool to delete selective duplicate photos and backup photos from iPhone to PC at a time. Let’s take an overview about how to do with FoneTool.

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Delete duplicate photos on iPhone
The function Photos Deduplication helps automatically filter duplicate and similar photos from your iPhone, and you can choose to delete all or some of them without effort.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to computer > Launch FoneTool > Click Toolbox > Choose Photo Deduplication.

Click Photo Deduplication

Step 2. Click Scan iOS Device > Start Scanning. Optionally, you can set the filter date range.

Start Scanning iOS

Step 3. All duplicates and similar photos will be listed in groups in the left pane > Choose some of them and tap Delete to start.

Delete Duplicate Photo

Selectively backup iPhone photos
Different from iCloud or iTunes, with the help of FoneTool, you can be free to backup selective photos from iPhone to computer with three simple steps. And it just takes you 3 seconds to backup 100 photos.

Step 1. Keep connecting your iPhone and computer > Launch FoneTool and click Phone Backup. Go to Selective Backup and click Get Started.

Selective Backup

Warm tip: If you want to edit, manage, view photos on your computer, you can transfer photos to computer by clicking Phone Transfer > iPhone to PC.

Step 2. Click the icon to preview and choose the wanted photos to backup > Click OK to confirm.

Select Pictures

Step 3. Choose a destination to save your backup files > Finally, click Start Backup to begin.

Click On Backup

Before upgrading your iPhone to the latest iOS, you can also utilize FoneTool to full backup iPhone to avoid any data loss.


That’s all for the new feature to merge duplicate photos on iOS 16. After upgrading to the latest iOS, you can delete or merge duplicate photos and videos on iPhone without downloading any apps. You can also make use of FoneTool to better manage your photos as well as other data on iPhone.

Demi · Editor
Demi is an editor of FoneTool group as well as a good advisor in the area of iOS-related issues. She does well in finding solutions to people's problems. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and watching movies. She spends most of her free time with her pet and family.