Lightroom Sync Hell - Any developer here?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)

As I can't even login in the support forums, here I am with a feedback.
This is a long rant, but I highlighted parts that should be a real helpful feedback for any concerned developer or product manager.

I've been a consumer of Adobe products for nearly 2 decades, always encouraged my companies, friends and fellow professionals to buy and use Adobe products.
For the first time now my recommendation is to stay the hell away from anything branded Adobe.

My subscription to Adobe CC ends in a week, and I am NOT renewing it.

So, what are the problems?
Before diving in the technical problems, let's talk about support:
  • I can't connect to Adobe forums (google "adobe forums ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS" ... and no, changing my name for community didn't solve it)
  • I can't get support on getting support ... calling in or using the chat support leads to a clueless Indian call center who have absolutely no way to help (told, with chat transcripts as proof: "We are not trained for forums, can't help") ... If you are going to outsource support, at least give them some tools to help.
  • Asking support support for Lightroom sync bug leads systematically to the same stupid solution "delete all files and start over".

You need to seriously do something about it, your CEO had to do a public apology for support few years ago, sad to see noting changed and Adobe is still the company with the worst service/support in the world.

Now, let's talk about software. Does any developer in Adobe know what the word "parallel" means?
How come in 2017 (nearly the end of it actually) can a WHOLE software bug and stop working because it's stuck on syncing ONE file? There isn't a SINGLE cloud service out there (no matter how amateur were the developers) that bugs on one file, stops working, or bugs so often with no way to troubleshot besides deleting everything. Are you serious???
Parallel uploads and possibility to mark things like urgent would already solve a lot of problems.

There is NO WAY to debug what's going on. The Preference>Lightroom mobile tab is useless as it works only when everything's fine, when there is a bug, it shows empty with a "no sync activities" message.
Can't you have a more useful thing that shows status and problem in a way that is user actionable?

On the UX side, what does "Sync details/errors" mean anyway? Is it a "detail" or an "error"? Is that file being successfully synced or is it failing? How can we know? This is basic UX sense.

You need to add few useful things to Lightroom web, such as seeing incomplete or broken files, being able to filer with more options such as date, bulk selections and bulk delete ... You know, if I want to get rid of a 1000 pictures do you think I'm going to select them one by one?
If we can drop a folder with thousands of picture so should we be able to bulk select and delete.

Same for Lightroom mobile. Don't you think people need a "select all" option? Really?
A more advanced filter, search terms/keywords are absolutely necessary, especially if we want to quickly create a collection or bulk delete.

Now on the business side. Adobe has been trying to push a half baked pseudo-SNS with Lightroom mobile. But we can't have a private library that we share with just few selected people (note, this is possible with files and libraries with Photoshop and the rest of CC).
If I force a client or family/friends to create an Adobe account to select (like) or comment on photos, it would be more than crucial to be able to have a private link.
The problem with your support whenever Lightroom gets stuck syncing is that you ask to "delete everything". That means also loosing shared links, comments, likes, history, etc ... Don't you think that this way of handling things actually hurts your company's failed SNS strategy?

Imagine Facebook asking you to delete your whole profile and start over whenever something goes wrong?

You should really offer an option for people to debug AND fix their account without needing to contact a useless support or having them lose hours to weeks deleting everything, starting from scratch and hoping everything goes fine this time (the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different).

Also more on the business side but a technical problem: Since you use AWS for syncing, don't you think you can use their advanced architecture of local servers to accelerate things for your users? I am in Japan with a 1GB+ sync connection, I can sync 1TB of data/photos to any cloud competitor before even a 100 images sync to Lightroom web/mobile.

I used to shoot an event, import to lightroom and sync to mobile, use the mobile on iPad for quick culling, rework things on desktop ... Now my workflow would be using the standalone Lightroom (I'll be looking for an alternative as well), exporting to iPhoto or probably a handmade culling software via iCloud. This would be faster and at least WORKS.

One last feedback on the Apple TV app ... It doesn't work ... Unless your target is an amateur kid with 3 collections and 10 photos to show off.
I have 420 Collections, and because the app tries to load everything before it even opens, launching the app gets us to a useless loading screen that lasts forever before finally failing and ending up with ~30 collections missing most pictures inside.
Can't you make it like Lightroom web? Loading collection names with their thumbnail first, giving control back to the user quickly, then loading pictures in the background? How about using these very old networking libraries from Apple that let you reorder priority of photos to download depending on user actions rather than being stubborn to download everything serially in a timestamp order?

So this is probably my very last contact with Adobe, hope at least the feedback can make a change and make things less painful for fellow photographers.
It was fun before and I was grateful to all the effort and attention Adobe teams put in their products. Too sad it became this bad recently with implementations that lack basic sense, bad UX and a complete deaf ear to users' complaints.

Photography is still the most common hobby (know what is the most important feature in a phone?), and it's sad to see Adobe completely losing grounds to amateur competitors who at least seem to know what "User First" is and evolve their products with their needs and technology advances.
You maybe need new blood in your dev teams before becoming (a bad) history.

Sincerely yours,
A sad (ex-)consumer.
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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Hannah Nicollet

Hannah Nicollet, Quality Engineer

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Hi Einharch,

It takes time and thought to put all of this into words, so thank you for making the effort to write out the issues that have been giving you problems. You offered some valuable feedback. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been so frustrated and on top of that, having trouble getting support. 

We value you as a customer and want to resolve your issues. I'll address as much as I am able to here and then I would also like to contact you via email for matters that involve personal information and are therefore not suitable for a public forum such as this. Also for technical problems that I am not able to address I will put you in touch with the engineer who can work with you.

We can talk about your support issues via the phone or email. But for starters lets talk about some of your software issues.

Here's a copy of the preferences dialogue from LR. It sounded like you were saying the sync activity section that I have circled in the attached image is empty, which should mean that there was no file that was stuck in the sync. However you also alluded to receiving error messages - "Sync details/errors" in the UX, which made it sound like you have reason to believe your syncs weren't behaving properly. Without seeing these it's hard to address them, but screen captures and logs would be invaluable in that case.

You also mentioned the ability to see broken files - this should be visible in the upper right corner of the thumbnail in the gallery. Once again, if for some reason your version isn't behaving as expected, it would be helpful to have screen captures to be sure we're on the same page. Select all is an option in LR mobile and on Android, but ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶y̶e̶t̶ ̶a̶v̶a̶i̶l̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶i̶O̶S̶  *** CORRECTION*** Select all ***IS*** available on iOS. See below.

Regarding the Apple TV app, we notified the designer of the app with your suggestion to load the collections before loading the assets. It's a great suggestion.

I wanted to give you a brief response here, but also will contact you via email. Again I'm sorry for your frustration and we truly want to resolve your issues to the best of our ability.

Hannah Nicollet

To perform a select all on iOS devices:

1. In the LR app, select the operations menu icon in the upper right corner, looks like "•••"
2. Choose the operation you would like to perform, i.e. "Delete"
3. In the grid view, touch and hold one of the images, and a menu appears below with the option to "Select All" (see image below)