Smart Collection Sync?

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Today’s Question: I saw your presentation about synchronizing photos from Lightroom so I can view and share those photos on my iPad using Lightroom Mobile. I’ve created a smart collection that includes all of my five-star photos, but there is no checkbox to turn on synchronization for this smart collection. Did I miss a step somewhere?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The issue in this case is that you are using a Smart Collection. At least for now, Lightroom is only able to synchronize images via “normal” Collections. Smart Collections can’t be enabled for synchronization to Lightroom Mobile.

More Detail: I would imagine that at some point in the future Adobe will enable the option to synchronize Smart Collections in additional to “normal” Collections, but that’s just a guess on my part. In the meantime, you’ll need to use standard Collections for synchronization to Lightroom Mobile.

The overall synchronization process is actually very simple. The first step is to make sure synchronization is enabled. To do so, first click on the Identity Plate (the Lightroom logo) at the top-left of the Lightroom interface. You should see a “pause” button (two vertical bars) to the right of the “Sync with Lightroom mobile” item. If you see a “play” button (a right-pointing triangle) or the words “Start” you can click that option to enable synchronization.

Next you need to turn on synchronization for one or more collections. If you’ve not already created a collection, you can do that first. In this case, for example, you might want to go to the Smart Collection you’ve already created. Then select all of the photos (choosing Edit > Select All from the menu, for example). Click the “plus” symbol (+) to the right of the Collections header on the left panel, and choose “Create Collection” from the popup that appears.

In the Create Collection dialog you can enter a meaningful name for the new collection. In this case, since you’ve already selected the photos you want to include in the collection you can turn on the “Included selected photos” checkbox. You can also enable the Collection for synchronization by turning on the “Sync with Lightroom mobile” checkbox. Then click the Create button to close the Create Collection dialog and actually create the new Collection.

At this point you’ll see a small icon that looks something like a lightning bolt to the left of the new Collection you created, indicating that this Collection is being synchronized via Lightroom Mobile. You can click on that icon to disable synchronization, of course. And if you want to enable synchronization for an existing Collection you can click in the space where that icon would appear to enable synchronization.

Once synchronization is complete, you can launch the Lightroom Mobile application on your mobile device in order to access all photos that are included in synchronized Collections.