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I am using "Faces" in iPhoto 09 and when I am naming people in photos some people have multiple entries in the list.

The main problem seems to be with people linked to Facebook records. For example, if I was naming John Smith in a picture, the following options will appear:

  • John Smith (no photo, no email address)
  • John Smith (photo, no email address)
  • John Smith (current FB profile pic, email address)

This is quite annoying because if the wrong one is picked, the person ends up being shown twice in my "Faces" view or being incorrectly tagged on FB if I upload pictures including that person.

Syncing photos to my iPhone also shows this problem because the same person is listed multiple times.

Is there a way to "merge" these records so that each person only appears once in the list?


The names do not appear multiple times in "Faces" view - they appear multiple times in the list of choices when naming people in pictures. In the example above, John Smith would only appear in "Faces" view once but when naming him in additional photos his name appears 3 times in the list

Additional Edit

I do not have multiple entries in my address book for these people - some of them aren't even in my address book at all. One idea I had was to open the Faces.db file in SQLite and see if I could work out the database structure and fix them that way but I couldn't find the names of faces anywhere.

To link to Facebook successfully the "Face" in iPhoto must have the same email address at the corresponding "Friend" on Facebook. I have done that for faces I want to link to my Facebook friends.

The only solution may be to rebuild the faces database but that is a lot of work because I have about 7,000 photos.

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Off the wall thought: do you have multiple John Smith's in your Address Book? – emgee Oct 5 '09 at 21:46
My address book only has contacts that are synced with my iPhone. Some 'Faces' in iPhoto do not appear in my address book at all. My name appears once on the 'Faces' view but 5 times in lists while only appears once in Address Book – Anthony Oct 8 '09 at 19:33
If no one on SU has an answer, you may want to take your question to the Apple Discussions or even call Apple. – Sidnicious Oct 11 '09 at 20:53
Since I still don't fully understand your problem (or at least can't replicate it) I'm not sure what you want to do with SQLite, but I do see all the faces I have listed in the face_name table of face.db. Are you saying the particular faces you're interested in aren't there? – jtb Oct 12 '09 at 0:44

In the Faces view, just drag the secondary faces onto the one you want to retain. Or alternatively: select the people you want to merge (command-click), then control-click and select Merge People.

Edit to address your clarification: The options for typing names in faces seem to come from my Address Book. Do you have multiple entries in the OS X Address Book for these people? Can you merge them there (Card >> Merge Selected Cards)? I don't have much experience with the Facebook link, but it appears that that can be made just by having an e-mail address defined for the contact?

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Thanks for your answer. That does merge "Faces" but I have edited the question to clarify my issue. – Anthony Oct 3 '09 at 5:01

To get rid of multiple entries that don't show up in the Faces overview page, use each of the duplicate names once to identify a face in a photo. This will cause them to show up on the overview page. At that point you can merge the names by drag-'n-dropping them on top of each other.

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up vote -1 down vote accepted

I had another look at the SQLite database after the comment by 'jtb' and the face_name table in the face.db file did contain the names I wanted to remove.

So to solve my problem, I deleted the duplicate entries from the face_name table. I haven't noticed any side effects yet but it does seem like there is no referential integrity in the database so deleting rows from the face_name table is not stopped when related records exist.

I would not consider this an ideal solution but it seemed to solve the problem. I plan to log a suggestion with Apple Support to get a more user-friendly solution to this problem.

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-1 as I think @jtb helped you best to solve your problem. I find it odd (s)he didn't get the bounty then, especially given your later edits to the question. – Arjan Oct 12 '09 at 7:35
I had to post the answer - and I did credit jtb with providing the table name and database file - because the highest voted answer was not the solution and the bounty was running out within hours. I would have been more than happy to award jtb the bounty but there was not enough time left to do so. – Anthony Oct 12 '09 at 19:59

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