How to sync your iPhone with Lightroom

10 Aug How to sync your iPhone with Lightroom

Here is an easy method to sync your Lightroom library with your iPhone. Kick iPhoto to the curb!

NOTE: If you have an iPhone 6 or 6+, you will need to alter your export settings to take advantage of your larger screen. The iPhones 6 & 6+ are 1334px & 1920px on their longest sides, respectively.

  • Mark Grant
    Posted at 13:12h, 24 September Reply

    Hi Dan,

    You lesson was perfect. Exactly what I, the beginner needed to know.

    My question is, even though I have separate folders for events, that are correct with the sub folders, when they come over the iPhone, they are not in separate albums, they are just in ‘Moments’.

    Where am I going wrong?

  • My 1.6TB Aperture to Lightroom Migration: Managing the Messy Aftermath – Kablog
    Posted at 02:57h, 16 May Reply

    […] my favorite photos to my phone (previously I synched only my older Aperture-library photos). This tutorial looks promising. (I’m disappointed that Lightroom appears unable to automatically publish on […]

  • My 1.6TB Aperture to Lightroom Migration: Managing the Messy Aftermath - Kablog
    Posted at 08:21h, 17 October Reply

    […] phone (previously I synched only my older photos via my Aperture library). This tutorial looks promising. (I’m disappointed that Lightroom appears unable to automatically publish on […]

  • Vanessa
    Posted at 10:42h, 13 October Reply

    I am trying to import my photos from my iphone into lightroom but for some reason it doesn’t find any photos on my iPhone. what am i doing wrong?

  • Janos
    Posted at 15:33h, 05 June Reply

    do you have any suggestion how to preserve iOS settings when importing to lightroom?
    When on the go, I use settings (temperature, contrast, exposure etc) given by iOS and do not want to lose them when importing to LR.
    Any ways to import settings?


  • Jason
    Posted at 20:04h, 22 February Reply

    Thanks for the post. Is that a third-party app you’re using to make your cursor show waves when you click? I couldn’t find anything online that’s current. Thanks!

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 13:15h, 24 March Reply

      Hi Jason –

      Previously, I used a Mac program called iShowU. Now, Quicktime player has screencasting built in (on Mac), including the click halos you are referring to.

  • Fred
    Posted at 11:58h, 12 February Reply

    This worked fine until I got in iTunes. In my iTunes 12.3 there is no way to choose the folder we created. It only wanted to get Photo’s from iCloud. So I can’t tell if iTunes has changed since you created this or if another step is needed to change the option from iCloud.

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 13:16h, 24 March Reply

      Hi Fred –

      We are still working up the new Lightroom workflow that will address the changes to iCloud as well as the addition of Lightroom mobile.

      Thanks for your patience!

  • Paul R
    Posted at 16:39h, 25 September Reply

    Any thoughts on how to control the order of pictures in each album on the phone? The phone is reordering them (possibly chronologically, as shot, but it’s hard to say). I’m exporting with new names, serialized, so numeric/alphabetical order should put them into the correct order. Even when I strip away metadata, the phone shuffles them.

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 10:03h, 28 September Reply

      Hi Paul –

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, there probably never will be an ideal method for syncing iOS with Adobe. That said, there are already some great options with Lightroom mobile, for example. Stay tuned for a big update to my Complete Lightroom Workflow post that will be incorporating these new features of Lightroom mobile into the workflow.



    • Grégory C
      Posted at 11:05h, 20 October Reply

      Same problem here. Do you find any solution ? I’ve already tried to edit capture time or rename file by sequence but it doesn’t change anything. I don’t understand how criteria re-sort photo in IOS App.

      I will try to republish with meta this time.

      • Dan Morris Photography
        Posted at 12:08h, 20 October Reply

        Hi Gregory –

        I understand your frustration. I recommend you completely avoid the iOS photo app. My update to my Complete Lightroom Workflow will show how Lightroom mobile will allow you to bypass iOS photos completely.

        I also recommend getting Best Album and a Google Photos (Picasa) account. You’ll find it a much more powerful (and economical) means of managing your images on your iOS devices via the Lightroom Publishing services. You can see my review of it here.



