Lightroom Classic 9.3: HEIC files giver error "The file appears to be unsupported or damaged" in Develop module

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  • Updated 2 weeks ago
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  • (Edited)
New update 9.3 LR Classic for mac doesn't work with HEIC files properly. Sometimes it writes "The file appears to be unsupported or damaged" in Develop module, but the file is 100% not damaged. What is it? How can it be fixed?
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PY

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Posted 1 month ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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This is likely a rare condition, otherwise we'd see tons of reports about it by now, which means it will be harder to troubleshoot. To start:

1. Please copy/paste here the first ten lines of Help > System Info.

2. What are the exact steps you're taking to get the .heics into your LR catalog?

2. Upload one of the .heic's that's causing the problem to Dropbox or similar and post the sharing link here. That could give additional clues.
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Grzegorz Sieradzki

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Are you sure it's a rare condition? I have exactly the same situation. Moreover, I cannot export HEIC files from LR Classic!
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Are you sure it's a rare condition?"

Reasonably sure. I actively participate in this forum, Adobe's "community" forum, and the Lightroom Queen forum, and there have been only a few reports of problems with HEIC files since 9.3 was released. Given how popular iPhones are and how many people use LR with iPhones, if there was a widespread issue, we'd almost certainly see many more reports. 
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PY

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Hello John!

Lightroom Classic version: 9.3 [ 202005281810-476e492c ]
License: Creative Cloud
Language setting: en
Operating system: Mac OS 10
Version: 10.15.5 [19F101]
Application architecture: x64
Logical processor count: 4
Processor speed: 3,3 GHz
SqLite Version: 3.30.1
Built-in memory: 16 384,0 MB
Real memory available to Lightroom: 16 384,0 MB
Real memory used by Lightroom: 972,4 MB (5,9%)
Virtual memory used by Lightroom: 9 517,3 MB
Memory cache size: 579,6MB
Internal Camera Raw version: 12.3 [ 493 ]
Maximum thread count used by Camera Raw: 3
Camera Raw SIMD optimization: SSE2,AVX,AVX2
Camera Raw virtual memory: 317MB / 8191MB (3%)
Camera Raw real memory: 318MB / 16384MB (1%)
Displays: 1) 2880x1800

Graphics Processor Info: 
Metal: Intel(R) Iris(TM) Graphics 550

and the link to the file:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1zRf4b8st42_E0ijjDaYJI6he12-A-ZXn?usp=sharing


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PY

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and the steps: I import files from my iPhone as usual via the cable, the files are reported damaged or unsupported only in the Develop module. In the Library they are handled without problems, metadata can be changed and saved to original files, face detection works fine. But I can't export such files.


I also tried to downgrade to previous version of LR 9.2.1 and see the same behavior. Rebooting doesn't help. All other file types jpg, tiff, png, cr2, raf are handled well.
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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My LR 9.3 / Mac OS 10.15.5 doesn't have any issue taking that photo into Develop. I don't see anything unusual with its metadata.

Do you get the error message every time you go into Develop or just some of the time?

Is the photo located on the internal drive, an external drive, or network drive?
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PY

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Yes, every time. there is a little difference, sometimes the right pane is active. I uploaded screenshots and files to the shared folder. The files are on the external drive, but I have moved one to the internal drive and got same results.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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A couple hypotheses:

1. Try turning off the graphics processor by setting Preferences > Performance > Use Graphics Processor to Off.

2. Try running hardware diagnostics, most especially a memory test, including one in Apple diagnostics and perhaps "memtest" from the command line, if you're comfortable running command-line utilities:
https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac/how-test-for-bad-or-faulty-ram-on-mac-3640485/
https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/diagnose-problems-mh35727/mac

If there's a failing memory block with just a few bits going bad, that could be just enough to trip up LR's decoding of HEIC files but not necessarily other formats, which may be less sensitive to corrupted bytes.  LR uses much more memory than most other apps you run, so you might not notice the bad memory when running other apps.

A hardware problem could explain why only a couple people have encountered this.
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PY

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John, thank you!
Your RAM-failure hypothesis may become true, because today I had a few unexpected OS reboots. Actually, it was not the case previously.
I have to check your idea more thoroughly.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I assume turning off the GPU didn't solve the problem?  

Please update this thread if you learn anything new. 
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PY

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I can't answer for sure. I have turned it off as you suggested and could notice a little progress. But this is definitely not the true cause of the problem in my case
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PY

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Hello John! Not sure the problem has been finally solved yet, but after purging LR application cache I can't catch the error again for almost an hour doing the same I did before ;) Thank you for your help!
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PY

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Yes, it IS solved!
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PY

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I can work with my HEIC files and that's all that matters.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Please post back if you learn more about your hardware or if you experience more problems with HEIC files.  If others experience this same issue, what you've posted here will be very helpful to them.
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PY

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I have wasted enough time and gave all information. Adobe devs should better test the products they release
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Grzegorz Sieradzki

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Oh a mighty yes to that!!! I have the same problem and will try to run the same remedy tomorrow. Are you able to export your HEIC files from LR classic?
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PY

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yes, I also couldn't export HEIC files, purging cache solved this problem too