Photosweeper: Take Charge of Your Photos and Free Up Disk Space

For many of us, our computer’s hard drive has become a vast repository of digital images. Everyday, we snap photos with our smartphones and digital cameras which are then deposited into countless folders. But let’s face it, when our hard drives start to get full, who enjoys the tedious process of navigating these folders searching for duplicates files and miscued shots? How often do we pause and ask ourselves, “Do I really need all 12 shots of that coffee table?”

Organizing and tidying up our photo libraries can be a time consuming project, one that some of us may never embark upon. Fortunately, getting a handle on this task has been made significantly easier. Enter Photosweeper, a robust photo organizing application that will assist in cleaning up and putting in order any photo collection. Whether it’s a hundred megabytes or dozens of gigabytes, Photosweeper will quickly and effectively sort images and help reduce the size of your collection, resulting in more usable disk space.


Photosweeper employs a single screen interface that is both visually appealing and extremely functional. All of the application’s tools and features can be accessed from this one place. There is no hopping back and forth between screens.

Photosweeper's Single Screen Interface

Photosweeper's Single Screen Interface

Selecting Your Photos:

After firing up Photosweeper, the first order of business is to add a photo collection in need of some housekeeping. Photos can be added in a couple of ways: clicking the “Add Photo” icon from the toolbar, or dragging and dropping photos directly from the Finder. Photosweeper also supports adding photos directly from iPhoto and Aperture, which is a huge plus for those using either of these two applications. Photos added from iPhoto and Aperture are tagged with a small green ribbon, a nice touch in helping to identify the source of these images. The developers at Overmacs state that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom support will be included in a future update.

Import photos from the Finder, iPhoto or Aperture

Import photos from the Finder, iPhoto or Aperture

Setting the Filters:

So you’ve added some images to Photosweeper, now what? It’s time to define and fine-tune some of Photosweeper’s initial settings used in the filtering and sorting process. The next step here is to set the parameters for the file format and image size to be included in the comparison process. This is accomplished in the “File Settings” area of the application. By default, Photosweeper will include all supported file formats of any size when filtering images. Of course, these settings can be redefined to suit one’s needs. By the way, Photosweeper supports an impressive 42 file formats.

Configuring Photosweeper's File Settings

Configuring Photosweeper's File Settings

The Compare Settings:

Toggling over to the application’s “Compare Settings” area brings up the next group of settings to be defined in the filtering process. Photosweeper utilizes six methods for comparing photos, each method with its own set of filters. Because Photosweeper creates a bitmap of each photo during the comparison process, it’s OK to jump back and forth between comparison methods to see which method yields the best results for you. Your comparison results will not be lost.

The developers of the app suggest the “Duplicates Only” method as good starting place when cleaning up a photo collection. When this method is used, Photosweeper will compare only photos with identical content regardless of the file name or other meta data. When selecting the “Time + Bitmap” method, Photosweeper will make comparisons based on two criteria: the time interval between shots in a sequence and pixel similarities of the bitmap image.

The other comparison methods are:

  • Bitmap – a direct pixel comparison between bitmaps
  • Histogram – using histogram information from bitmaps
  • Time Interval – comparing only time intervals between shots, regardless of other data
  • Time + Histogram – combines both methods, Time Interval and Histogram

With all six of Photosweeper’s comparison tools, selecting and fine-tuning the details of the filtering process is a simple and straightforward process.

Configuring Photosweeper's Compare Settings

Configuring Photosweeper's Compare Settings

Putting Photosweeper to Work:

As we have now defined what we want Photosweeper to look for and how we want it to make comparisons, let’s put Photosweeper to work. Clicking the “Compare” button will start the comparison process based on the selected filtering methods. Photosweeper’s code was written to take full advantage of multicore processing and the application is indeed fast.

However, keep in mind the comparison process can take several seconds to several minutes depending on the size of the photo collection and chosen comparison method. The good news is that after Photosweeper finishes the comparison process, it caches the results, which are then saved as bitmaps (as mentioned) – a handy feature should you decide to change the filtering method for another round of comparisons, or close down the application and continue working later.

