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Synchronising sporadic/slow

Contributor ,
Jun 17, 2023 Jun 17, 2023

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Hi, I'm using Lightroom Classic 12.3 (i.e. currently latest version) and I'm mixing it with Lightroom Mobile on iPad and iPhone and Mac Mini.

My issue is synchronising apparently "in sync" but in reality not in sync.


This week I've been visiting family. I took the iPad and iPhone. I took photos on the iPhone (running Lightroom Mobile 8.3.2 1CBD04/36 and added them to an album.

 

As I type this there are 164 photos in the album taken over three days sitting on the iPhone. They're a mix of RAW and HEIC (mainly RAW).

 

I start with the Lightroom Mobile on the iPhone telling me it was all synced to the cloud.

 

I've got home and turned on the PC with Lightroom Classic on it. Initially it said it was synchronised. I closed the program and re-opned it. It said the same. I paused and re-started synchronisation. No change.

Then, suddenly, it sprang into life. It said it was synchronising photos: 2 of them. It did some more. In dribs and drabs they came in - but the Collection didn't appear for ages.

Eventually the collection appeared. It currently has 119 images showing in it. Local Activity says it is Synced. That can't be right as I know there are 164 images in that album.

 

Now when I look at the iPhone it says 42 are pending in uploading. Well 119+42 = 161 which is still short of the 164 that I know are in the album.


It's all very well to simply "leave it to sync" and leave my phone and PC to sort themselves out slowly - but when it tells me it is all synchronised and actually is not that's a problem.

 

The last few days I thought I'd edited things on my iPad only to spot a few more appear later on meaning I hadn't ranked/rated and edited some of my images at all.

 

I can appreciate that actual upload/download might take a while but can't work out why the statements about synchronisation are inaccurate on the different platforms.

Any ideas?

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iOS: iPhone , iPadOS , macOS , Windows

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Adobe Employee ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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Hello @Malthouse Photography 

Apologies for the slow reply.  I wanted to see if I could reproduce the same performance issue with the same setup as you describe, and unfortunately I cannot.  

 

Since the Lightroom Mobile app only uploads while the app is awake and running, let me ask: does it help if you plug your iPhone or iPad into power and leave the app running?  The app will prevent the device from sleeping if it's plugged into power.  

 

What kind of network do the devices use?  Is this in a business network with VPN or some kind of firewall?  If you try using a different network for your mobile device (cellular, home network, a friend's home network), is the upload speed the same?

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Contributor ,
Jun 23, 2023 Jun 23, 2023

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Hi @Charlie.D thanks for the response. Here's some more detail for you.


I'm not sure if you've really understood the problem from your questions so I'll have another try to explain the issue. However, to answer your question, the phone isn't plugged in to power unless I am charging it overnight. That will become relevant in a bit as you read on. Most of the time it is being used by me whilst I am out and about and therefore on the celular network, OR it is on my home wifi network. But it's also happening within just the home network when my PC is connected to that - the home network works fine for all other uses (including file uploads to cloud). I've not tried it using a friend's network as I think this is not a network speed issue but a file number reporting issue within Lightroom.

Here's a specific example. Today I've gone outside and taken eight photos of my house. I know a setting within the LR Mobile app has changed since I originally posted this query,  the one allowing that you can read just from Camera Roll, but I kept the setting unchanged so the DNG files get pulled into Lightroom Mobile from the Camera Roll. If I look in LR Mobile there are eight images in there. I can see them uploading as I type this. i.e. my phone tells me upload has not yet completed.

That in itself is odd as I know that the Apple Photos has already uploaded those versions an hour or so ago to the iCloud and I went into my Photos on my PC using PhotoMechanic an hour or so ago and it downloaded them all just fine ages ago.


This tells you that the speed of my network to upload from phone to the cloud and back down to my PC is not the issue.

There is still however synchronisation of those eight images going on with Lightroom.


With those eight images, if I go into my iPad I can see them all on Lightroom Mobile just fine even though the DNG files are still uploading. I guess it is showing me the preview and then uploading the main file in the background. Fair enough but then don't tell me synchronisation is complete when it clearly isn't.

