If you sync your Lightroom Classic catalog to the Lightroom cloud, then there may come a day in your future where the “Syncing [n] photos” message seems to never go away. I can’t tell you what is causing that, but I can give you some steps to consider when this happens to hopefully get it sorted.

The first thing I do is head over to Preferences > Lightroom Sync, and expand the Sync Activity panel at the bottom to see what’s happening. It may give you a clue or it may not. It really depends on your situation.

In this situation I made some metadata changes to 4 synced photos, and that is what it means by Uploading under Sync Type and Metadata under Sync Details. Just giving this process a little more time and it completed without any intervention. Once it is done, you should see No sync activities in the panel.

Another time, when things were not proceeding as normal, I had 8 photos that were stuck in Pending and 27 supposedly Downloading, except nothing was happening.

Here’s the trick, reserved only for those instances when you are certain that Syncing is stuck, and you want to break the log jam. While viewing the Lightroom Sync panel of the preferences, hold down the Option/Alt key and you will see the Rebuild Sync Data button appear.

Click Rebuild Sync Data, and Lightroom Classic will warn you that this could take a long time (but not as long as sync being stuck forever), and click Continue.

Lightroom Classic will need to restart to create a new sync database file, and you will have to go back to the Activity Center under the Identity Plate and unpause syncing.

Once you unpause syncing, it will go through its paces, and hopefully (fingers crossed) resolve whatever issue was holding syncing stuck in purgatory.

Hopefully this won’t ever happen to you, but it has happened to me a few times, and so far, my catalog seems no worse for wear after all of the times I’ve had to rebuild the sync data file. Happy syncing!

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10 comments

  1. Doris Ford 24 April, 2020 at 15:27 Reply

    Rob I have been having a problem with my PC internal SSD hard drive filling up. When I try to find out the problem one thing I see is a folder in Users-admin-pictures- that is labeled Lightroom and inside is a Folder that is Labeled Mobile Downloads.lrdata
    I am syncing my Lightroom catalogue ( right now 9,231 photos) but I don’t know that these photos in the Mobile Download.lrdata are coming from that syncing operation. I delete the photos in the Mobile Downloads lr.data folder and it fills up again the next day but they aren’t always the same photos. What is wrong? Of my 1TB hard drive I usually have only 100 or less gb to work with.
    Thanks
    Doris Ford

    • Rob Sylvan 27 April, 2020 at 09:23 Reply

      Hi Doris, I replied to your question over at the KelbyOne community. Follow up with me over there if needed. It is much easier to have this kind of conversation there.

  2. Hans 23 April, 2020 at 08:39 Reply

    Here’s a fuller list of things to try:
    1. Make sure the cloud is trying to push an update:
    1.1. LR desktop, Edit/Preferences/Lightroom Sync/Sync Activity — the stuck photo should be listed there, perhaps status “Pending”.
    1.1.1. Keep this window open as much as you can while playing with things below.
    1.1.2. Tip: By clicking on a URL in that window you will be taken to the cloud’s copy of that photo in a browser
    1.2. (In the cloud — lightroom.adobe.com) Make a small edit to the photo (exposure, contrast, star rating, flags, ..) — that should trigger an update to get pushed down to sync’d devices; this takes < 1 minute usually.
    2. Narrow down the problem: is it the cloud, or your LR application?
    2.1. Simplify the debugging task if possible: focus on just one "stuck" photo (potentially by deleting cloud versions of other photos that do not sync, if you can add them back later easily)
    2.2. Does any device (LR mobile on phone, LR on desktop, ..) sync up to the cloud?
    2.3. Do photos sync down from the cloud to any device? Just some?
    2.4. Compare synced photos counts: these should all be the same:
    2.4.1. LR Desktop:
    2.4.1.1. Edit/Preferences/Lightroom Sync/Account/"Uploads: XXX photos synced"
    2.4.1.2. Library/Catalog/All Synced Photographs — the count there
    2.4.2. LR Mobile (on your phone)
    2.4.3. in cloud (lightroom.adobe.com), "All Photos" shows a count
    3. Check computer status
    3.1. Latest version of Windows (etc.) and Lightroom software?
    3.2. reboot computer / restart LR.
    3.3. If you run a firewall (e.g. Windows Defender), add Lightroom to allowed applications
    3.4. Can you write to the folder where LR wants to store the photo? (Folder is shown in Edit/Preferences/Lightroom Sync/Location/Specify location…) Try changing the folder and deleting the stuck photo/adding a new one in the cloud.
    4. Try fixing possible corruption:
    4.1. Delete the stuck photo; wait until it disappears from Edit/Preferences/Lightroom Sync/ "Sync Activity" list; add a new photo directly into the cloud
    4.2. Edit/Preferences/[hold Alt key, showing hidden buttons]/Rebuild sync data
    4.3. Do you have a catalog backup from a time when sync'ing was working correctly?
    5. At this point it may be time to loop in adobe.com/Support/Contact Us/ and start a chat session. Paste into that session all the work you've done so far so they don't ask you to repeat anything. Get ready for a couple of hours of interaction, after which they might need to elevate to a Level-2/Senior debugger.

  3. Eric Wessman 23 April, 2020 at 07:00 Reply

    Hi Rob- I have another reason for having the syncing message linger: I have directed LR to put all photos taken with my mobile devices into a folder on my external drive. There are times when there are photos waiting to be downloaded, but I just go in to do something simple in LR without connecting that external drive. When I go to close LR I get a warning saying “photos still syncing”. Since I know what the issue is, I direct LR to quit anyway. They will get synced the next time I connect that external drive.

  4. Gary Kranston 22 April, 2020 at 18:11 Reply

    Rob, thanks for the info – I’m having this very problem right now. I went into the preference panel and it shows me 26 photos supposedly uploading, but they each have Error under the Sync Details column, followed by 12 photos pending. How do I clear the errors?

    • Rob Sylvan 27 April, 2020 at 09:25 Reply

      Go to lightroom.adobe.com and log in with your Adobe ID and password. Then go back to the Preferences, and click the first link showing the error in that panel. It should take you to that photo in lightroom.adobe.com. Maybe you can figure out what is wrong when you see it, but in my experience, just deleting it from the web resolves the problem.

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