  • Henry O.
    Posted at 01:32h, 28 July Reply

    I shot RAW using Canon 6D, post processed the RAW files in Lightroom and export them out into JPEG.
    Example i have 50 of these post processed JPEG photos in a folder, and then i use iTunes to sync this folder to my iPhone 6+.

    After it is completed, I went to check on my iPhone and there are only 23 Photos in it. How is that possible? What is wrong? The photos are shot in same format, post processed using same software, and why some of the photos are not transferred into my iPhone?!

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 12:16h, 11 September Reply

      Hi Henry –

      Unfortunately, I can’t offer tech support for iOS. If you follow the instructions, you should see the correct number of JPGs in the folder as you mentioned. Those should sync to your iPhone if you sync via iTunes.

      Some of this is not relevant anymore. I have a new workflow post coming out soon that will address how LR mobile sync prevents the need to even deal with iTunes or Apple Photo.

      You should see the post within the month.



  • Peter Aaron
    Posted at 23:33h, 09 July Reply

    Hi Dan,
    How could you manage ingesting iPhone originals through Lightroom without publishing a second set? It would be nice to sync just one set of images between the phone and computer using Lightroom. Then one could insert metadata, rearrange and rename easily.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.


    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 12:15h, 11 September Reply

      Hi Peter –

      My new workflow post coming out this month will address that. The new mobile sync feature in Lightroom creates a much more seamless experience and prevents the need for exporting images to the iPhone, among other things.



  • Michal
    Posted at 12:11h, 21 April Reply

    Can you elaborate on the image sizing and output sharpening part of the syncing process? I’m just a regular picture-taker. That is, I have a typical point and shoot camera and my iPhone. I use lightroom though… but not for fancy filetypes like .RAW etc… just to help me edit my files without apple photography software. Therefore, if I’m using lightroom to sync my regular JPEG files onto my iPhone, do I need to worry about he image sizing and output sharpening part of the syncing process? Can you give me two what if scenarios? 1) what if I do it your way, as shown in the video? What will happen if I tried to view my photos on my iPhone? what if I wanted to re-import them onto my computer? 2) What if I left the settings as-is… that is, image format, JPEG, colour space: sRGB, and leave the “resize to fit” and “sharpen for” unchecked… What will happen if I tried to view my photos on my iPhone? what if I wanted to re-import them onto my computer? Thanks!!!

  • Sergio
    Posted at 04:53h, 19 April Reply

    Hi, thanks for putting this together. It looks like what i’m looking for but I had a couple of questions:

    How would it handle edits and deletions? Fore example:
    1. I take a pic on the phone
    2. I import pictures to LR (leaving the original images on the phone)
    3. I clean up the pictures in LR, deleting some
    4. I put the pictures I want to remain on the phone in the iPhone Publish Service

    It seems to me that this will cause duplicate photos and will never delete anything I’ve deleted in LR. Sorry, maybe i’m being dense here. Should I delete all the pictures from my phone FIRST, then sync? Would I have to do this every time I have new pictures?

    Thanks… just trying to understand what to look out for when I run this. 🙂

  • Jake Thornberry
    Posted at 20:17h, 14 March Reply

    Dan, this is great! Thanks for the contribution—I just set it up and it works like a charm. However, as I was looking through my library, I noticed that there was a copy of each file I had added to my respective publish services, the original and the resized version. Is this typical or did I take a wrong step into the well-trodden land of user error? (Also, when I tried to add my website, it repeatedly said “please enter a URL.” Is .photo currently not recognized? I tried .com as well. Just wanted to make you aware, just in case.)

  • Meredith
    Posted at 13:51h, 01 November Reply

    Great solution Dan, thank you! Would you change the pixel dimensions for the long side for the iPhone 6? Looks like the pixel dimensions for the phone are 1334 x 750 – wondering if I should increase the ‘resize to long edge’ limit to larger than 900 pixels (as in the video).
    Thank you!

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 13:37h, 06 November Reply

      Thanks for the great input Meredith. I’ll add that in text above the video.


