Goodbye memories: Photos permanently deleted after Adobe Lightroom iOS and iPadOS update deletes users’ data

Some customers who installed the recent 5.4.0 version of Adobe Lightroom on iPhone and/or iPad have had their photos and presets permanently deleted, and the loss is unrecoverable for those without a backup. 

“We know that some customers have photos and presets that are not recoverable. We know how frustrating and upsetting this will be to people affected and we sincerely apologize,” Adobe noted on its website Aug. 21.

This major bug has affected customers who were using Lightroom mobile without a subscription to the Adobe cloud, and also the Lightroom cloud customers who had not synced their photos and presets to the Adobe cloud, according to the company. 

However, even users with a subscription are complaining about lost photos and presets after updating to Lightroom 5.4.0 on their iPad or iPhone. “After the automatic update to Lightroom mobile 5.4 on my iPad Pro (active subscription), my whole library is lost. I tried to restore my iPad from backup, and it did restore my 50GB lightroom library (it shows in iPad Preferences/Storage), BUT as soon as I tried to launch the app, it again deleted the whole library. Also, looking again in Preferences, now Lightroom shrank from 50GB to 500MB, so in fact, launching the new App version 5.4 deletes the library. I still have that iCloud backup though, so please fix this very urgent bug, so I can try to do a restore again when it is fixed. I need my library…,” Christoph Willerscheidt, a Lightroom customer noted in the company’s forum.

The company says that Lightroom Classic, Lightroom desktop on Windows and macOS, Lightroom mobile on Android, as well as all assets in the Lightroom cloud, remain safe and intact. Customers affected by this issue might be able to use iPhone and iPad backups to recover photos and presets. 

Adobe has now released a new version of Lightroom mobile (5.4.1) for iOS and iPadOS to prevent the incident from recurring. 

“Installing version 5.4.1 will not restore missing photos or presets for customers affected by the problem introduced in 5.4.0,” Adobe says.

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Pragya Sehgal
Pragya Sehgal
Born and raised in the capital city of India - Delhi - bounded by the river Yamuna on the west, Pragya has climbed the Himalayas, and survived medical professional stream in high school without becoming a patient or a doctor. Pragya now makes her home in Canada with her husband - a digital/online marketing fanatic who also loves to prepare beautiful, healthy and delicious meals for her. When she isn’t working or writing around tech, she’s probably watching art films on Netflix, or wondering whether she should cut her hair short or not. Can be contacted at [email protected] or 647.695.3494.

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