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Synced photos not showing in LRC

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Nancy Everds

Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Oct 9, 2021
Seattle, WA
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version Number
LR Classic 12.4
Operating System
  1. macOS 13 Ventura
I'd like some advice on fixing my photos that have come from LRmobile. I'm not sure exactly how I ended up with what I have. Somehow, I have many subfolders (39 of them) in my sync from cloud folder, but the files are no longer in those subfolders (I'm pretty sure they used to be in subfolders...). I made a chart thinking that would be clearer than text (see below), but please let me know if you need clarification or additional information.
  • I used LRM while on vacation, and synced all vacay photos when I returned to internet world. The days that I was on vacation match the date range of the subcollections in the Collections from LR.
  • My vacay and post-vacay cell phone photos all seem to be in the sync from cloud folder.
  • Since returning from vacation, the only photos that would have come into LRC from LR mobile would be cellphone photos. The dates on those photos look like they match the empty subfolders in sync from cloud folder.
  • I transitioned from PC to MAC a few weeks ago. My specified folder for synced images is synced from cloud with subfolders by date. I'm not sure that this preference came over to macworld--I might have had to reenter the destination. I don't know if there was a problem before the transition.
This is what I have
>All synced photos 3302
sync from cloud foldertotal images33013298
Created date is wrong in finder for many images, but seems right in LRC--due to xmp?
39 total folders, date range 20230206 to 20230615 (post vacation--cell phone photos)all folders empty (showing 0) and no photos showing when I click on foldersall folders empty except 4 folders with one image each
From Lightroom
total images 2304subcollections from 20221215 to 20230130 (time when I was on vacation)checked location of several photos in this collection--all in sync from cloud
Have you checked in the parent folder of the synced from cloud folder? If you have changed computers, did you also change the download location for your synced from cloud images, and if so did you accept the generated message to have the images moved from the old to the new location? If all the answers are "yes" then you should find the images in the root of the synced from cloud folder (when changing the location of the folder, and letting LrC move the images to the new location, it dumps them all into the root of the parent folder and does not honour the existing dated sub-folders).

I'd also ignore what Finder is reporting, my experience is that is can be very inaccurate (for one thing, each sub-folder containing downloaded images from the cloud will also have an "info.lua" file added which Finder will count but LrC will not). Also Finder doesn't show capture date, which LrC does if it exists.
Thanks, I think that's likely what. happened. But I'm still confused. Are images that have been synced from cloud always different from those that were originally imported into LRC? My understanding is that once you synced, then LRC had the original file and it was no different from something you imported from a card reader. For example, with this hard drive structure below, why were the synced folders dumped into the root directory, and other photos from the last 20 years remained in their date based folders? Shouldn't the synced files be indistinguishable from the camera card files?

MY PHOTOS parent folder
>>ALL CAMERA PHOTOS folder with photos from camera card in date-based subfolders
>>SYNCED FROM CLOUD folder with date-based subfolders
Without knowing how you've setup the the download location for synced files I can't give you a definitive answer. Post a screenshot of the LrC Preferences>Lightroom Sync tab.

FWIW, my location settings are set in such a way that all my images, synced or imported, end up in the same date-based folder scheme....so if I import images shot today from a card and I also take a picture on my phone today, they'll all end up in the same dated sub-folder.
Thanks--here is a screenshot on the mac, and I thought it was what I had done on the PC. I also had vacation photos (7 weeks of photos) that I'd downloaded from LR last spring into date folders under a folder called permanent photos, and they all ended up back in the sync from LR root folder, and the date folders were empty (end of 2022/beginning 2023--hard to show on a screenshot). Again, I don't know if I did something wrong or this happened as a result of migrating from PC to Mac (although all my photos are on an external HD). I'd like to know why this happened so I can set it up correctly.
I agree that all one folder system would be best. How do you assure that? To do this, I suppose you just change the folder where synced photos should go every year?

Screenshot 2023-07-12 at 11.07.32 AM.png
Screenshot 2023-07-12 at 11.15.52 AM.png
Screenshot 2023-07-12 at 11.16.23 AM.png
I'm still not fully certain about what happened, so can you post another screenshot of the Folders Panel which shows the "Sync from cloud" folder and its sub-folders. But before taking that screenshot can you go to the Library menu and ensure that the option to "Show Photos in Sub-folders" is unchecked (re-enable it after the screenshot if that's your preference).

