Adobe Announces Mobile/Tablet Support For Lightroom

Adobe Announces Mobile/Tablet Support For Lightroom

In 2007, Adobe released Lightroom to the world and completely revolutionized the workflow for photographers everywhere. With each new release, Adobe has built new features and tools that have wowed us all. Well, announced and released tonight, Adobe brings us Adobe Lightroom Mobile - allowing you to sync and edit on the go. The best part of all? It's a free update for those on the Creative Cloud.

Currently only available to those with an iPad (Though iPhone and Android support is promised very soon), Adobe Lightroom Mobile allows you to export smart previews of your images, and sync it seamlessly to your tablet. You're then able to cull, edit, view and share your images with ease, only to sync the edits and changes back to the computer with the touch of a button. Using Smart Previews (A feature brought to us in Lightroom 5), you're able to drastically cut down on the file size of each image, allowing you to sync hundreds of images to your mobile device without the risk of it being bogged down or filling the hard drive, while still maintaining the flexibility of editing on a RAW image. And this isn't just for working on your photos from your professional camera. Lightroom Mobile offers full support for all your images, so you're now able to edit your smartphone images with the power of Lightroom Mobile, using the tools you're familiar with.

While watching them use this software last week, I was pretty blown away. Imagine a time where we're able to go through and rate our favorite images from a wedding on your tablet or phone at the comforts of a coffee shop. Jaron actually used the software firsthand, and said it was not only fast, but amazingly intuitive. It makes use of various touch commands that enable you to quickly edit photos and sync them back up with your computer. It's Lightroom not ported over and mashed into a tablet, but a wholly redesigned experience that just feels right on the medium. And if you don't like the editing you did from the tablet, you're able to fine tune and adjust those edits when you sync it back to your computer. If you sync Lightroom Mobile with your tablet before going offline (like on an airplane), all changes you make while offline will automatically sync once you hit a signal. The platform is designed for a traveling photographer.


Adobe wanted it to be clear that this is not designed as a remote triage device between your computer and a camera. You can't expect to cull and edit photos directly from the field on the tablet, as the mobile hardware tech just isn't there yet. Lightroom Mobile works because of Smart Previews, but if you start talking full raw files that's where this program draws the line. It's just not in the cards yet.

That said and understood, if the program felt like it was lacking anywhere, it was in the inability to use any of your custom presets (only the ones Adobe provides). Adobe does promise this functionality is coming in a future update, but didn't give us a timeline for when that's happening. They did say it's high on the wish list though, so we hope soon.


This software is available to all those with Creative Cloud subscriptions, regardless if you're paying the $9.99/mo for the Photography Program, or if you're among the $50/mo full plan.

At this time, the software is only available for iPad users (iPad 2 or higher - Running iOS7 or higher) and is available in the iOS App Store. Again, Adobe promises to offer iPhone and Android support very soon, telling us to expect it later this year. After using the software, Jaron said he didn't miss the fact it wasn't on the iPhone yet. The controls feel like they need the space of a tablet.

Full Press Release -

Adobe Lightroom Mobile Brings Professional-Class Photo Tools To iPad

Creative Cloud Photography Program Now Includes Photoshop, Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile for $9.99 per Month; Seamlessly Syncs Edits Between Mobile and Desktop

SAN JOSE, Calif. — April 8, 2014  Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the availability of Lightroom mobile, a companion app to Lightroom desktop software, only available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. The new Lightroom mobile app brings powerful Lightroom tools to the iPad, delivering photography essentials – such as non-destructive processing of files – and utilizing new Smart Preview technologies to free professional-class photo editing from the confines of the desktop. Lightroom mobile is built on a powerful synchronization architecture, designed specifically for photos, and provides the most efficient way to manage and edit images across desktops, mobile devices and the Web.

Lightroom mobile is available as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop Photography Program. For USD$9.99 per month, photographers have access to Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC on the desktop as well as Lightroom mobile on iPad.

"With the launch of Lightroom mobile, we’ve unlocked professional-class photographic workflows from the confines of the desktop,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. "Lightroom and Photoshop redefined digital photography on the desktop and now, photographers can perfect images, wherever they are and, via Creative Cloud, seamlessly synchronize them back to their desktop catalog.”

