Whether you are a Lightroom 6 perpetual user who accidentally updated to the new subscription-only Lightroom Classic, or you’re a subscriber experiencing issues with Lightroom Classic, this article will cover how to roll back to your old version. I’d recommend reading this whole article before proceeding.
Getting Your Work from Classic 7 into the Old Version
Your Lightroom Classic 7 catalog can’t be used in an old version. If you have done important work on photos, you can save that work out to XMP and then read it into your Lightroom 6 catalog. You’ll lose range mask work, pick and reject flags, membership in collections, virtual copies and step-by-step history. in the Library module in Classic 7, select all photos that have been edited, then go to Metadata>Save Metadata to Files (Cmd/Ctl-S). In your old version, if these files are not yet in your catalog then import them and the editing will get carried in. If they have been imported already, then in the old version of Lightroom select the files and go to Metadata>Read Metadata from Files.
Installing the Old Version of Lightroom
If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, open the Creative Cloud application, go to the Apps tab, and click on the dropdown to the right of Lightroom Classic CC:
Choose “Other Versions”, and then install Lightroom CC 2015:
If you have a perpetual (stand-alone) version of Lightroom 6, download and run the Mac or Windows application installer, and then download and run the Mac or Windows 6.12 update (or 6.13 if it is out by the time you read this). You don’t need to download and run the earlier updates.
If you’re reverting to Lightroom 4 or 5, there will just be one file to download and run.
If The Old Version Doesn’t Find Your Lightroom Catalog from that Version
If when you install your old version of Lightroom it can’t find your old Lightroom catalog, then choose Choose a Different Catalog, and navigate to and select your catalog file (.lrcat file). If you don’t know where your catalog is, then it’s most likely in a Lightroom folder in your Pictures folder. If you get a warning that the catalog is too new to open, you have chosen the Classic 7 one rather than the catalog for your old version. If you get a warning that the catalog needs to be upgraded, then you have chosen a catalog from an older version than the one you’re installing.
If Lightroom opens to a blank catalog – no photos – then go to File>Open and navigate to and select your catalog.
Recovering Your Previews
Along with your catalog file (.lrcat), Lightroom creates a Previews file with JPEGs of all your images. When you upgraded to Classic 7, the installation took your Lightroom 6 Previews file and changed its name to correspond to your Classic 7 catalog. When you open up Lightroom 6 for the first time after reinstalling it, Lightroom 6 will start to regenerate previews for all your images. You can just let this run, or instead you can recover the Classic 7 previews file as follows:
- Close Lightroom 6
- Navigate to your catalog folder
- Identify the Classic 7 “Previews” file
- Rename it to “(lr 6 catalog name) Previews.lrdata”, where you replace (lr 6 catalog name) with the name of your Lightroom 6 catalog.
- Reopen Lightroom.
Users of earlier versions: I don’t believe that Classic 7 takes over Lightroom 5 or earlier Previews files – but if your Previews file starts out very small after reinstallation, in comparison to the Classic 7 Previews file, you can also rename the Previews file as described above.