Photosweeper's Fast Comparison Process

Photosweeper's Fast Comparison Process

Reviewing the Results

Once Photosweeper has finished comparing images, it’s time to toggle into the Results view and get busy with cleaning. Within the Results view, images can be displayed as sequences in group view or side-by-side in pairs view. Toggling from group view to pairs allows for greater image detail to be displayed, which helps in deciding which photos are headed for Photosweeper’s “box”.

The Results

The Results

The Box:

From the comparison results, one or multiple images can be selected at a time and placed in the box, which is essentially a virtual holding pen where photos are grouped until you decide what next to do with them. Once images have landed in the box, the final step in the cleaning process is to move the photos into the trash. You may also choose to move & rename them, or copy & rename them. At any point should you change your mind, with a click of button photos can be taken out of the box.

Photosweeper provides a drag and drop method for getting images into the box as well as a toolbar button. Standard keyboard commands work for selecting multiple images. I found the drag and drop method a little clunky and would like to see a checkbox, or some type of “move to box” button on each image. However, this was only a minor inconvenience.

Photosweeper's box holds your photos until you decide what to do with them.

Photosweeper's box holds your photos until you decide what to do with them.

Another nifty feature of Photosweeper is the ability to “auto put” photos into the box with a single click. This toolbar button will allow you to define a set of rules for moving entire sequences of photos into the box, keeping just the one you want.

Photosweeper's "Auto-Put" Feature

Photosweeper's "Auto-Put" Feature


Whether you’re a professional photographer, hobbyist, or just someone in need of more hard disk space, Photosweeper packs a powerful punch in de-cluttering any size collection. As an application that may see infrequent use, some might balk at the cost. But if you consider the many hours of work saved by using Photosweeper, the price becomes very affordable. Currently you can grab a copy for half-price at the Mac App Store.


A tool for sorting and cleaning photo collections resulting in more useable disk space.



Add Yours
  • Very interesting…
    Of course, price is already now $9.99… :-(

    • Yes… interesting. How the price doubled since the article was published only a few hours ago? Not saying it’s not worth the extra $5… but the article sets the wrong expectations. Makes you feel slighted!

    • Same day and app is at $9.99? I thought it was to be half price all day? This has happened to me more than once with these ‘specials’.

    • Hey guys, just read further to understand what happened )

  • You can try a demo version available at their site:

  • Love the app. Fast and accurate. Helped me a lot in getting rid of duplicates from Aperture.

    • Thank you for your kind words! We are very pleased to know that people like our product. We are working on usability and performance of PhotoSweeper, and soon you will have even better update for free.

  • Can anyone comment on how it works/integrates with Aperture? If you use it to delete photos does it mess up the Aperture library?

    • PhotoSweeper has full integration with Aperture 3. It removes duplicate photos into the Aperture’s trash so that you can even restore them.

  • Reviewed at $4.99 (about £3). Just popped over to App Store, £6.99. Fishy.

    • Yes, PhotoSweeper was on sale for a short time period. Now it costs 10$ (£6.99). We are preparing a lite version of PhotoSweeper which will cost 5$. It will work with duplicate files only (the full version can find similar photos as well).

      • I would love to use half price sale.

  • At $4.99, it was a must-buy. Now that it’s more than DOUBLE that, it’s a “Wait-and-see”.

  • Was going to pick this up immediately after reading this review, but found the price suddenly DOUBLED. Don’t like bait-and-switch. Cross this off my list.

  • AppStorm just posts this TODAY, and states the price is $4.99. Then, go to buy and the developer doubles the price. Not good business practice.

    • This is not true. The bargain ended on February 15th. You can see all changes on AppShopper. Sorry for inconvenience.

      • It would be smart since people are seeing a good review to drop the price again so people might go ahead and purchase it. I was going to buy it, but not now since it is full price. I rarely buy apps at full price, and watch reviews like this before I buy.

    • this is poor blogging, the blogger did not verify their info before posting.

  • wish your price was accurate

  • Let’s not blame anybody. Mistakes do happen. We apologize for the inconvenience, and believe in a better future.

