Apple investigates method of preventing duplicates of items in an iCloud library

If you use Apple’s iCloud system, you may find unwanted duplicates pop up from time to time. A newly granted Apple patent (20150347444) shows that the company is working on solutions — as well as ways to make iCloud more collaborative.

Some computing systems such as OS X and iOS devices involve storing content in a network-based content repository such as iCloud and allowing client devices to retrieve the content on demand. Apple says this is convenient for users, businesses, and other enterprises that share content between multiple electronic devices. 

For example, a user can choose to take photographs using an iPhone, edit the photographs on a Mac, and display the photographs on an iPad. In these cases, a network-based content repository can be a convenient way to store the original digital photographs, save edits to the photographs, share them between devices, etc. without physically connecting devices and without having each version of each photograph taking up space on each device. 

However, using network-based storage for multiple devices can result in the same or similar files being stored multiple times in the network-based repository. This results in unneeded memory usage and can also detract from a user's experience. What’s more, having multiple versions of the same digital photograph stored in a network-based repository can be tedious to sort through and confusing to the user. 

Apple wants to change this. The patent, dubbed “cloud library de-duplication,” involves “systems, methods, and non-transitory computer-readable storage media identifying duplicate media items that occur during a batch upload process from a client device to the cloud media library and performing media de-duplication and re-mapping of duplicate media items.”