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Import of Photos from iPhone - Already in iCloud Library #1
john's picture
by john
August 15, 2015 - 8:06am

Photos for OS X is set to keep the originals.

I recently made a trip and during this trip, I opened photos from different years of our family to show to our friends… I was showing these photos to my friends on the iPhone 6+.  I also took pictures while on this trip with the iPhone 6+…    When I got home, I connected my iPhone to the computer and Photos wanted to import the new and old photos.  These old photos already exist in Photos, no edits were done to them while on the phone.  Now I have to remove these and I’m worried that in the future Photos will do the same and unless I am diligent, Photos will make a mess of my library.   

I compared the old photo in Photos and old one that wanted to be imported again and the file name, dates are the same. The only differences were in the “Get Info” area of the Photos version, the description had the word  duplicate(37954) and a keyword of iPhoto Original. Somehow when the photo was downloaded to the iPhone, it must have stripped the keyword and description.  

I thought Photos for OS X was designed to eliminate duplicates, therefore, shouldn’t Photos have seen these were already in my Photos library and not flagged them for import?   Was the keyword and description differences enough to make them look ‘different’ so Photos would want to import them?  If thats the case and the process of downloading the photo into a mobile device ; thereby stripping some meta data, I will always have to deal with these older downloaded photos?  What a pain.  

mikebhm's picture
by mikebhm
August 16, 2015 - 5:25am

Are you using iCloud Photo Library on phone and computer?

I assume not or you would not have needed to connect your phone to your computer when you got back.

I have just come back from holiday with family and I did much as you. I showed earlier photos already on my iPhone 6+ to people while on holiday, and I also took new photos on the iPhone 6+ while on holiday.

When I got home iCloud Photo Library sync’d itself automatically over wifi between iPhone and Mac with no duplicates. I did not connect the phone to the computer.

I have iCloud Photo Library turned on on both phone and Mac. Photo stream is turned off on both (no need for Photostream for me with iCPL turned on).

Perhaps (if I have understood correctly) the way forward for you is either

1. Let iCPL do everything (as I do)


2. If you don’t want to use iCPL, when you connect your iPhone, only select for import the photos you know are new since last import, not chose the default “import all new photos” which seems like it will import the older ones too.

On the this last point, I also used a Sony cam on holiday and and imported directly from its SD card into my MBP. When I connected it each day the “import new photos” option always wanted to import everything off the SD card which is not already in the Photos Lib, including stuff I have previously imported and deleted in Photos. (I don’t wipe the card after each import so the card has lots of old stuff on it). So I always looked through the thumbnails on the import screen for what I knew is actually new since last connection. Doesn’t add much time, just find the earliest new one and select all after that.

But I still don’t understand why Photos wanted to reimport your old ones when you had done no edits (although you also said keyword and description had changed? not sure I understand that)

john's picture
by john
August 16, 2015 - 7:36am

Hi, thank you for your response. 

Are you using iCloud Photo Library on phone and computer?

     Yes, I have iCPL enabled everywhere, with Originals stored on Mac, the others are optimize for iPhone/iPad.  I’m not sure why, when I connect the iPhone to my computer the Photos app opens with the import dialog and it stated it wanted to import 158 photos, most of which were the older photos I had opened on the iPhone while away on vacation to show family/friends. These photos had been on my iPhone for at least a day before connecting my phone to the computer. 

I’m not sure where the word duplicate came from in the description, it either had to be iPhoto or Aperture, when I replaced iPhoto. Its nothing I would have written into the description of a picture.  Of the 68,000 photos, 2,200 have this description.  I’m going through these to see if I do have duplicates in my Photos library and remove them.




mikebhm's picture
by mikebhm
August 16, 2015 - 7:44am

You can stop Photos from opening when you connect the iPhone, but anyway not clear why are you manually importing from the iPhone, when you have iCPL enabled which will do it as well?

