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iphone restore from icloud backup causing sync and massive duplicates?

Explorer ,
Jan 13, 2023 Jan 13, 2023

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I've been using LR with on the iphone with autoupload for well over 5 years now. I recently had my iphone serviced, got a new iphone and restored an icloud backup.

My lightroom has been processing the 15000 photos on my iphone for days now. It show 800 new photos imported in January 2023.

I created a new folder and set it as the autoimport destination, but for some reason only actual new photos are showing up in there, even though new photos are showing up as imported in all photos view. This gives me a slender thread of hope but it's also super confusing.

Is my LR simply going to silently spend days and weeks duplicating thousands of photos? How can LR on iphone react so poorly to a restore from a backup? It's a nightmare to open up my app now and see that it's simply got an endless series of photos to process and ruin my catalog.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 30, 2023 Jan 30, 2023

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Hello @danielw58122329 

Apologies for the slow reply.  I saw your post but didn't have any ideas until just now when I ran across this other thread: https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-ecosystem-cloud-based-discussions/my-iphone-is-re-importing... 

 

Is this possibly what you saw, Lightroom is importing images from iCloud?   During import, Lightroom performs a checksum comparison on images to filter out duplicate images when the bytes of data are the same.  iCloud images that Lightroom import are copies, and won't get filtered out like originals you've already imported.

 

Jim mentions the dilemna and choice in the other thread, "Going forward, you'd still be at risk of it happening again if you continue to use iCloud for Photos (I have it deliberately disabled for that reason), in which case you might be better advised to turn off the "Auto-add" feature in the Lightroom Settings>Import tab and simply do a manual import from the Camera Roll when you want to import from there."   

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2023 Feb 13, 2023

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Howdy Charlie, I appreciate your response, and I'd love to add some more context to this, I've been traveling and haven't had time to really give you the infodump I'd love to. It's a pretty interesting snafu if I do say so myself. And maybe you can give me some useful info. To begin with do you know if the image matching happens in the cloud or on the phone?

The current state of this situation is that I've been dealing with this for about 3 weeks now and the phone still has more than 10,000 images to import. It seems like it's going to be doing this for, well, months if not years.

The saving grace is that *actual* new photos are "going to the head of the line" and being imported (and placed into the album I select). At this point I'm almost ignoring the situation.

To be clear I do have icloud photo library enabled. A couple days after I got my replacement phone I thought to myself that perhaps it would help if I "downloaded originals" rather than Apple's version of "smart preview" which is the default. I turned this on and after another couple days I actually filled up my phone (500 gig) so I had to turn it off again. Likely most of this space was videos which I do not import into LR, possibly many of the photos were in fact downloaded original successfully.

So anyway, again near the beginning of this issue I created a folder and set new imports to be added to it. (Just as I often do for vacations.) None of the backlogged photos appear in there, but new photos did appear. My guesstimate of what's going on is that when LR started up it synced up 15000 iphone photos and even though it says "auto-importing 10,000" all of those photos in fact passed some "first stage" of importing where they would have ended up in the autoimporter folder. I'm actually hopeful that I'll be able to identify these photos later by their import date, but I've sort of given up on worrying about it at this point.

I created a spreadsheet where I occasionally look at the import number and my library count and attempt to figure out whether photos are really being imported or being nicely deduped. It's also complicated by the fact that I rarely but occasionally delete some junk/cruft from LR but not the phone. I'm assuming that those photos will be resurrected.

I'm a fairly long-time ios and LR user and I feel like there's some really deep issues here. To put it as a "story" like some would say:

I'm a happy user of LR and auto-import on my iphone for 5-10 years. I've got 10k+ photos on my phone and 25k in LR. I use the "os" capabilities for photo backup. One day my screen cracks I get a replacement from Apple and then, well, here we are. So, as a user, I was happy but I was building up a form of technical debt because LR on iphone was never going to be the same when the inevitable day came that I needed to use the system restore from backup capabilities.

My obvious desire is for LR to just "handle" this stuff better, but I think I know that building robust systems on top of ios isn't easy, or in some cases, possible. As it has functioned correctly LR on my iphone has felt like an incredibly powerful pocket computer. But now I'm well aware it's a phone not a computer and I seem to be stuck with

1) LR being a bit janky for months (years??!?)

2) Having a sputz of duplicates mucking up my library.

Appreciate all of the great years of use, but I hope that you guys can fill in the last gaps. Or, if you really really can't, do you consider "rel noting" that auto-import basically can't really "do what you want" if enabled on a phone using icloud photo library.

p.s. I have a previous post somewhere where I consider what would happen with LR and auto-import and icloud photo library and multiple ios devices. The conclusion I drew was basically: laughs maniacally.

p.s. Lo, so many years ago I remember when LR added direct import from the camera card on iphone. I use this often and it gives me at least a little power to manage the relationship between the LR library and the iphone photo library.

p.s. For years I used LR as my photo backup. I mostly turned on icloud photo library because I needed a backup for my videos which I haven chosen not to handle with LR. I also enjoy playing with Apple's tools as well. At this point my photo editing is still 95% LR but there are occasional tasks or applications that are easy to do in Apple's ecosystem.

OK, this is pretty long, and you already gave me the answer: stop doing that. But yeah, not having auto-add will suck. In fact I don't think I'm going to do that. Whenever I go on a trip or start a probject I set a new album as the auto-add destination and whenever I open LR on my phone it's just so incredibly quit to cull, rate, and edit. Having to add manually will slow this down quite a bit.
 
p.s. Sorry about the formatting

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 13, 2023 Feb 13, 2023

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@danielw58122329 

I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts & feedback.  I sympathize with you as I have also personally gone through the same dilemna as you.  Ultimately, I decided to let Lightroom be the "truth" for my photos, where I maintain/organize/store original images and edits in cloud storage.  I have disabled videos and screenshots in Lightroom's auto-import settings, opting to import only images.  I occassionally use Image Capture on Mac to copy my videos, photos, screenshots, etc from my device camera roll to an external storage for a redundant, local backup.  I also maintain regular device backups, which I strongly recommend everyone do.

 

Now that Lightroom can apply basic edits to video (trim, color grading etc) I do find I am importing video more, especially when I know I want to make quick edits and share from my Lightroom shared albums.  I target some people with my Lightroom shared albums, and but use iCloud shared albums for other people and I can get by using just ad-hoc imports/add to for that.  I'm just more invested in Lightroom, for having years of organization and edits already in place there.  Since you seem to rely on iCloud for photo/video backup, I could see you doing the opposite of me, just opportunistically importing and editing and perhaps also sharing via Lightroom. 

 

My advice is you disable auto-import in Lightroom, and manually select recent captures for import.  This will avoid import of apparent duplicates that are downsampled copies from iCloud.  Lightroom does perform the checksum analysis locally, so it can avoid importing original images and videos that are already in your Lightroom account.

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