Regarding my own use, I have one Parent Folder under which all the year folders and sub-folders are automatically created. I don't create new folders on an annual basis, they are created automatically. So I just make sure that the location on the Lightroom Sync tab is set to the same parent folder as I use in my Import Preset when importing from camera cards, and the same date format is specified in both places as well. That way it all works seamlessly, there is no differentiation between sync downloads and card imports.
I think it's complicated because there are 2 sets of photos that were in LR mobile and ended up in the sync from cloud root folder .

Cellphone photos
Based on the original response to my post, I refiled the cell phone photos back to where they had been (39 empty subfolders in sync from cloud) by moving them within LRC. They seem to be happy.

That leaves about 3006 images in the root folder sync from cloud (almost all NZ vacay photos). See the first screenshot below (this is with unclicked show images in subfolders).
  • These photos still show up in Collections in dated subfolders (see second screen capture)
  • They photos are no longer are in the folder date-based folders that I moved them to in my main folder (I call it photos_permanent--to distinguish from others that I'm still trying to organize). However, the date based subfolders (empty) are still there. It's hard to show because the vacay photos are from end 2022/beginning 2023, so I've included 2 screen shots (last 2 screenshots).
I just wonder how the heck this happened! I can fix it by moving all the images back to their correct date subfolder, but I can't figure out how I got here and what I should/shouldn't be doing!
Thanks for looking at this!

photos_permanent toppart.png
When you (presumably) moved to the mac and changed the download location to that "Sync from cloud" folder, LrC will download all subsequent sync downloads to that new parent folder and store them in the date-based sub-folder scheme that you selected. However, at the time of changing that location LrC also asks you if you wish it to move the previously downloaded images from the original location to the new location (to which I assume you said "yes"). When it moves images from old to new location it unfortunately drops the dated sub-folder scheme and puts all the moved photos into the root of the new parent folder. Any collection data is unaffected, i.e. moved images that are already in collections remain in those collections. When it does the move, it leaves the original sub-folders in place, but now with a zero photo-count.

That might explain all of the issue that you are seeing, but it sounds as though it might not be the full story.

One additional theory (and without some complicated testing it'll remain just a theory) is that LrC remembers which photos where initially "imported" from the cloud, no matter where they are currently placed in the catalog. So, assume you originally had Parent Folder A specified as the download location, with a dated sub-folder scheme. Subsequently you moved some images, using the LrC folders panel, from the Parent Folder A into the master Parent Folder for your entire library (i.e. the "Photos permanent" folder). Some time after that you changed the download location from Parent Folder A to Parent Folder Z, then said "yes" to the "Do you want to move existing images". That would move all existing photos from Parent Folder A and drop them into the root of Parent Folder Z, but if my theory is correct it will also move all previous sync downloads from "Photos permanent" into the root of Parent Folder Z (thus leaving those empty sub-folders under "Photos permanent".

As I said, it's only a theory at this stage, though it does fit the symptoms that you are describing. I'll try to test that at some point and if it's correct I'll submit a bug report to Adobe.

To prevent this issue from arising I use the same parent folder for both my sync downloads and standard image imports.....but the most important thing is that if I ever change the location of that parent folder (as I recently did when moving from my Mac Mini to my MBP) I NEVER say "Yes" to the "Do you want to move" question when updating the downloads location.
Thanks--that makes sense, though I never would have thought that would happen by answering the question as "yes"--I don't even recall that question. I have now moved all the sync from cloud folders back to where they should be (used to be) and everything seems back to normal. No images are present in LRC in the folder sync from cloud and there are no subfolders. In finder under sync from cloud, there is one pesky datefolder that shows up with one image in it (an unimportant one). I assume I should delete this folder/image in finder since it doesn't show up in LRC? A HUGE thanks to you for walking me through this!!!
And I wish there was a warning as to what saying "yes" would do to subfolders!
You're not the only one to wish that. It's caught me and quite a few other users out.
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