In the early days of Photos I was using Aperture in parallel. I can’t remember exactly the issue but I had Photostream enabled as well and I got duplicates. Can’t remember if the word duplicate appeared anywhere.

Since completely cutting loose from Aperture and turning off Photostream I have not had duplicate problems.

john's picture
by john
August 16, 2015 - 7:56am


Yes, I switched off the open on connect function in Photos, I never used this feature in Aperture either.  

As for importing from the iPhone into Photos, its Photos that shows the Import button at the top of the screen. If I go there, I can choose either my iPad or iPhone.  When I select the iPhone, it has the “Import All New Pictures” shown and the 158 pictures are the ones shown under new photos.  Even today, when I look at it, it shows the same thing.  Even after importing them the other day.  If my photos were really new, then since Friday (last photo taken on iPhone) my phone has been in my wifi and connected for 2 days, I would have expected them to be imported already via iCPL.  

As I stated, I imported these 158 already…. I would have expected them to go away from the import area and not be identified as ‘new’.  In Aperture/iPhoto, after importing photos from my iPhone, the import dialog would not show again.  Only after taking some new photos would the import show again.


mikebhm's picture
by mikebhm
August 16, 2015 - 8:16am

I agree it shouldn’t be offering to import them if it has already downloaded them by wifi. But you don’t have to do any importing, you can just ignore.

I just connected my iPhone 6+ and opened Photos. When I click on the “iPhone 6+” under “Import” heading in the side bar it shows two groups of thumbnails for potential import.

1. “Already imported (2329 items)”, then the thumbnails of the first and last few with option to “show all”.

2. “New Photos (10 photos)”, which are a bit of a mystery as they are Sony pics previously imported and now deleted, but will have been on the iPhone at some stage?? 

Do you have Photostream checked on Mac or iPhone? As I said this has caused me duplicates in the past, though I can’t remember all the factors.

john's picture
by john
August 16, 2015 - 8:53am


No, I have Photostream shut off.  All my devices are using the iCPL, so no need for Photostream.  

I’ve looked in my phone and iCPL, and nowhere is there an option to delete these photos, I’ll just ignore them and see if this is fixed in the next upcoming release.

Again, thanks for your time and input into my issue.

Philippe's picture
by Philippe
September 20, 2015 - 1:15am

In Safari, go to (Albums, All Photos), and click on ‘Select Photos’ in the top menu bar. Select the photos you wish to delete. Click on the Delete button in the top menu bar.

elio hammer's picture
by elio hammer
November 26, 2018 - 7:39pm

Import iMac photos using iCloud / import to PC
iCloud Photo
With iCloud Photos, you can access photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, and even your PC. Your latest photos are automatically added to your iCloud photos, and any organizational changes or edits you make are always the most recent photos on all your devices.
Before you start:
Make sure the software on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV is up to date.
Set up iCloud on all devices. If you have a PC, download iCloud for Windows. Make sure you’re signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all devices.
Make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi.
Open iCloud photo:
On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos and open iCloud photos.
On your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Click the “Options” button next to “Photos” and select “iCloud Photos.”
On Apple TV, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud Photos.
On your PC, follow the steps to set up iCloud Photos.
If you’ve synced photos from iTunes to your iOS device and then open iCloud photos on your iOS device, you’ll see a message “Delete photos and videos synced in iTunes.” Photos and videos that you sync from your computer will remain on your computer, but they will be removed from your iOS device.
You can open iCloud photos on your Mac or PC and restore them to your iOS device. When you do this, the photos on your computer are uploaded to iCloud so you can access them on all your devices. After opening the iCloud photo, all photos are in iCloud and can be accessed via the photo app on your Mac or a folder on your PC.
You can get more help with iCloud Photos on your Mac or PC.

elio hammer's picture
by elio hammer
November 28, 2018 - 1:52am

I found a post telling about how to import photos from iPhone to computer, maybe you can have a check. up to you.

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