Lightroom mobile and the photography optimized synchronization architecture puts the powerful tools from Lightroom 5 at photographer's fingertips, including:


  •  Sync mobile edits, metadata and collection changes back to the Lightroom catalog on a Mac or Windows computer
  •  Automatically import images captured on an iPad and sync back to a Lightroom catalog on the desktop
  •  Work on images, even when your iPad is offline, for a truly portable experience
  •  Sync photos between Lightroom 5 and Lightroom mobile; synced photos can also be viewed from any Web browser


"Adobe Lightroom mobile tranforms the way I am able to work with my photographs because now I can review and process photos when I'm comfortable and creative, and not just when I’m at my computer," said Jeff Carlson, educator and author of The iPad for Photographers and Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go. "It also works as a malleable photo portfolio on my iPad. As I add or remove images from a collection in Lightroom mobile or on the computer, the changes stay synchronized. When I need to show my work those photos are already set up to be viewed."

Pricing and Availability
The Photoshop Photography Program (USD$9.99 per month) includes Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC, Lightroom mobile and a public portfolio site through Behance. Any members of Creative Cloud complete plan or Photoshop Photography Program automatically receive access to Adobe Lightroom mobile. Lightroom mobile is immediately available for iPad 2 or later running iOS 7, from the Apple App Store and requires Lightroom 5.4 for Mac or Windows.

For information about product features, upgrade policies, pricing and language versions, please visit:

About Creative Cloud
Creative Cloud is a rethinking of the entire creative process and an industry-defining shift in creative expression and inspiration, where members can explore, create, publish and share their work across devices, the desktop and the Web. With Creative Cloud membership, users also have access to: a vibrant global creative community; publishing services to deliver apps and websites; cloud storage and the ability to sync to virtually any device; and new products and exclusive updates as they’re developed. Membership plans start from as little as $9.99 per month.

Helpful Links

o    Showcasing & Sharing your photographs

o    Setup, Collections and Flags

o    Managing Collections and Auto Import from Camera Roll

o    Cropping, Adjustments and Presets

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit

For more information on Lightroom Mobile, check out Adobe's Official Announcement.

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

Log in or register to post comments

eek ive been waiting for it to come out. No idea when i'd make use of it but still pretty darn cool

The ability to edit the smart previews on a mobile device can become a game-changer.

And the best thing is when you will shoot directly in lightroom mobile with the camranger

It should be up in the iOS app store sometime in the next hour or two.

it is up now, wonder how long for desktop update?

I imagine they'll be slowly releasing it over the next few hours as to not crash their server...

Actually...I just updated Lightroom to 5.4, which has the syncing services.

Im already using it! Super slow right now though. I'm sure I'll be messing with it a lot tonight.

omg omg omg! i am very happy to see this finally come out! culling/rating/flagging wedding and event photos from the couch! maybe doing basic exposure edits as well. cannot wait!

zzzzzzzzzz iPad

Why is it only for iPad? Why not Android and Windows tabs?

its explained in the article

Because it's going to be released later. Probably because they feel iOS is more important or because they think the majority of their clients is more likely to have an iPad or iPhone over an Android device.

Apple have one version of their OS whereas there are lots of different versions of Android running on lots of different devices all with different hardware and specs. This makes developing for Android harder, it could work fine on one tablet but be completely broken on another. This is the reason a lot of companies launch apps on iPad first or have their apps only on iPad. It sucks but considering the time and money that can go into developing apps is understandable.

This is great but I just wish I could use it without a subscription... I purchased Lightroom on it's own and not as part of the Creative Cloud. It seems nice but I don't think it'd be worth it for me to subscribe just for this. Oh well :-(

Dude, go for Creative Cloud's $9.99/month Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 bundle! It's definitely worth the price (at least based on my math) compared to buying the individual versions of Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5. Unless you recently bought Lightroom 5 (or maybe Lightroom 4, as the upgrade from Lightroom 4 to Lightroom 5 isn't a huge one), that should be a good option for you.

I do agree its a fairly good deal. However, I have, and am quite satisfied with, CS6 and Lightroom 5. This app alone will not make me want to change that.

The question is how it will perform at a photoshoot. I want to give my clients the iPad so they can view, rate, flag, maybe write a note... If that will work well, I'll update to CC!

Someone from the Fstoppers team... How long until we get a post?!

Got an eye-fi card? Look at Photosmith.

