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///Lightroom Mobile for iOS Gets Raw Support, Local Adjustments; Android Camera Improvement

Lightroom Mobile for iOS Gets Raw Support, Local Adjustments; Android Camera Improvement

Lightroom mobile 2.4 - raw support and local adjustmentsBig news today for iPad and iPhone users: you can now import raw files from your camera or memory card into Lightroom mobile and edit them, and these original files and their edits will sync back to Lightroom on your desktop. This was already possible with JPEGs, but now that we have raw support, you might be able to  travel without your laptop!

Download the 2.4 update for Lightroom mobile from the App store.

Here’s a list of what else is new for iPads and iPhones:

  • Lightroom mobile iOS 2.4 adds two of Lightroom Desktop’s local adjustment tools – the radial filter and graduated filter (renamed the radial and linear selection tools, respectively)
  • New import settings to turn on lens profile corrections and add your copyright
  • Also turn on/of lens profile corrections in Edit view
  • New keyboard shortcuts for iPads with a keyboard connected

Android Improvements

  • In the camera, a new pro mode that lets you control the shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focus all manually, in a new interface.
  • A Lightroom camera widget to allow you to launch the camera directly, without having to open Lightroom mobile
  • You can now export full resolution files – if the full resolution file is available in mobile, desktop or web, it will be downloaded and served to export.
Import Raw Files onto Your iPad or iPhone and Work with Them in Lightroom Mobile

This new functionality is intended to allow you to work with your photos before you can get home to your desktop computer. It does of course require that you have enough space on your iPad for the raw files – check how much space you have by going into LrM settings – in Collections view tap on the LR icon in the top left – you’ll see disk usage at the bottom of the panel. Note that initially you’ll need twice as much space as your raw files require, since you’ll actually start out with two copies of each file – read on for details on why, and see the section towards the bottom of this article for space-saving tips.

Raw files from all cameras supported by Lightroom Desktop 6.6 / 2015.6 are supported in Lightroom mobile. (If your camera is too new for 6.6/2015.6 to support it, Lightroom mobile won’t support it either.)

Importing and loading will be much quicker on newer iPads than on old ones – I have an original  iPad mini, and importing takes about 15 seconds per 12 MP file, and every time I choose a raw file in LrM to edit, it takes a while to load.

Here’s how to get your raw files into Lightroom Mobile:

  • Connect your camera or a memory card to your iPad. To connect your camera, use a Lightning to USB camera adapter. To connect an SD memory card, use a Lightning to SD card camera reader.   These adapters are available on Amazon for around $30. I haven’t researched all the options, but I bought this SD card camera reader and it has worked fine so far.
Connect Memory Card to iPad

Using a Lightning to SD card reader adapter to download photos to your iPad or iPhone

  • Open up the Apple Photos app, tap on Import in the bottom right, select the photos you want to import, and import  (into your Camera Roll).
  • Open Lightroom mobile and import these photos from the Camera Roll  (unless you already have Lightroom mobile set up to automatically import from the Camera Roll).
  • On your iPad Lightroom mobile stores its own copy of the files, so after this import go back to Apple Photos  and delete the photos from your Camera Roll (really – otherwise the already-limited space on your iPad will get used up twice as fast.) When prompted, don’t let Apple Photos delete the photos from your memory card though – keep these as a backup.
  • Rate, flag and edit your photos using Lightroom mobile. You can also now share/export full-resolution files from these source files.
  • When you are connected to the internet and signed in to your Adobe account, the raw files and edits will automatically upload (sync) to the cloud and then down to Lightroom Desktop (and your hard drive.)

See the section towards the bottom of this article for some space-saving and workflow suggestions.

iPhone/iPad Import Preferences

Now that we can import directly into Lightroom mobile, it’s handy to be able to add our copyright as we do so and to also turn on lens profile corrections. To do so:

  • Go into the Settings panel by tapping on the LR icon in the top left in Collections view.
  • Tap on Import
  • Choose to enable profile corrections for all files or just raw files
  • Turn on Add Copyright and type yours in.
Lightroom Mobile Import Settings

Lightroom Mobile Import Settings

iPhone/iPad New  Local Adjustment Tools

If you use the radial and graduated filters in Lightroom desktop, you’ll appreciate being able to do the same in Mobile to make edits that affect just local areas of your photos. The radial filter has been renamed “radial selection” tool in LrM, and the graduated filter has been renamed the “linear selection” tool.

  • In Loupe (single photo) view, tap on the new Local Adjust tab in the bottom right.
  • In the row of editing choices (Exposure, etc) tap on the left-most rectangle to bring up the Radial / Linear choice.lightroom-select-radial-linear


Radial Selection Tool

This works almost exactly like the radial filter tool in Lightroom desktop. It’s designed to allow you to make edits to a circular or oval area in your photo, or to the area outside of this.