  • RicD
    Posted at 06:55h, 05 October Reply

    Being as Aperture is going away, yes I like Aperture, will moving to Lightroom syncing to my iPhone can I search for a photo by file name, keyword, and the like? That is my main frustration with Aperture/iPhoto syncing; inability to find a requested photo. There have been numerous times I was asked for a particular type of photo, knowing I have it then unable to find it. Within Aperture/iPhoto it is easy and fast to find the photo, not on the iPhone.

    Yes, I know I could put all photos in Dropbox and its ilk, however I do not want to maintain multiple locations; too easy to forget to upload photos. So, what are your recommendations.


    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 12:56h, 06 October Reply

      Hi RicD –

      I do not use Apple photography software at all. I recommend you treat your iPhone like any other camera and import those images into Lightroom.

      From Lightroom, there are myriad options for adding your photos to an online service (including Dropbox which looks to have some impressive future plans) that will allow you to access them from all devices. I use Picasa/Google+’s photo service and it works well. There are publish services in Lightroom which sync your photos to Google+. Your online library then syncs easily with the iOS app Best Album. This app allows you to search by album or keyword.

      As for iPhoto or Aperture, I’m sorry but the only advice I can give is to stop using them.

      Good luck,


  • Marc Zitcer
    Posted at 21:05h, 28 September Reply

    I keep .nef files in my Lightroom catalog. Normally I would export with preset to save .jpegs in a subfolder, and then move those to a desktop folder for the iPhone sync. Is there a way to go directly from the Library to the publish service while doing the file conversion “on the fly”?

  • Hugh
    Posted at 22:48h, 25 September Reply

    I want to go the other way… from iPhone camera to Lightroom. Is there a way to cause Lightroom to open every time my iPhone is plugged into the computer and to grab photos from the iPhone camera?

  • Robert Yanal
    Posted at 11:22h, 15 August Reply


    This works, but …

    You can EITHER sync photos from Aperture OR sync photos from folders BUT NOT BOTH. I have a lot of photos synced from Aperture. If I switch to syncing from photos from folders on my hard drive, the Aperture photos are deleted (and the photos from the hard drive are replaced). Same is true of iPhoto and photos from folders on a hard drive. Either but not both.

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 17:13h, 18 August Reply

      Hi Robert –

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m not sure where Aperture comes into the picture here as this is a sync method for Lightroom. With extensive experience, I have found Aperture to be a far inferior program to Lightroom.

      More importantly, Apple has discontinued it!


  • Lorraine @ This Pilgrim's Progress
    Posted at 06:40h, 04 March Reply

    Can I say thank you!
    This solution works great for my workflow, and even for social media channels.

  • ralf
    Posted at 01:11h, 23 January Reply

    perfect solution 🙂

  • John
    Posted at 14:02h, 04 May Reply

    Thank you for this!

  • crew
    Posted at 08:30h, 26 April Reply

    This isn’t sycing, this is more like how to upload lightroom photos to iphone.

    • Dan Morris Photography
      Posted at 12:10h, 30 April Reply

      Hi Crew –

      Thanks for your comment.

      Actually, it is the best method I am aware of to sync your Lightroom photos with an iPhone. It is only one additional step beyond what is required to sync with your iPhoto library. In iPhoto, you must still group your photos into albums and then choose which albums to sync in iTunes.

      With this method, you group your photos into albums in Lightroom and then publish them (short additional step). Other than that, the procedures are pretty similar.

      If you know of a better way, by all means let me know and I will look at it!



      • Gerard Murphy
        Posted at 11:59h, 17 February Reply

        Hi Dan,

        Good post!

        Since you asked, there is a way you can truly sync some of your Lightroom images to your iPad / iPhone. You need to use the Mosaic App that helps you do this.

        Thank you for telling folks about the power of Lightroom. Best, Gerard

        • Dan Morris Photography
          Posted at 12:34h, 17 February Reply

          Hi Gerard –

          Thanks for your input. I look forward to checking this out!


  • alan
    Posted at 17:45h, 23 November Reply

    Nice Job – thanks

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    Posted at 07:17h, 26 March Reply

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