Dealing With Duplicate Apple’s Software In Your Mac

One of the best aspects of being an Apple product user is the ease of use. All of their products, be it computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads, or even software, is always user-friendly and so much easier to use than other products out there. However, sometimes in their efforts to make everything as easy as possible, they inadvertently make it a little harder. This comes into play with the Apple software that is now available in the Apple Store, such as the products in the iWork and iLife line.

Apple keeps making changes to these products, as now some of the software is available on their mobile devices as well. After reading about the new changes made to Pages and iPhoto, two apps that I use fairly frequently, I wanted to make sure I was up-to-date with the software. What made it difficult, though, was that when I have updated the software in earlier updates, instead of replacing the old applications with the new, the system added additional applications with the same name. I had to eliminate the duplicate applications before I could update anything.

Fixing the duplicate applications problem

Fixing the duplicate Pages application was easily solved. I simply did a search for “Pages” and looked in the applications section of the results to find the two separate versions of the software. I used Get Info under the File Menu to find which version was the most recent.


It turns out that one of them was in the Applications folder, and the other was in a separate folder I had made to keep my writing apps together. With Lion, of course, it’s no longer necessary to make folders like that, as they can be organized together under Launchpad. Once I deleted the older app, I was able to determine that the version I had was indeed the most recent.

Fixing the situation with iPhoto proved to be more difficult. When I searched for the app by name, it was only finding one application. Yet, when I went to the App Store, it didn’t say “Installed,” and looked like it was available for a download to me. I assumed I didn’t have a new enough version, and that I would have to buy it. When I tried to purchase it, I was told I would have to update through the Software Update function, yet when I tried that, I was told all my apps were up to date.


I looked again for a separate application. It didn’t show up in Launchpad. However, when I looked through my application folder “the old-fashioned” way, I found an additional iPhoto application, one that was non-functional when I tried to open it. It seemed to be a partial download. I figured this was an easy enough fix and deleted the extra application.

This didn’t fix the problem, though. When I tried to update the application through the App Store and Software Update, I got the same messages as before. When I tried to open the application, I received a new message telling me there was something wrong and that I should contact support. It should be noted that in all this time of using the application, even though there was a non-functioning duplicate in the system as well, I never had any error messages.


I knew that this version of iPhoto had become corrupted as well. It had to be deleted, but I was afraid of losing the two years worth of pictures of and videos I had stored within iPhoto. I checked around on my hard drive and found the iPhoto Library stored separately, and I knew then it would be okay to delete the app, as my photo library would remain.

Once I deleted the corrupted app, I visited the App Store and tried to buy it again. This time I was told I already previously bought iPhoto, so I would be able to update it through Software Update. Sure enough, once I opened Software Update, iPhoto now showed up as available for updating.


The changes Apple makes to its system and applications are fascinating and indeed make things easier, but sometimes it adds up to additional snafus that create more trouble. Hopefully, as Apple continues to make changes to their updating system through Software Update, the App Store and iCloud, it will eliminate these the problems once and for all.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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