LR Mobile on my iPhone says (now it has caught up as I've typed this) that all is Synced and backed-up.

LR Mobile says all eight are synced to the cloud. It says I'm all backed up and synchronised.

If I go to lightroom.adobe.com in my Chrome browser I can see all eight images. Great.

So to my mind there are 8 images on my phone, on my iPad, on the web.

 

When I went on the family trip last week with 150+ images in the album I was only on cell network. Apparently I was synchronised to the cloud. Apparently. That's what it told me: that synchronisation was complete. And indeed I could see them "all" on my iPad (or at least what I assumed was "all). I was looking on my iPad by using by using my phone as a hotspot to download them from the cloud via the cell network as the iPad doesn't have cell signal and there was no wifi at the location I was at - again this says it isn't the network as the phone had uploaded them to the cloud, then downloaded them again from the cloud to the iPad.

Even though the applications told me that they were synchronised the numbers didn't add up. I didn't spot this initially  and I found later that when I thought I had posted all images to Facebook that a few had come through later and weren't edited by me or posted to social media. That was frustrating. Thankfully it was just family photos and not professional ones.

Now back to today's experiment: I'll open Lightroom Classic on my PC. I've not opened it since taking those eight images of my home. Remember as far as LR Mobile on iPhone/iPad/web are concerned they are all there and all synchronised.

 

The little cloud icon, top right has a tick above it suggesting all is in sync and if I click on it then I see it saying it is all synced. Great. However I can not see them in the grid. BUT I can see those images slowly starting to appear in the Lightroom Classic grid as I type this. So clearly they were NOT all synchronised. They were coming down still. It hasn't taken long for just 8 images. It has, however, now completed.

Last week it was telling me all was synchronised but nothing was downloading. After stopping LR Classic and re-starting it a few times eventually it reluctantly confirmed it was still synchronising.

This is just 8 images. Try doing it with 200 DNG files shot on an iPhone - whether on wifi or on a 4G network. It says it is synced but the files aren't all there.

Now try in the other direction. I created a collection and told it to synchronise. It said it was synchronised but I couldn't see those images on the web, on the iPhone, on the iPad.

I don't mind it telling me that sync is incomplete and that I've got another 20 images to upload/download or whatever but to tell me that it is all synchronised and not actually have the files synchronised is pretty poor.

My original plan, as I have a 1TB phone, was to use a SD card reader to ingest a wedding onto LR Mobile on my phone, and as I have 1TB plan for LR Mobile I wanted to then let it upload (now I've got backup as I have a copy on SD card, on phone and in cloud), then get that onto my PC the next morning. As an example of my wedding photography use the last three weddings  I've done were just 21.0GB, 25.2GB and 21.7GB. At 30GB and 10Mbps that should be about 7.5 hours to upload so an overnight upload ought to have been just fine as my phone IS plugged in charging overnight.

The reality was that I found upload and download was impossible to do like that. It was so slow as to be unusable. I went to my phone the morning after the wedding and upload was nowhere near done. It looked more like it had only recently started.

I found that the mechanism for synchronising between the various devices wasn't viable. I know my upload link is slow by modern standards (my home netowrk published speed is 10Mbps but I get more like 8.5Mbps) and I didn't mind that being slow if it happened eventually - but I was seeing it telling me all was synchronised whilst I'm at a wedding and when I come back from a wedding with 700 or 800 images and they weren't actually synchronised.

I thought it had been designed for scenarios where one is working away from base specifically to allow for backup of images to the cloud so that if disaster happened (like a stolen phone/laptop/ipad) then all was safely in the cloud. It seems that's really not true.

I've abandoned that idea simply as it was not useable.

I would however like to get it working if it should be working. However I look at it the reporting of whether something is genuinely synchronised or not (and I mean RAW in the cloud not just a preview) does seem to be at best unreliable.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jun 23, 2023 Jun 23, 2023

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Hi @Malthouse Photography 

There's a lot here, but I will try to address the main points.

 

My prior note about keeping the LR Mobile app open and awake (incl. plugging into power if you have lots to upload) stems from the fact that LR Mobile only uploads while the app is open.  I wondered if this "sporadic/slow" behavior was due to LR Mobile not being kept awake to sync completely.