  • Well, nice of you to apologize for the inconvenience. Perhaps you could update/correct your review while you’re at it.

    • Unfortunately we have no access to the review. If we had we would change our score to 10/10 J

      • lol

      • Really? You would? And you expect us to give you our money?

  • I figured out the price is higher then in the review, but I decided to buy it anyway. Now I can say that it’s worth every penny I spent. Thanks.

  • I agree that this price discrepancy reflects poorly on BOTH Overmacs and MacAppStorm.

    To avoid even a whiff of Bait & Switch collusion, I recommend that Overmacs lower its price to $4.99 *for today only* (Feb. 20), as a show of good faith.

    Then, in private, Overmacs can tongue-lash MacAppStorm! :-)

    • Yes, I agree… it would be a show of good faith. But what about those who already bought PhotoSweeper for 10 bucks? Would they be happy? I’m not sure…

  • Hi guys, Josh Johnson here, editor of Mac.AppStorm. I’ll take the blame on this one. We often schedule articles out days in advance, the backfire is that app prices do in fact change. I try to catch these changes as they happen but sometimes they slip through the cracks. Definitely nothing bad on anyone but me! I apologize for any disappointments.

    • I should also add that there wasn’t any communication on my part to Overmacs about the article publish date or its contents (as is the case with most of our reviews).

      There was no “bait and switch” on their part, it was simply a sale that ended.

    • Thanks for the clarification, Josh. Perhaps your reviews should contain the date the review was written/pricing was obtained. We all understand prices change. What I find unbelievable is the developer’s response – ” Mistakes do happen… believe in a better future.” I produce and sell digital ebooks. If I found a review of one of my books that had just been on sale, and the recent sale price was listed resulting in people clamoring to buy it, I would offer a 24-hour code to that review site for readers. It’s a digital download, so it’s no added cost to me, and if I could afford to have it on sale last week, I could certainly offer it for sale to anxious buyers. More money in my pocket, more people trying my product and hopefully spreading the word to others. It’s just smart business, but unfortunately not all business owners see the big picture. Oh well.. guess I won’t be sharing my experience using Photosweeper with my Twitter and Facebook friends.

  • The price discrepancy resulted from the timing of when the article was written, the date it was published and the subsequent ending of the sale price. This was a mistake. Joshua Johnson, our editor has acknowledged this error and apologized for the oversight.

    As the author of the review, I would also like to offer my apologies for this mistake and any inconvenience or frustration this may have caused any of our readers.

  • Looks good, I think I’ll buy it.

  • Do you guys plan to have any dark(er) themes, a’la iPhote/ Lightroom?

    • Maybe in the future… but now we are working on Lightroom support and better user experience. The functionality and reliability is our primary goal, not just a good design. By the way, the next update will be a little darker J

      • Thanks for the reply. Good luck to you guys.

        Buying it now.

  • I don’t own Photosweeper and haven’t tried it yet, but based on the review, it sounds very much like a consumer-level version of Photo Mechanic, a staple for many pro photographers, especially journalists, and one that I use to pre-sort every shoot. People who wonder why they would pay $10 (reg price) for something like this with “limited use” might change their minds if they reconsider their usual photo editing process. Using an app like Photosweeper before you import to iPhoto or Aperture will save you many headaches later.

    In my process, I use Photo Mechanic to “injest” photos from a card to a full backup drive. Using PM, I dump the obviously useless photos, tag the ones I will edit further. That later set gets copied to a working space hard drive, and that is the directory that gets imported into Aperture. This means by the time photos get put into Aperture, it’s a much smaller choice set than the original dump, and I don’t have to wait for Aperture’s slow loading to sort. Plus, this leaves a pristine backup directory somewhere that Aperture (or whatever app) won’t fiddle with.

    I suspect Photosweeper can help do the same thing, and it’s a critical first step that I would highly recommend all shooters take _before_ they import into iPhoto or Aperture or whatever filing/editing app they use.

  • onder why they would pay $10 (reg price) for something like this with “limited use” might change their minds if they reconsider their usual photo editing process. Using