Review: Overmacs PhotoSweeper

by on April 22, 2014

If you’re like me, your digital photo library may span years—even decades. Although programs like iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom try to help with keeping photos organized, multiple cameras types, accidental extra imports, and even simple file duplications are bound to happen. While some tools are included in these programs for sorting and finding duplicates, PhotoSweeper by Overmacs is a $10 utility that hopes to make the process even easier.

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Upon launch, the user is presented with a window where photos can be dragged and dropped from either a location on your computer or using the built-in browsing tool to load items from a library. As I use an iPhoto Library to store my photos (although actually used with Aperture), this was a piece of cake. Once all the photos were selected, you can figure out the way to match with some criteria: Bitmap (the pictures have similar pixels), Histogram (similar lighting and colors), Time Interval (if you snapped photos at the same time), or a combination of these. If you mix two, the results will be a little more accurate. You can also fine-tune the match amounts, so include photos that are similar versus identical matches. This would be useful when you took three photos of the same thing in succession. Once you set the parameters, a “Compare” button starts the process.

Once processed (which is surprisingly fast for thousands of photos), the program offers to mark duplicate photos automatically. This simply highlights which ones will be kept and which ones will be selected to be deleted. Checking through the results yielded satisfactory options. Most duplicates were pretty obvious, while some were similar photos that were taken almost immediately after another. You can view them as Face-to-Face (duplicates are showed as a large view next to each other) or a Group List. The file names are displayed so you can be certain the photos original purpose. At this point, duplicates can be unmarked or the marked items can be sent to the Trash.

What is nice is that PhotoSweeper can be quite powerful, but also very approachable and user-friendly. It gives you enough options to keep a power user happy, but also walks through each step to make sure that you’re only deleting what you really want.

With the newest version, PhotoSweeper includes support for Adobe DNG files, as well as the ability to lock photos for only comparison purposes. The browser itself has also gotten the feature to search for photos directly based on criteria.

If we had to find something to fault PhotoSweeper about, it’s that there is a bit of a learning curve to get it to find just the right results. With a few adjustments and trial-and-error, it starts to make sense and really demonstrates its power.

For a very reasonable price of $10, PhotoSweeper may not be a tool that you use daily, but it does a nice job of tidying up a photo library or even a project folder in the age of photos coming to your Mac in a number of different ways. Whether your photos come in through a camera, SD card, iCloud Photo Stream, other Internet service, or a phone, PhotoSweeper will make sure you’re not wasting drive space on duplicates.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

PhotoSweeper is quick, inexpensive, and offers the ability to find similar photos, not just exact duplicates.

Pros: Plenty of options, fast

Cons: Slightly learning curve to get results

The Facts

4.5/5Product: PhotoSweeper
Company: Overmacs Team
Platform: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Price: $9.99 App Store Link

This post has been filed in Mac Apps and Reviews