Photos to Smartphone for Sharing


Today’s Question: How can I get a set of photos (in several different named folders) from my desktop Windows computer onto my iPhone? Sync via iTunes is supposed to work and sort of does but about 10% of the photos never copy. Can I somehow use Lightroom Classic on desktop to get those photos onto the iPhone?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think the simplest way to get photos from Lightroom Classic to a smartphone is to enable synchronization of collections of photos, which will then appear as albums in the Lightroom mobile app. This works great for both iPhone and Android smartphones.

More Detail: While you can use iTunes on Windows (or the built-in feature in MacOS) to synchronize photos to an iPhone, the process isn’t particularly streamlined, and I have heard from more than a few photographers who have struggled with getting synchronization to work consistently using iTunes for Windows.

If you’re already using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos, I think the easiest approach to getting selected photos onto your smartphone is to synchronize photos via collections in Lightroom Classic.

The first step is to create collections for the photos you want to synchronize to your smartphone and add photos to those collections. Then enable synchronization for the collections that contain photos you want to have on your smartphone. When you hover the mouse pointer over the name of a collection in the Collections section of the left panel in the Library module, you’ll see an icon to the left of the collection name. An empty box indicates that synchronization is not enabled, and you can click that box to turn on synchronization. A double-headed arrow that resembles a lightning bolt indicates that synchronization is enabled.

Once synchronization is enabled for one or more collections, the photos within those collections will be saved to the cloud. With Lightroom Classic those copies are smart previews, meaning they are saved as Adobe DNG files at a reduced resolution of about 2500 pixels on the long side.

You can then launch the Lightroom app on your mobile device, making sure you are signed in with the same Adobe ID used in Lightroom Classic. All collections you synchronized from Lightroom Classic will appear as albums within the Lightroom mobile app, making it easy to share those photos with others. Also, any changes you make to the images within the Lightroom mobile app, such as applying adjustments, will synchronize back to Lightroom Classic so you’ll see the updates there.