Sorry, this is a long post but this seems to be a complicated subject!
I'm a long time user of LrC but considering a move to LR (cloud), for a few reasons:
To have original files (rather than smart previews) stored in Adobe cloud and available on all devices.
To simplify everything for multi-device use.
To remove reliance on a single LrC catalogue on my one PC and avoid headaches of rebuilding/recovering the catalogue in the event of a problem with my laptop, and make life easier when moving to a new machine.
I like the idea of being in the cloud and the flexibility it provides, and don't mind paying for the capacity I need but having worked in IT for over 20 years, it's a big leap of faith to rely solely on Adobe to secure and protect my data. I would feel much more comfortable if it was possible to maintain a local copy of my files (which I could also then backup elsewhere, if I chose), including flags, ratings, edits and tags.
From reading articles online and other (very helpful) posts on this forum, it seems I have three options...
Configure LR (cloud desktop) to store copies of originals locally on my PC but if I understand it correctly, these will be the files only and they won't include or be updated with edits, tags, ratings etc. So not really what I'm looking for.
After migrating to LR, I could keep LrC running and keep this synced to the cloud, which will result in copies of original files being stored on my PC. I have tested this and it appears edits, ratings and flags are synced from LR to LrC and I can use "Ctrl + S" in LrC to save the meta data to the files (something I've always done, just in case). This would also enable me to use LrC features that don't exist in the cloud, like printing. So this almost achieves what I want but tags are missing, which isn't ideal. Another issue appears to be that file deletions don't seem to populate down to the local copies which have been stored by LrC. Eg if i delete files in LR (which I will be doing after review and edit, to optimise cloud storage usage), the files disappear from LrC but they still exist in the folder on disk, which isn't great as I'll be consuming a lot of disk space unnecessarily. So this option isn't ideal either.
Finally, I could add each import set to an Album in LR (cloud). Then manually export the contents of the album, when I've finished editing/curating. I can export as DNG or Original + Settings, which I believe should give me local files on my PC with all edits, ratings, flags and tags, exactly as they are in the cloud? I've always converted Sony ARW raw files to DNG before import and plan to continue doing this with LR, so I didn't think there would be any difference between exporting as DNG or Original + Settings but having done some testing, it seems "Original + Settings" results in a file that seems to have everything there; but strangely an export to "DNG" has everything except the star rating, I'm not sure if this is expected behaviour or why that would be. Anyway, I have also now switched on camera upload from LR Mobile on my iPhone (to replace Google Photos, iCloud photos etc), so I'd want to get original copies of these on my PC as well. I imagine I could just search/filter by iphone in LR, then add the photos to albums and export them periodically as well.
So my questions are...
Is the above all correct? Am I missing anything that I should be aware of or should be considering?
Do other LR Cloud users worry about keeping local copies or are people happy trusting Adobe to look after their data?