Download from Smartphone Before Import


Today’s Question: Why not download [photos from a smartphone] with Lightroom Classic? It is the same process and saves a step.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The main reason I don’t import photos into Lightroom Classic directly from a smartphone is that there isn’t an option to delete the photos from the smartphone once the import is complete. Therefore, I download smartphone photos using other software that allows for deletion, importing into Lightroom Classic as part of this process.

More Detail: With most cameras you can import photos directly from the memory card (or directly from the camera) into Lightroom Classic, and then format the card in the camera to delete the photos so you’re ready to capture new images. That process can be a bit cumbersome on a smartphone, especially with an iPhone, since there isn’t a simple “format card” option for deleting all photos that you’ve downloaded.

Normally I would very much prefer to import into Lightroom Classic directly from the media used to capture the images, but for smartphones I make an exception.

As addressed in yesterday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, you can use Adobe Bridge to download photos to your computer. For example, you could initiate the download using the Photo Downloader feature in Bridge, with the option to delete photos enabled. Once the download is complete, don’t click on a button in the confirmation dialog for deleting photos, but rather switch to Lightroom Classic. Import the photos into Lightroom Classic, taking advantage of the option to make a second copy of the photos in another location. After that import is complete you can return to Bridge to confirm the deletion of the photos that were downloaded.

I wrote an article that goes through this workflow in detail for the April 2022 issue of Pixology magazine. Pixology is included at no additional cost in the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle (, but is also available as a standalone subscription (with back issues included) here: