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iPhone photos import issue

Selwin

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Operating System
  1. macOS 10.14 Mojave
  2. iOS
Hello all,
After lots of LR updates on from LR6 to now Classic CC and numerous OSX -> MacOS and dot releases I still have the same issue, with three iPhone incarnations.
#1: There are no photos to import, when clearly there are and disconnecting / reconnecting iPhone lightning cable does help (sometimes restarting LR or Mac is necessary)
#2: The following files were not imported because they could not be read or the destination folder is not writable

Basically, using my phone as a camera is becoming such a nuisance when importing is due that I am looking for a shirt pocket P&S. But I have my phone with me always so I would really like to make this work.
Issues happen as from iPhone 5s, then 6splus now 8plus. iOS 9, 10, 11 and now 12.1.3 (fully updated), MacOS El Capitan through Mojave, now 10.14.2. Classic CC version 8.1. Oh I almost forgot: the issue appears on three different macs with different OS versions too.

I searched these forums as well as others and I found quite a lot of reports of similar issues, however none of them result in a fix. All I read is the usual "did you upgrade to the latest version" and such. After so many years of issues I kinda expected to find a thread (or some) containing detailed descriptions of the issues and the fixes. Now that I don't find that, I am almost starting to think it could be hardware related, even though as I said above the same issues appear on different pieces of hardware and software.

My workaround is this:
1. Try to import part of the photos and videos and delete all successfully imported ones from the iPhone. This is trial and error and very tedious as LR hangs whenever I stumble across photos or videos that refuse to import so I need to restart everything.
2. Isolate the troublesome photos and videos and copy them over directly from the MacOS photos app, by using the "show contents" command when right clicking the photo library in Finder.

To be complete I shoot photos and videos using the proprietary photos app in iOS, as well as a photo app called Halide, which is able to shoot RAW photos. Before anyone picks up from this piece of info: the troublesome photos and videos are always .JPG and .MOV, never the RAWs. In fact the halide RAWs are the ones I can start off with without issues.

So I apologise for the long post but I wanted the issue description and further info to be complete. I hope someone can point me to a lead of interest.

Thanks!
 
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Do you use any other camera apps Lee? A camera app having its own designation would be my best guess.
 
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Google's not turning up anything useful either. It might be interesting to find out whether they already have those names in Photos app (ruling out Lightroom). I don't think Photos can show the filenames, but there are exif viewer apps that may be able to do so.
 
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To be honest, I don't really know why any user with a Lightroom subscription should need to jump through those hoops to get their phone pictures into Lightroom. My workflow is fairly simple:

  1. Take picture/video.
  2. Wait a minute or two and picture/video appears in Lightroom (in the appropriate dated sub-folder and in my designated workflow collection).
Of course, it needs to be setup correctly, but that's just a matter of getting the settings correct on the phone and in Lightroom, and after that it's a totally seamless process which works consistently.
I would love it if things worked that simply for me! I have to have a step 1.5 to make this work, so for me, it works like this:
  1. Take picture(s)/video(s)
  2. Manually start up Lightroom CC on my iPhone, and wait for LR CC on the iPhone to (slowly) auto import the images taken on my iPhone since the last time I did this
  3. Wait (even longer) for Lightroom CC on the iPhone to upload the pictures to the cloud
  4. Now the pictures/videos appear in Lightroom CC (Desktop)
I DO have LR CC (iPhone) set to auto import, but it doesn't happen until I manually start up LR CC (iPhone).

Perhaps I am missing a setting somewhere? LR CC (iPhone) doesn't work in the background automatically (at least not until I open it up—after opening it I can work in other apps, turn off the screen, etc. and it will reliably work in the background).

This behavior is the same for me on my iPhone 6S and my wife's iPhone 8.
 
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It does occur to me that there may be a crucial difference between my workflow and that of Jim's. I take iPhone pix with the built-in camera app. If Jim takes his iPhone pix with the LR CC app, then the app is already open and the syncing should occur as quickly as he describes.
 
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It does occur to me that there may be a crucial difference between my workflow and that of Jim's. I take iPhone pix with the built-in camera app. If Jim takes his iPhone pix with the LR CC app, then the app is already open and the syncing should occur as quickly as he describes.
Correct. But having to start the LRCC app after taking pictures with a different camera app still isn't a problem for me. Yes, I have to wait a few seconds for the auto-import to occur, but usually no more than that.
 
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It's an iOS limitation. On Android, it can import in the background.
 

Selwin

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I just delete everything from Photos app once it's in CC and uploaded to the cloud, so I don't have to track two copies.
I do understand what you say. But I am still puzzled why on earth I would use the iPhone Lightroom CC app to get my photos in Lightroom Classic CC. I've been trying it out for a couple of weeks now and managing is kind of hard. My workflow is:
1. Set the LR CC iPhone app to "automatically import photos and videos from film roll"
2. In LR Classic CC desktop app I checked "Specify location for Lightroom CC ecosystem's images: "/Volumes/masters/LR CC cloud sync"
3. Shoot images and videos on iPhone, the content is stored both in the Apple photo library and in the LR CC iPhone app in "Lightroom Mobile Current"
4. All images and videos are nicely imported in to LR CC (web based, I checked) and subsequently sync'ed to the LR CC cloud sync folder, organised in date stamped sub folders.

Now what?

My base objective is to always remove all photos from the LR CC photo library. I always process my photos to completion on my computer, not on my phone or iPad. Only a few percent of iPhone pics make it back to CC anyway and they will be shared as part of a synced collection.

So:
5. in LR Classic CC, I move the date stamped folders out of the "LR CC cloud sync" folder to my usual folder hierarchy (organise per camera and below that per date)
6. I process the photos on my computer
Strange thing is that even though I moved the date stamped folders out of the "LR CC cloud sync" folder on my computer (step 5), edits I process on my computer are still synced to my phone, because when I look in the iOS LR CC app I see those changes. So the link is not broken by moving the pictures.

7. On my phone, I delete the entire contents of the "Lightroom Mobile Current" folder from time to time
Strange thing here is that even though there's still a link that updates edits across LR Classic CC - iPhone - iPad, deleting the photos from the "Lightroom Mobile Current" folder on my iPhone does not delete those pictures from my classic CC catalog. It's good this way, because I don't want to lose those photos from my LR Classic catalog. But the link apparently works for edits, not for deletion.

8. Like you Victoria I delete the Apple photo library too once I have everything in CC

Q1. Is this a common workflow?
Q2. For my use case, wouldn't a simple weekly tethered import from iPhone to Mac using the proprietary MacOS "Image Capture" app be a whole lot easier?
- No need to delete the photos from the LR CC app (tedious)
- I already have a synced collection in my LR Classic catalog "Current work" that I sync to the LR CC ecosystem so I can edit the last shoot on iPhone and iPad. On my computer, I can simply remove those photos from that collection once they are done
 

Selwin

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There is another hassle. After just successfully completing steps 5-8 on my iPhone, all seems well.
I have about 8 images on my iPhone in Lightroom Mobile Current
I have a synced collection with 129 Australia images
I have 14 images in Current work

Then I open the LR CC app on my iPad and I get error messages in LR Classic CC on my computer. Suddenly LR Classic CC starts "Syncing 103 photos" where before all was synced. This is probably happening because on the iPad those deleted photos were already synced and now they are missing in my classic CC catalog.
On my iPad now are 258 images,
- 129 of which belong to a synced collection of australia pics,
- 14 are part of current work,
- 32 are in Lightroom Mobile Current (and I now have 24 more pics in the Lightroom Mobile Current folder on my iPhone that I just deleted successfully so that is a hassle too
So 83 on the iPad are pictures I had on my iPhone but I deleted them before
LR Classic CC catalog gets stuck "Syncing 103 photos"
New images I shoot with my iPhone are not synced to my LR Classic CC catalog, probably because it's stuck syncing other images that are not in the LR CC ecosystem.

When I check my iPhone I notice that many of the images that I deleted from my iPhone LR CC app and that were still on my iPad have been synced back to my iPhone. Sigh.

Basically it's a mess.

If I did something inappropriate that caused this I'd really like to know. I appreciate your help! :)
 
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I wish I could say that I understood exactly when and how LR deals with photos that are syncing and what causes them to sync or not sync.

My workflow is similar to yours, Selwin, but not quite as complex.

  1. I let LR CC sync photos from both my iPhone and my wife’s iPhone to LR Classic on my desktop. This part of the process works fairly seamlessly, though I do have to remember to launch LR CC on the iPhones from time to time, because although LR CC on the iPhone will continue to sync in the background AFTER it is launched, it won’t automatically start syncing in the background without a manual launch first.
  2. Once the images are synced to the desktop, they appear in LR Classic in THREE places:
    1. In the Folders pane at the bottom in the special folders LR Classic sets up for the PHYSICAL images LR syncs from the cloud.
    2. In the Catalog pane in “All Synced Photographs”
    3. In the Collections pane under “From LR Mobile”
  3. I now move the images from within LR Classic from the “special folders” to my previously established folder tree
    1. NOTE: This does NOT remove the images from “All Synced Photographs” nor from the “From LR Mobile” collection
  4. Because I only use the Adobe cloud to get images from the iPhones to my desktop, I now delete the photos from “All Synced Photographs.”
About 75% of the time (a very rough estimate), that’s that...my images are where I want them in LR Classic and they aren’t syncing. BUT, periodically, I notice one or more of the following:
  1. The image count in “All Synced Photographs” does not match the image count in the “From LR Mobile” folder, even though I know I have not put any of those photos in any other synced collection (I don’t have any!).
  2. The image count in “All Synced Photographs” does not match the image count of the synced photos when I go to Lightroom on the web.
  3. The image counts in “All Synced Photographs,” the synced photos visible on Lightroom on the web, and the photos in LR CC on the iPhone do not match.
At that point, I have these additional steps to my workflow:
  1. I silently curse Adobe for mucking things up with the sync
  2. I silently curse myself for not having given up yet on using LR CC and the cloud to sync photos from the iPhone to LR Classic
  3. I spend some time making sure that the various photos that seem to be hanging around these various locations where they shouldn’t be really are physically on my desktop hard drive so I don’t accidentally lose images I want
  4. I delete the contents of “All Synced Photographs” and the “From LR Mobile” collections (sometimes, but not always, doing the first takes care of the second)
  5. I go to Lightroom on the web and after letting the sync take place from step 4 I delete anything I see hanging around there
  6. I go to LR CC on the iPhone and after letting the sync take place from steps 4&5 I delete anything I see hanging around in LR CC on the iPhone.
 

Selwin

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Okay I went to the Adobe CC web interface and deleted the same photos again (about 80). Now the LR Classic CC catalog says syncing only 2 photos, but it still gets stuck. So I decided to systematically start removing photo's from CC cloud ecosystem (from iPhone, from iPad, from web interface) until the classic CC catalog would finally clear its sync queue. It finally did after deleting one particular photo.
I don't know if this will happen again, but I will give it another week to find out.

Edit: @camber I just noticed you posted while I was composing this message. Will check out your workflow after diner time (it's 6:37 PM here in Europe).
 

Selwin

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I wish I could say that I understood exactly when and how LR deals with photos that are syncing and what causes them to sync or not sync.

My workflow is similar to yours, Selwin, but not quite as complex.

  1. I let LR CC sync photos from both my iPhone and my wife’s iPhone to LR Classic on my desktop. This part of the process works fairly seamlessly, though I do have to remember to launch LR CC on the iPhones from time to time, because although LR CC on the iPhone will continue to sync in the background AFTER it is launched, it won’t automatically start syncing in the background without a manual launch first.
  2. Once the images are synced to the desktop, they appear in LR Classic in THREE places:
    1. In the Folders pane at the bottom in the special folders LR Classic sets up for the PHYSICAL images LR syncs from the cloud.
    2. In the Catalog pane in “All Synced Photographs”
    3. In the Collections pane under “From LR Mobile”
  3. I now move the images from within LR Classic from the “special folders” to my previously established folder tree
    1. NOTE: This does NOT remove the images from “All Synced Photographs” nor from the “From LR Mobile” collection
  4. Because I only use the Adobe cloud to get images from the iPhones to my desktop, I now delete the photos from “All Synced Photographs.”
About 75% of the time (a very rough estimate), that’s that...my images are where I want them in LR Classic and they aren’t syncing. BUT, periodically, I notice one or more of the following:
  1. The image count in “All Synced Photographs” does not match the image count in the “From LR Mobile” folder, even though I know I have not put any of those photos in any other synced collection (I don’t have any!).
  2. The image count in “All Synced Photographs” does not match the image count of the synced photos when I go to Lightroom on the web.
  3. The image counts in “All Synced Photographs,” the synced photos visible on Lightroom on the web, and the photos in LR CC on the iPhone do not match.
At that point, I have these additional steps to my workflow:
  1. I silently curse Adobe for mucking things up with the sync
  2. I silently curse myself for not having given up yet on using LR CC and the cloud to sync photos from the iPhone to LR Classic
  3. I spend some time making sure that the various photos that seem to be hanging around these various locations where they shouldn’t be really are physically on my desktop hard drive so I don’t accidentally lose images I want
  4. I delete the contents of “All Synced Photographs” and the “From LR Mobile” collections (sometimes, but not always, doing the first takes care of the second)
  5. I go to Lightroom on the web and after letting the sync take place from step 4 I delete anything I see hanging around there
  6. I go to LR CC on the iPhone and after letting the sync take place from steps 4&5 I delete anything I see hanging around in LR CC on the iPhone.

I studied your workflow and fixes. So glad there's at least one other user struggling with similar issues. And one who's apparently considering to give up ;). I checked my panes. I now have 144 synced photographs.
129 australia pics in a synced collection
1 virtual copy of one of the 129 australia pics that I created last week (some time after creating and syncing the collection) that apparently automatically syncs to the CC cloud but it isn't in my australia collection because I didn't add it.
8 images in my LR ecosystem sync folder "LR CC cloud sync". These are eight new photos I shot tonight and they synced well.
4 images in my "current work" collection.

These numbers reflect the numbers in my classic desktop catalog.

Then I have 166 synced duplicates. These are images that I imported using the old way (connect iPhone USB cable and import) on top of the automated cloud sync. Apparently LR classic CC imported the physical file only once and created VC's for each duplicate. So I need to check which of the duplicates I processed and toss the rest. -- And stick to one import method only from now on --.

I wrote quite some text today but the bottom line question is why use sync if it's only for importing -- weekly tethered imports are much less work because I don't need to delete any photos in my iOS LR CC app.

If some of us like to work on our freshly shot images before getting to our computers (on the bus / train / plane) then yes sure, having LR CC iOS app import the camera roll is a very smart concept. This is the only reason why I will continue to evaluate this method for a couple of weeks more and then see where I get.
 

Selwin

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To be honest, I don't really know why any user with a Lightroom subscription should need to jump through those hoops to get their phone pictures into Lightroom. My workflow is fairly simple:

  1. Take picture/video.
  2. Wait a minute or two and picture/video appears in Lightroom (in the appropriate dated sub-folder and in my designated workflow collection).

Of course, it needs to be setup correctly, but that's just a matter of getting the settings correct on the phone and in Lightroom, and after that it's a totally seamless process which works consistently.
Coming back to an old topic, but I found that when using your automatic work flow, iPhone Live Photos don't import well, only the JPEG/HEIC part of it.
 

Selwin

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Yes, Image Capture will import Live Photos (well, the still and the mov separately) which can then be imported into LR. Alternatively, syncing the entire iPhone library to a Mac (along with iPad photos if present) and then Menu -> Archive ->Export -> Export unchanged original (or smth of the like, my version is Dutch) does the same. But it is a two step process. Either way, LR cannot handle the Apple Live Photos container so there will be a JPG/HEIC along with a MOV in Lightroom. But at least you'll have the option to use it.
In a workflow where all photos are consequently taken off of the iPhone (after LR import) this is an acceptable route for me. If applied carefully as described, the still and the video file can in fact be reimported into Apple's photo library and will end up in Apple's Live Photo container again, and subsequently be categorised as a Live Photo in the toolbar.
The whole point of my workflow is that I want to do the culling in Lightroom, apply my flag/rating/keyword/Edit workflow in LR, then create collections of those series and export them back into Apple's photo library so they will get synced to my phone and AppleTV 4k.
 
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I found this thread because I have the same problem as noted in the original post: LR Classic 9.1 hangs during import from an iPhone connected via USB cable. It imports photos just fine, but not the videos. Has anyone found an actual solution to this problem? It's clearly a bug in LRCC. This thread offers workarounds and alternate workflows. For me, any workflow involving the cloud is a non-starter because I often live and work in places without Internet access, or with slow/expensive Internet access – and anyway, a cable is always faster than any wireless link or cloud connection.
 
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Yes, one can use Image Capture to import photos/videos onto a Desktop, then drag them into LR Classic CC, but you should be careful if you are using a recent iPhones with HEIC capability. Unless you've set your iPhone's camera settings to "maintain compatibility", which I would not recommend, it captures images and videos in HEIC format. I understand the re-compression from HEIC to JPG, and conversion to JPG's limited sRGB color space, is likely to reduce image quality. So I try to avoid it.

By default, Image Capture converts photos to JPG on import, unless you set the little "Keep originals" checkbox in the lower-left corner. Airdrop will transfer the files as HEIC. LR Classic CC can import photos in their native HEIC format.

LR Classic CC imports Live photos as a pair of files (HEIC + MOV), as already noted. Image Capture imports Live photos as a pair of files (HEIC + MOV if you "Keep originals", otherwise JPG + MOV).
 
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Hi dfkotz, welcome to the forum! Which operating system version are you using? There's a bunch of issues with Catalina 10.5.2 right now.
 
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Hmmmm, that's not expected. What happens when videos are included in your iPhone import? DynamicMediaServer goes a bit nuts if you look in Activity Monitor?
 

Selwin

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Do you happen to have an app called “Soundflower” installed? It calls Mojave’s videotoolbox and may cause trouble. I got rid of it. If not, check your activity monitor like the queen suggested. Select CPU and sort cpu % descending. Any 100+ processes are interesting. When I encounter iPhone import issues (I regularly experienced the “no photos found” issue) I could always solve it by rebooting my Mac. You could download and run the free GO64 app to see if you have any 32bit apps left, something inevitable to do anyway if you are planning for Catalina.
finally, go to the App Store and download Etrecheck (free) and see what it comes up with.
if all this doesn’t solve it please report back.
 
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Hi @dfkotz,

I gave up a long time ago trying to import directly from my iPhones into Lightroom. It just seemed to be one problem after another. I am also the family photo archivist. So I am regularly pulling images and videos from both my and my wife's iPhones and importing them into my Lightroom catalog.

The solution that I use is the PhotoSync app that runs on IOS and my Mac. On the IOS side it keeps track of everything that it has transferred so only transfers the new images and videos. It is a two step process similar to image transfer but much easier implement. I simply start the app on either iPhone or iPad and tell it to transfer all the new images.

You have a user defined folder structure on the receiving Mac. There some canned presets that you can use or you can define your own. I currently use a custom one that puts the images and videos into separate folders because I treat them a little differently when importing. In the Lightroom Import dialog I use the "Move" option. This cleans out the PhotoSync folders and puts the images into my standard data based Lightroom folder structure.

The PhotoSync developers have done a very good job of keeping up with all the changes in IOS and MacOS, much better than Adobe. Adobe seems to want us to all move to CC but I'm not about to pay another $9.99 just so my wife can sync her iPhone photos to CC.

I hope that you my find this useful.

-louie
 

Selwin

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Hi dfkotz,
Good suggestions by Louie. Here is another. If you happen to have iCloud Photo Library turned on on both your iOS device and your Mac, all of your photos and videos will be synced to your Mac’s Photos app. From there you can “export” any selection you wish to hard drive, switch to LR, import that folder and perform the “move” command like Louie suggests. Alternatively, you can copy them to your library and apply file/folder actions like date stamped folders.
Many here use the LR CC iOS app sync feature which gets your iPhone photos into LR automatically. Downside of that approach is that when you need to delete photos off your iOS device you must delete them twice.

choices choices...
 
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Thanks all!

@victoria, I have not been able to reproduce the problem recently but will watch Activity Monitor next time, to see what I can learn.

@Selwin, I do not have SoundFlower installed.

@Louie, I appreciate the tips. I'd like to avoid use of another app like PhotoSync, but will definitely consider it.

@Selwin, I do not use iCloud Photo Library because I do not like my phone auto-uploading photos to the cloud. Too often I am in a situation with weak connectivity, or expensive connectivity, and don't like to have my phone doing big uploads in the background. (Especially since I do not always want to keep all my photos or videos - many are just temporary and get discarded the same day.) I'm just starting to use the LR Mobile app on my phone, but am skeptical - for the same reason, I dislike automatic/background cloud-sync features.

I am also not happy that the LR-mobile photos automatically appear in LR, without going through the Import dialog, and thus do not have any of my standard import presets applied. (File renaming, Develop presets, Metadata presets, Keywords, etc.)

The other path I've used is AirDrop. For a small number of photos, this works pretty well - like Louie's PhotoSync approach, I just AirDrop them to the Mac, then import them to LR.

Anyway, I'll let you all know if this problem happens again and I find more information.
 
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