Getting started with Lightroom Mobile

We just released Adobe Lightroom Mobile for iPad (the iPhone version is coming). This is a nice addition to the Lightroom desktop app because it enables a number of workflows that were kind of hard to nail down before.

Setting up Lightroom mobile

Before we dig into the features let’s see how you set up the app. First, you should know that the Lightroom mobile app works in conjunction with Creative Cloud and Lightroom 5 (the desktop app).

Yes, the Lightroom mobile app is free but if you don’t have a Creative Cloud account and Lightroom 5 it won’t be useful.

Installing the app

Make sure you have the latest Lightroom 5 app installed on your desktop machine. Then open the App Store on your iPad and search for “Adobe Lightroom” and install it.

Log in with your Creative Cloud account

Open Lightroom mobile on your iPad and log in with your Creative Cloud account. After this step you may see a message saying “No Collections available. Enable sync in Lightroom desktop to get started”. This is fine and expected so don’t worry.

Open the Lightroom desktop app and display the Preferences window (Lightroom > Preferences) and choose the last tab item “Lightroom mobile“. If you don’t see this item it means you haven’t updated Lightroom to the latest version. Sign in with your Creative Cloud account (should be the same account that you used on your iPad if you want to “pair” the mobile app to your desktop app).

Sync your Collections with Lightroom mobile

At this point you are ready to start using the mobile app. The only thing left is to bring in some pictures to work with. This is a two-step process:

  1. Creating Collections. You can choose and send images to your Lightroom mobile app by creating Collections and sync them with your mobile app. In the Library module you use the Collections panel to create as many Collections as you want.
  2. Synch the Collection with Lightroom mobile. In the Collection panel there is a small icon that looks like unchecked box on the left side of each Collection entry. If you click on this icon the entire collection will be synchronized with the Lightroom mobile app.

The workflow described above is about getting images you have on your computer to the iPad. You can do it the other way around too. If you have images on your iPad (like in Camera Roll), you can create a new collection directly inside Lightroom mobile and add the pictures you want from the Camera Roll. The Collections you created on your iPad will  automatically sync with Lightroom desktop – in the Collections panel you will see a new entry called “From Lr mobile”. This is where you can access the Collections created in the Lightroom mobile.

Here you can see the two Collections I have in Lightroom mobile – one was synched from the desktop, the other created on the iPad using an image from the Camera Roll.


In the next step we will see what you can do in Lightroom mobile.

What can you do in Lightroom mobile?

Now that you have images in Lightroom mobile it is time to see what you can do with them.

First, you can use Lightroom to show others the images you’ve taken. Sometimes you might have only the iPad with you. As long as you took the time to create Collections and enable syncing for them, you will be able to access them from your iPad. In the screenshot below you can see how how easy browsing a collection is in Lightroom mobile.


Second, you can edit/adjust the images directly on your iPad. These edits will be pushed to your desktop and you can continue the work from where you left it. I will not get into all the edits that are available (just try it for yourself). I will just give you some examples: you can crop a picture, you can adjust levels/contrast/clarity, you can apply filters.


The important bit to remember is that Lightroom mobile and the desktop version are always in sync without you having to worry about this. And this, my friend, is something really powerful.

8 thoughts on “Getting started with Lightroom Mobile

  1. I have everything up to date and $50 subscription and I still do not see the mobile tab in Lightroom, when I check for updates it says there are no new updates.

  2. Hey Olafur,

    Can you tell me what Lightroom version are you on? Go to Lightroom > About Lightroom …
    Mine says version 5.4.


  3. Lightroom is now finally stating there is an update to 5.4, will update and report back. Guess it took a while to push out the update even though I manually checked few times for updates.

  4. I am so happy to hear this :) Enjoy the app and let me know what you think of. Thanks!

  5. Lr 5.4 Desktop (latest version) there is NO sync button beside the collection (Win 7 64 bit 32gb’s memory) when I try to access in LR mobile it says there are no collections available
    1- I am logged in
    2- I have an Adobe ID and I am signed in
    3- I have the absolute latest version of LR 5.4 available

  6. just rebooted, and on the splash screen I get the message,
    Signed IN
    Sync is ON
    Still no icon, Still no catalog or collection available on Mobile LR – the wifi is working (office network) and I can stream movies from amazon or itunes so the connection is strong

  7. You’ll need to create a bog standard collection, with the photos you want to include already selected. It won’t let you use smart or existing collections, which is unintuitive and hopefully something that Adobe will address in the next update.

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