How to force Media manager to overwrite files of same name?

The question:

I have a widget that works with my theme that expects images named in a certain way, slide1.png, slide2.png, etc…

However, when the user uploads their own images, named slide1.png, slide2.png, etc to the media library, rather than updating the images with the new ones, WordPress changes the names of the replacement images to slide11.png, slide22.png, etc

Can I set a filter in theme options that tells WP to overwrite existing images without changing the filenames?

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

Here is something i cooked up which was taken mainly from the plugin Overwrite Uploads but without the extra stuff

function noneUniqueFilename($overrides){
    $overrides['test_form'] = false;
    $overrides['unique_filename_callback'] = 'nonUniqueFilenameCallback';
    return $overrides;

function nonUniqueFilenameCallback($directory, $name, $extension){
    $filename = $name . strtolower($extension);
    //remove old attachment

    return $filename;

function removeOldAttach($filename){
    $arguments = array(
        'numberposts'   => -1,
        'meta_key'      => '_wp_attached_file',
        'meta_value'    => $filename,
        'post_type'     => 'attachment'
    $Attachments_to_remove = get_posts($arguments);

    foreach($Attachments_to_remove as $a)
        wp_delete_attachment($a->ID, true);

Method 2

I managed to make this work using a bit of @Bainternet’s Answer without hacking the core.

This other Q&A was helpful as well: query_posts: how to show all ‘meta_value’ containing a specific word?

The function wp_unique_filename has the filter sanitize_file_name just at the beginning, so we can hook there and do the checking and removal of the duplicate attachment.

I did basic localhost testings, please test it thoroughly before applying to a live site.

add_filter( 'sanitize_file_name', 'filename_filter_wpse_28439', 10, 1 );

function filename_filter_wpse_28439( $name ) 
    $args = array(
        'numberposts'   => -1,
        'post_type'     => 'attachment',
        'meta_query' => array(
                    'key' => '_wp_attached_file',
                    'value' => $name,
                    'compare' => 'LIKE'
    $attachments_to_remove = get_posts( $args );

    foreach( $attachments_to_remove as $attach )
        wp_delete_attachment( $attach->ID, true );

    return $name;

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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