After choosing Radial Selection from the above menu, drag outward from the center of where you want to place the filter. Fine tune the placement, shape and feathering by following the instructions in the graphic below. Set one or more edit settings (such as Exposure to brighten or darken) to be applied inside or outside the circle or oval.



Linear Selection Tool

This also works like its Lightroom desktop “graduated filter” counterpart. After choosing Linear Selection from the above menu, drag downward in the photo to make a selection of the top of the photo, or upward to select the bottom. You can also draw selections to affect one side or the other or diagonal ones. If you find that you want the opposite of what you got, drag the top line  down below the bottom line to flip it.


New Keyboard Shortcuts for iPads with Keyboards Connected

Use 1-5 to add stars, 0 to remove; P, X and U for pick, reject and unflag; Ctl/Cmd-C and Ctl/Cmd V for copy and paste; Y to toggle on/off before and after; G for Grid; right and left arrow keys for next and previous photo

Workflow and Space Saving Ideas for Working with Raw Files on iPads and iPhones

Now that I have gotten through what’s new, here are some more tips for working with raw files on your iPad (or iPhone):

  • If your iPad is slow, consider culling out the obvious rejects using Apple Photos before importing into Lightroom Mobile. This process will be faster in Photos because it doesn’t actually process your raw files, it works with the embedded JPEG previews.
  • If your iPad isn’t slow and you want to use Lightroom mobile to review your photos and get rid of the rejects before it syncs your picks to your Desktop, disconnect your iPad’s wireless connection or sign out of your Adobe account in Lightroom Mobile before you import. Delete the rejects from the Lightroom Photos master collection (not just any separate collection they may be in), then connect or sign in and let LrM sync the remaining ones.
  • Raw files will take up a lot of space on your mobile device. If you have an internet connection, you can import some, edit them and let them sync to the cloud, then delete them from Lightroom mobile – delete them from the Lightroom Photos master collection and clear the cache to free up space. To clear the cache, tap on the three dots on your collection and choose Clear Cache.
  • Another way to free up some space but still have these photos available to edit in Lightroom mobile is to clear out the full resolution originals and just use the the smaller compressed “smart preview” versions of these files in Lightroom mobile. The full res versions will still sync to the cloud. There are two ways to achieve this:
    • Go into Settings and turn off “Download full resolution files” before you import. You’ll then be working with smart previews on your iPad, but the full resolution raw files will  be synced to Lightroom Desktop.
    • If you want to initially work with the raw files as you edit, but then switch to storing just smart previews on your iPad, then follow this process anytime after the originals finish syncing to the cloud:
      • Go into Settings and turn off “Download full resolution files”.
      • Clear the cache for your collection – in Collection view, tap on the three dots in the lower right corner and choose Clear Cache. This will clear out the originals and LrM will be passed smart previews from the server.
      • Be sure you have deleted the copies from Apple Photos, or Lightroom mobile will just reload the full resolution raw files from there.


2017-06-28T18:01:24-07:00 July 13th, 2016|29 Comments


  1. John Hoffman July 13, 2016 at 10:12 am - Reply

    What would be the advantage to working on full RAW in mobile rather than Smart Preview.

    If I select download Smart Previews only am I understanding that LR mobile will upload the full size RAW from Camera Folder to my CC account and desktop LR?

    • Laura Shoe July 13, 2016 at 10:21 am - Reply

      Smart previews do have limitations, John – because they are compressed, there can be some color shifts and quality loss in the fine detail. I generally recommend doing sharpening and other really-detailed work and a final pass on editing in general when the originals are available. They are also limited in size, so again this limits the ability to see really small issues. Having the originals available also allows one to export/share full size files.

      Lightroom mobile will upload the full size original raw files in any case.

      • John Hoffman July 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm - Reply

        Thanks. Great response. Your LR DVD has been great in helping my get going with LR.

  2. Kennuk July 13, 2016 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Thanks Laura very imformative

  3. Patrick July 13, 2016 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Great features! I was always struggling to import raw files, my workflow is much faster now. And the 2 filters are a nice addition. Editing with fingers is very intuitive. Well done Adobe! What is next?

  4. John Hoffman July 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Is there a general sharpening applied during import? The local adjustment has a sharpening tool but not the main editing page.

    • Laura Shoe July 13, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      The default sharpening and noise reduction settings are applied to raw files imported from the mobile device, but these settings can’t be modified or undone in Lightroom mobile (other than by using a local adjustment tool to back off or cancel them out). Of course they can be modified or undone in Lightroom desktop.

