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Adobe officially debuts Lightroom Mobile for iPad

updated 01:18 am EDT, Tue April 8, 2014

Requires both latest desktop version and Creative Cloud subscription

In a surprise debut on Monday, Adobe took the wraps of its briefly-leaked Lightroom Mobile for iPad, a mobile version of its desktop software intended as a companion app to the full version for desktops and notebooks. As such, it requires both the latest version of Lightroom 5 (which was also updated earlier today to v5.4) for Mac or Windows, and a subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription service in order to use the free application. The program uses syncing and lower-rez thumbnails to get around the problem of the iPad's limited storage.

The full Lightroom is often used by professional photographers and serious hobbyists to catalog, enhance and touch up images, including sizable RAW files and medium-format camera files. Consequently, Lightroom Mobile for iPad uses Adobe's Smart Preview technology to create smaller previews of large files, syncing changes made to the mobile versions back to the full-size files using Adobe's servers.

The app can utilize the built-in cameras on the iPad directly, but saves a copy both to Camera Roll as required as well as its own vault for syncing. It can import from the Camera Roll as well, but with the same copying technique, which might eat up space on an iPad over time. Users can also choose which existing Lightroom images from their desktop should be synced to the mobile version, with updates on either system synced to the other.

The iPad version has a self-management feature to prevent users from accidentally filling up the iPad's available storage, and lets users manually remove images if desired to free up space. The app's interface has been modified for touchscreen use, and thus does not include all the features of the full Lightroom, particularly areas where a mouse or drawing tablet would provide greater precision.

At present, the mobile app includes only essential features, and Adobe acknowledges that updates will add in other features present on the desktop version, such as full tagging. It also mentioned that an iPhone version is in the works, which is expected before the end of the year; an Android version may also be in development, but no timeframe for it was announced.

As expected, Lightroom Mobile can share images directly to social networks, upload them to a web interface, and create slideshows of images for easy in-person sharing, either using the tablet as a display, or AirDrop, or AirPlay to throw them onto an HDTV. Lightroom Mobile for iPad requires iOS 7 and an iPad 2 or later, along with the previously-mentioned Creative Cloud subscription and freshly-updated Lightroom. Adobe is currently continuing a promotion that gives users the latest Photoshop CC and Lightroom along with other benefits of the Creative Cloud program for $10 per month, billed monthly on an annual basis.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Lynn_Fredricks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-25-06

    If you disagree with Adobe's direction of making all of their products only available by subscription, do not order this product.

  1. froghead

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-17-05

    I will agree that I am not a fan of eternal rentals, but I do like the fact its not insanely expensive, for the short term, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Adobe does have some of the most comprehensive programs around.

    Photoshop is overkill for most people needs, but it is synonymous with photo editing in even the average persons eyes.

    But with that said I have to say that I hope Lightroom mobile lights a fire under Apples backside. As someone who is a serious photographer and sometimes freelancer, I have been waiting to see Apple make its mobile apps worthy of a creative mind, and it hasn't happened.

    iMovie is honestly painful compared to Pinnacle Studio. Yes there is an 8 dollar difference but its money well spent. iPhoto, I keep waiting to have something useful besides the 5 oh so basic options, and still I wait. Pages is still so difficult for me on the iPad as its so neutered.

    Now, Adobe puts out Lightroom Mobile and I am ready to ditch Aperture and iPhoto all together. (I keep a fun stuff on iPhoto and move others into Aperture) The fact I am able to share the files seamlessly, and do real editing on my iPad is making me giddy to tell the truth.

    Finally I can really work on my iPad with photos, I am very excited. I wished it was Apple making this kind of program, but their software that use to sell their hardware is becoming just a nice addition as their hardware now becomes the cash cow.

    Apple jacked up iMovie when it was simple and oh so elegant. They took Final Cut Pro and jacked it up and put out a half backed progressional program that is now finally at least getting some of its luster back, but not after there was a severe bleeding of professionals.

    I have my fingers crossed and hope Apple steps up to this challenge.

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