Lightroom Mobile: iPhone photos synced to LR Classic, now missing on PC. How to re-sync?

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  • Updated 7 months ago
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On vacation, I shot hundreds of photos using Lightroom app camera on iPhone. Returned home, synced all photos via cloud to Lightroom Classic on my desktop PC. And then immediately the PC hard drive died (photo storage drive, not catalog drive). Replaced PC hard drive, restored LR photos to most recent backed-up state (just prior to vacation). Previously synced vacation iPhone photos now show up as Missing (exclamation point). 

How do I get these files to re-sync from the originals in Lightroom on my iPhone?  It's not happening automatically, and I don't see any command to initiate a re-sync. 

I tried Deleting one of the "missing" photos from Lightroom Classic on the PC - but it does exactly the wrong thing: keeps the "missing" photo in the PC catalog, marks it not to sync anymore, and then propagates the Deletion up to the iPhone, where it promptly deletes the (only) Master copy of the photo. So I'm not doing that any more!

Suggestions? Have I missed something obvious?  Thanks!
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Jim Reitz

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Posted 7 months ago

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Jim Reitz

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Forgot to include config details:

Lightroom Classic 9.0, Windows 10 build 1903

Lightroom iOS v 5.10, iPhone XS Max, iOS 13.2.3

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john beardsworth

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Are the photos still on Adobe's servers? It sounds like they are. Go to https://lightroom.adobe.com/libraries and log into your account - this page confirms what is in Adobe's cloud, though not whether they are smart previews or originals. You can download files from there

https://lightroom.adobe.com/lightroom-downloader will let you download them again, and you should put the photos in the same folder location as where the missing ones are recorded in the catalogue. LR thinks it has downloaded the missing files, so here we're doing it again and fooling it.


(Edited)
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john beardsworth

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Should add, the first link is OK for one by one download, and is boring but under your direct control. The second automatically  downloads everything - any originals and smart preview DNGs - and you then have to sort it out afterwards. If lots of originals need downloading, I'd prefer the latter.
(Edited)
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Jim Reitz

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Yes photos are still in Lightroom cloud on Adobe's servers. I'll give downloading them a try - thanks!
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Jim Reitz

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The lightroom-downloader app worked - downloaded a full copy of my LR cloud files to a temp folder, then copied the missing files to the proper directory on my desktop PC. No more "missing" files. 

I think this points out the need for some more robust sync features for the LR cloud ecosystem. Everything might sync successfully once, but then bad stuff can happen & files go missing - on any participating device. Would like to see the LR apps detect missing photo files, then automatically backfill them from the cloud when available. With something like this, the LR cloud would be more useful as a "backup" option.  See 3rd-party app Mylio for an example of this.

It also points out the asymmetric design of the LR cloud - how files are treated on phones vs. computers. "Deleting" a synced file on the PC actually just deletes it from the phone, severs the synchronization link, but preserves a copy on the PC.  Deleting it from the phone really deletes it (everywhere). I understand this is to accommodate the asymmetric storage capacity between phones & computers - you are far more likely to want to free up space on your phone. But it kind of back-fired in my case, since I couldn't just delete the (missing) PC copies and let them re-sync.

Anyway - thanks for the help!