  5. joe cressman July 13, 2016 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    I gather only sd cards, not cf cards can be used. Please clarify. Thanks

    • Laura Shoe July 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure, Joe – I’d suggest looking for one on If you don’t find one you can get the Lightning to USB camera adapter and connect your camera.

      • joe cressman July 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm - Reply

        thank you. will look into it.

  6. Mike July 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Is a Lightroom subscription required for use of the Mobil app?

    • Laura Shoe July 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      A subscription is not required to use the app and share photos out of it, Mike, but only with a subscription can you sync the files and edits over to Lightroom desktop.

      • Mike July 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm - Reply

        Thanks, Laura.

      • Vic July 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

        Which is pointless as you cannot use it for the purpose it was intended. Sorry but don’t like subscriptions and feel the reason behind all this not being able to synch for standalone users is the carrot to make you subscribe. Sad really and rather petty for Adobe. If the excuse for CC users is that they pay more for subscribing, why not make the standalone price the same as a subscription and give us the same LR as CC users, I would be happy with that, or even better make the subscription the same as the price for a standalone (though still don’t like to subscribe but might be tempted), after all we are all using the same software.

  7. Tim July 14, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Can you sync your iPad and Desktop over your local network, without using the internet?

    We are full time RVers (living in a fifth wheel camper) and our internet data limit is 40GB/month so transferring large RAW files to the cloud uses up a great deal of that bandwidth. I do use free WiFi when ever available, but these usually are very slow moving large files.

    • Laura Shoe July 15, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Not at this time, Tim.

  8. Vaughan July 15, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

    You say we can delay uploading until after initial culling by switching off wifi or signing out of creative cloud. Switching off wifi works for me but when I sign out I am just presented with a sign in page and cannot do anything at all without signing in again – or am I missing something?

    • Laura Shoe July 15, 2016 at 11:48 am - Reply

      You’re right, Vaughan, this has changed – thanks for the heads up.

      • Vaughan July 16, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

        Changed presumably from a pre-release version you were testing under nda? Do you think it was intentional or a bug slipped in at the last moment? It seems strange that once you have signed LR mobile into CC you can no longer revert to non-CC use of the app.

        • Laura Shoe July 16, 2016 at 10:51 am - Reply

          That’s not what I mean, Vaughan – a few months ago I recall being able to import without being logged in.

  9. David Brewster July 26, 2016 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the space/time saving instructions Laura. Hopefully they will add a switch of some sort to allow delaying of sync from within the app, rather than having to turn off wifi, which is a bit of a clumsy workaround.

    That said, it’s fantastic that this capability has been added to LR mobile.

    • Laura Shoe July 27, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      I agree, David.

  10. Kat September 5, 2016 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    great article! How do I import both the raw AND the jpg file? Most of the time I’m happy with the jpg file from camera (usually a b&w film simulation from my Fuji camera), but I do want the option to edit the raw file (if I decide against b&w, for example, or I need the latitude of the raw file for processing). I’ve tried it and interestingly the ipad seems to import both the jpg and the raw file, but as “one image file” (in inverted commas because clearly there are actually two files). At this point the b&w simulation is still visible in Photos. When I go to import in LRM it shows up as b&w, but says “raw”, and when I then tap “add” only the raw file is imported with no sign of the b&w jpg. How do I get both? What am i doing wrong?

    Thanks for your help! Kat

    • Laura Shoe September 10, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      I’m not sure, Kat – I haven’t tried that on the iPad. I’d recommend posting on

      • Kat September 11, 2016 at 11:44 pm - Reply

        I found a solution – the wifi connection app from fuji will only upload the jpg – so I go through those pics, mark the ones I want in raw format and then upload the raw file through the sd card reader. Not the most intuitive/easy, but usable. it might be one step too far on the “can I be bothered” scale while travelling… 😉

  11. David September 5, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I just came across this article and was excited to see the option to “Go into Settings and turn off “Download full resolution files”.” I am perfectly happy using just smart previews on my iPad. Is this something that has been removed as an option? I cannot find it in settings.

    • Laura Shoe September 5, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

      I believe that it has been removed, David. Hopefully it will be back.

      • David September 5, 2017 at 10:51 am - Reply

        I’m wondering if it’s all happening automatically now. I turned of wifi and tried looking at some RAW files in LR Mobile and nothing comes up. It just says “loading original”. Then I turn wifi back on and when opening the same photo, the RAW file is loaded. Perhaps they just go to cache and when you clear the cache, the RAW files are taken off the iPad. That certainly makes it easier and helpful for optimizing storage on the iPad.

        • Laura Shoe September 5, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

          I haven’t been following this closely, but I believe that once the originals are uploaded to the cloud, LR just caches locally the last couple you have worked on. (Note that if the files came from LR Desktop, the originals are never synced to the cloud or to your mobile device – just smart previews.)

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