 

You mentioned iCloud: iirc, the native Photos app can sync to iCloud even while the app is in the background, or with the device at rest.  I wanted to be clear the LR needs you to keep the app open.  

 

I think LR iOS also defaults to uploading over mobile only, and not also cellular.  This is a LR app setting you can change to enable sync over cellular too.  I mention all this as some users wonder why LR doesn't sync while they're traveling, away from WiFi.  

 

Some of your comments ask why one LR app's cloud status doesn't reflect that another LR app on another device is still uploading.  I understand how that would be nice, but the current design is that each app shows only its own upload/sync status.  Doing what you're asking is an interesting suggestion you could re-post in the Ideas section of this forum.

 

After syncing from each mobile device is complete, if each LR Mobile app and lightroom.adobe.com all show the same number of photos are full synced and available, and it's just LR Classic that is slow to "catch up," this would seem to be an issue with LR Classic.  I would pursue that further in the LR Classic forum. 

 

You're likely to reach a lot more users and Adobe staff with knowledge about LR Classic and its sync characteristics by starting a new post at https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic/ct-p/ct-lightroom-classic 
...I would start there fresh with a simple post asking for troubleshooting tips on LR Classic sync discrepancies and performance.  From doing a web search for "lightroom classic sync troubleshoot" I see there are already some existing threads on that topic that you may want to read first, like this example: link

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Contributor ,
Jun 24, 2023 Jun 24, 2023

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@Charlie.D Thanks for the second response.

 

Before your first response I hadn't appreciated that there is no background upload going on. That's a huge shame because if I am taking a lot of images on the phone and happen not to go into LR Mobile then they're not going to get backed up somewhere safe if I lose my phone (or it gets stolen). I can't imagine why that would be designed that way. It it an Apple restriction or a design choice?

I've got photos in the Photos app backing up to iCloud but that will fill up quickly as I don't have 1TB storage there - so I now know I *have* to go into LR Mobile repeatedly, and leave it open to let it backup, rather than doing more interesting things. If I don't want to edit my images on the mobile phone but want to do it on an iPad whilst travelling that's annoying.

quote

I think LR iOS also defaults to uploading over mobile only, and not also cellular.  This is a LR app setting you can change to enable sync over cellular too.  I mention all this as some users wonder why LR doesn't sync while they're traveling, away from WiFi.  

Yup. I found that one early on and turned it on to ensure it was going to backup if I was away from WiFi. The bit I had missed, as above, was the need to keep the app open at all time. I had already turned on prevent sleep.

quote

Some of your comments ask why one LR app's cloud status doesn't reflect that another LR app on another device is still uploading.  I understand how that would be nice, but the current design is that each app shows only its own upload/sync status.  Doing what you're asking is an interesting suggestion you could re-post in the Ideas section of this forum.

 

After syncing from each mobile device is complete, if each LR Mobile app and lightroom.adobe.com all show the same number of photos are full synced and available, and it's just LR Classic that is slow to "catch up," this would seem to be an issue with LR Classic.  I would pursue that further in the LR Classic forum. 

 

 

I'll raise it as a suggestion in the Ideas. I'd already done a whole lot of problem analysis to work out what was going on - and it's not just LR Classic that's slow to catch up - the whole ecosystem seems to be at odds with itself if I go from one device to another. Hence trying to raise in this forum. I'll raise in the ideas section.

Thanks.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jun 25, 2023 Jun 25, 2023

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@Malthouse Photography 

I'm glad if some info provided was useful.

For what it's worth, I think earlier verions of Lightroom iOS did upload in the background, at least for a short while.  I may be wrong, but I think there was user feedback that unexpected data use from Lightroom syncing in the background was undesireable as battery and data allowances surprised some users.  So now LR has no background upload at all, by current design.  Again, I may be stating incorrect history here.  I'll bring this up with the team and reply back if there are any useful or interesting notes.

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Contributor ,
Jun 25, 2023 Jun 25, 2023

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Thanks, @Charlie.D . I've opened up a suggestion in the Ideas section, as you may have seen. Maybe it just needs to be optional so you can toggle background upload on/off and give users choice. 😉

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