Lightroom for mobile: Sync errors with tif files; smart previews possible culprit

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Solved
  • (Edited)
I am receiving sync errors when creating tif files passed between Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ll detail the issues in the steps below but first my setup and some definitions:
  • Using Lightroom 5.4 on Windows 7 64-bit and Photoshop CC 14.2.1 with latest Camera Raw 8.4
  • Using Lightroom mobile version 1.0.1 on iPad Air (32 Gb version)
  • Lrd = Lightroom desktop
  • Lrw = Lightroom on the web (
  • Lrm = Lightroom mobile app
  • Ps = Photoshop CC
What I did:
  1. Sync a collection of Lrd photos to Lrm. In my case I successfully synced 50 dng photos to the mobile app. Lrw also shows photos correctly.
  2. Pass a photo from Lrd to Ps using Lightroom’s Edit In command. In Ps add a text layer (or an adjustment layer). The intent is to have a simple way to make a visible change and have the ability to easily turn the layer on or off. Save the file (Ctrl+W) which automatically adds the new tif file to Lrd and automatically syncs to Lrm. All Lightroom instances (Lrd, Lrw, and Lrm) all correctly show the image with text.
  3. Edit In the original tif file created in step 2 and turn off the text layer. Save.
  4. Lrd now shows an Error Syncing with Lightroom mobile badge on the tif file. In addition the photo is placed in an All Sync errors collection found in the Catalog section in the Library module. In a few moments the sync is completed (despite the sync error) but the photo in both Lrw and Lrm incorrectly show the photo with text intact while Lrd correctly shows the photo without the text.
  5. In Lrd apply a visually dramatic develop adjustment (Vibrance -100) to the tif file. This causes an automatic sync to Lrm. Note that Lrd correctly shows the vibrance change and no text. (Recall that the text layer was turned off in step 3.) However, after the sync both Lrm and Lrw correctly show the vibrance change but still incorrectly show the text. Reset vibrance to 0 to force a sync.
  6. Edit In the tif file (without Lightroom adjustments) and make the text layer visible and change the text contents. Save.
  7. This time the sync error is permanent with the photo placed in the All Sync errors collection. Note that there is no way to force a sync other than making a Lightroom adjustment.
  8. In Lrd set Vibrance to -100 to force a sync. Lrd correctly shows the vibrance change and the text change made in step 6. However, after the sync both Lrm and Lrw correctly show the vibrance change but incorrectly do not show the text change.
  9. Remove the tif file from Lrd which correctly deletes the photo from both Lrw and Lrm. Note that a photo or collection should only be removed from desktop Lr and never from the mobile app.
Conclusion and questions:
  • What is the cause of the sync errors in steps 4 and 7?
  • What restrictions, if any, does the mobile app have with tif files?
  • Why are changes made in Ps to a tif file not correctly synced to the mobile app? Note that I have performed the same tests on flattened tifs so I doubt layers are the issue.
  • What part do smart previews have in these syncing errors?
  • Where are smart previews for mobile syncing stored? They do not seem to be stored in the catalog location where smart previews are located if created on import or with Library>Previews>Build Smart Previews. Indeed, does mobile syncing use these smart previews (if created) or does the sync process create new smart previews for its own purposes?
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Wolfgang Eilers

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Posted 5 years ago

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Benjamin Warde, Employee

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Official Response
This should be fixed in Lightroom 5.5, which is now available.