Hmm, let's see, making important color, density, cropping and other major image decisions on a 7- or 10-inch tablet. Brilliant.

Arguably it's not meant to displace LR or any other pro grade RAW software running on a high-end PC/laptop. But it might come in handy on the go for a preselection of images or just to give it a shot by applying some rough and experimental RAW settings.

What's putting me off is the "cloud stuff". Still being tied to CS6 I'm refused to indulge in Adobes "latest and greatest mobile app". That sucks since I'd be willing to fork out a $20 (one time payment) for that app. In vain.

"But it might come in handy on the go for a preselection of images..."

You can do that with a PDF output, which Lightroom already does.

"or just to give it a shot by applying some rough and experimental RAW settings."

Which brings us right back to my initial comment.

Think of it as a pre-post-production.

Editing your images on a tablet ? seems pretty courageous ! Are the colors and the gamut of the ipad accurate enough for that ? How can you calibrate it to be sure to have a seamless workflow with your desktop ?
But to classify and show to your customer it's perfect !

Anyone else not have the "sync collection" button?

Have you upgraded to LR 5.4? When creating a new collection, the dialog box should include a 'tick' at the bottom for Lightroom Mobile sync.

Hm, I always missed LR on my tablet so that I can leave my notebook at home and do some processing in the evening in the hotel. Unfortunately as it is today it completely misses the point as I still need a notebook to download the images, push them to the tablet, edit them on the tablet and push them back. So I'd still rather leave my tablet at home as I need the notebook anyway, where I can work directly on the original files with more computing power and without the overhead syncing the images to the tablet and back.

IMHO What you are asking for is irrealistic with current technology. Tablet technology has advanced incrementally and exponentially over the last six years and frankly, the things you can do with these now is flabbergasting. However, when I see that my 2013 fullyloaded macbook pro has trouble sometimes editing D800 files I understand there is no way in hell a tablet could manage editing these files AND editing them in a library.

To me, this app is perfect for selecting and editing pictures after a shoot. You only need a quick preview of the image, the screen is wonderfully sharp (but not color corrected so retouching would be out of the question anyway) and plenty large. This will be perfect to organize, tag and edit.

I don't ask for an app that works on full size raw files. It's perfectly OK, to work on reduced versions and sync that later with Desktop LR. However I would like to be able to read the files from my camera (e.g. via built-in WLAN or through SD Card reader) have the app create a reduced SmartPreview and let me work on that. Later when I am home, I then can import the RAW files from the Camera to the computer and sync the LR settings from mobile app to have them applied to the imported RAW files as starting point for fine tuning on a calibrated display.

Irrealistic? Well for Android there are a couple of apps that can deal with RAW files today already.

My use case is just different than yours.


Look at the to accomplish. It is perfect for culling images from a shoot on your iPad and syncing the metadata with your Lightroom library at a later time. What you describe, they call a jpeg proxy workflow.

Wow! Thanks for the tip! Looks great. Now that might be a reason to buy an iPad. And I hope that the announcement of the the "brand new" Lightroom 4.1 does not mean that it does not work with LR 5.x.

photosmith is brilliant when teamed up with an eye-fi card. Due to iPad limitations the direct wifi connection from a 6D's (for eg) built in wifi doesn't work as smoothly.

It's not unrealistic with current tech, in fact it's almost exactly what I do.
Eye-fi card, iPad and Photosmith app.
Jpegs are sent via eye-fi to the iPad, raw's stay on the card. Jpegs are fine for rating, keywording, tagging and culling - basically everything other than actual editing.
Once home, raws are imported to lightroom and Photosmith syncs the data from the iPad to the lightroom catalog.

I didn't say sync, tagging, rotating and such was irrealistic. I said editing full RAW's on a tablet is irrealistic.

What about iPad screen calibration. How can I edit photos with color inaccurate screen? This makes app useless.

Most modern screen calibration software has iPad support...

From what I understand though, the calibration is not system wide for all applications to take advantage of it like on a computer. The calibration only applies to the app for the calibration device. I have the Spyder 3 Pro and I believe I can ONLY see the calibrated version of my pictures IF I open them with the Spyder Gallery app (unless I'm missing something)…

On another hand though, one wouldn't expect edits on the iPad to be final cuz there are so many things that affect color perception including your environment. In fact even edits made on a laptop should not be final if they're made in the field. Final edits would/should always be in your studio under controlled (lighting) environment.

The app is not designed for color grading. For me, and based on the Adobe videos, it's main purpose is for going through a selection of images. Helping you do picks and rejects on the fly - and then maybe play around with presets and such, but main color correction and retouching will always be done on a workstation with a calibrated monitor.

I also heard Apple was releasing a real tablet with full OS where I could install real versions of programs I already use. It has USB and display port, and SD card slot so I have a lot of options for getting photos on it physically, and wirelessly. I bet everyone is going to jump on that! Apple is such an innovator and are full of original ideas!... Oh wait it's not Apple, it's Microsoft, and it's been out since late 2012. Silly iSheep.

This is pretty much what I've been wanting. I can upload a wedding to my iMac, sync it to my iPad, cull / rate / apply presets on the iPad while I'm on the road or at the cottage, and do the fine-tuning and export from the iMac later. Can't wait to put it to use.

You might have to wait for the preset option? Only the standard LR presets are going to be available.

Did I read that correctly?

Correct. That said, they know custom presets are a big desire so that's likely coming soon.

I've been using it since it launched, and so far I'm impressed. The smart previews surprisingly don't take up too much space on the iPad, which was my main concern. It does take a bit to transfer (mainly related to uploads from your computer of the smart previews), but if you set it up to transfer everything overnight, especially for a large job, then you should be good by the morning.

The whole issue of presets is definitely a big one. Hopefully a future release addresses it.

Now that's what I'm talking about! Just a couple of things I wish Adobe adds soon would be:
1- support for 64 bit processing for iPad Air owners (if not there already)
2- support for wireless tethering via current wireless solutions: EyeFi Card, CamRanger, Nikon WU-1a , WU-1b, WTx adaptors as well as cameras with built in wifi like Canon 6D, Fuji X-T1 etc
3- make it so the app would generate and import smart previews directly from the camera connector kit (SD card reader or 30 pin/lightning to USB connector). This would be very useful for event and wedding photogs (or any photog really) who don't take their computer with them in the field. They can easily start the first step in their post production workflow by culling and applying quick presets while on their way back, and if they happen to have internet available either via wifi hotspots or cellular iPad, by the time they get back to their computers, every edit would be already synced and waiting for them.

Ah life would be so great!!!

the way Adobe have set this up, is for culling on the couch - not really doing anything on site. If you want to do that and you have an eye-fi card - look at Photosmith.

Right now, I wouldn't expect to do anything fancy in the field with a tablet either. Like i mentioned above, wireless tethering is a very great application for an iPad, and I don't mean wireless tethering RAW files, those would take way too long to transfer and would not be very practical. I currently use ShutterSnitch for that, I shoot RAW + JPEG and I set it to only transfer small to medium size JPEGs just to verify focus, exposure (histogram) and overall composition.

The one thing that would be killer as I mentioned above is if Adobe could make it so the app would generate and import smart previews directly from the camera connector kit (SD card reader or 30 pin/lightning to USB connector). This would take less space on the iPad and one could start culling WITHOUT having to import everything into the computer first and waiting for it to sync with the iPad via the cloud...

I'll try to look into Photosmith but even though it may not be there yet, I believe in the long run, at least if Adobe commits to it, lightroom mobile may become a better option simply because of the potential for seamless workflow and better integration with the Creative Cloud and Lightroom on the computer.

This is a bit of a slap in my face. I am not a cloud subscriber and do not want to be. I want to own my software and not have to continue to pay month after month.

I purchase the software I use... I use Lightroom. Now they have made it so that the software I purchased from them is partly disabled because I did.

THIS is the kind of thing that makes me want to look for other alternatives.

I must have missed something in the press release. Exactly what did they disable?

More of a not enabled an ability. Lightroom can now share with the mobile version UNLESS you don't have the cloud agreement. Then that part dont work.

When I signed up for the Photoshop CC Photography Program (an amazing deal which happens to be still available if you're interested) Adobe promised me access to all the "new features and upgrades as soon as they're available." They just released a new feature. I had access the same day, as advertised.

When you looked at the feature set for the LR5 perpetual license, you made a decision that the money you were willing to pay was worth the features listed on the box. There was a never a promise that anything new would be added. Everything you paid for still works the same way it did the day you bought it. And you're so insulted by this situation you want to look for a completely new software solution?

More comments