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!



  1. Houston 29 July, 2023 at 13:48 Reply

    This happens to me every time I try to sync. This NEVER append until about the last year. I have just been too lazy to stop and see what the issue was. I simply QUITE LR and restarted it. When I went back to the COLLECTION the button would not have a link and say “Make Private” so I click that and then it switches back to “Make Public”, I click that and then it takes a minute or two depending on the number of images you’re sinking but it would eventually generate the URL. I wish Adobe would fix this as this is a pain in the ass. IMHO, this is easier to me than “Rebuild Sync Data”

  2. Lynne Skilken 13 July, 2023 at 17:16 Reply

    You say to “head over to Preferences > Lightroom Sync, and expand the Sync Activity panel at the bottom to see what’s happening”. How do you expand the Sync Activity Panel? It would really help to be able to see what’s going on in there!

    Many thanks!


  3. Scotty 13 December, 2021 at 15:23 Reply

    Can anyone give hint/lesson for my repeat sync issue I don’t see addressed? – Most are these “stuck” issues like this piece and others are good for that (and I’ve been saved by rebuilding the sync, so thanks for that!), but my repeat issue is between my LRc on my laptop and my iPad Pro. All updated and current LR versions. My issue is “partial sync” for lack of better term. Some image changes I make (flags/edits) via a sync’d folder on my iPad make it back to LRc, but other changes don’t. Nothing is “stuck” and nothing shows up as pending. I’ve done all the unstuck tips like permissions etc, but there is always 25-50% of images that just don’t migrate changes back to LRc. So it works, but it doesn’t. And sometimes the middle section of images – the first and last images sync but the middle ones are the changes that don’t migrate. Strange. Yes, rebuilding works, but sometimes I’m working on large projects or a football game with 2000 images that is still sync’d, so to rebuild EVERY TIME is less that optimal for me just to fix 50 new images. Maybe there’s a gotcha in the order I do things. Maybe flags are the culprit not edits? Anyone?

    FYI, in my workflow, I normally download and backup raw photos on my laptop and eternal drive, then I select the new dated folder to Lightroom Sync so I can do mobile edits when convenient. All the images always show up fine on my iPad no problem with the smart previews going that direction. But after I cull and edit on my iPad, only 23 of 43 selected images show the edits (on today’s try for example). I pause and start sync and sometimes one or two update, but after a couple tries, nothing else will budge. So frustrating because I was so excited to use iPad in my initial workflow, but messing with this sync issue is a waste of time, so I’m chained back to my laptop. Woof. Anyone experience this and find a setting or gotcha that causing sync to only partially complete (repeatedly)??

  4. Kim D 3 August, 2021 at 01:34 Reply

    The rebuild sync data method worked perfectly.

    I had 5 images taken with my iPhone and edited within the Lr Mobile app. These synced fine into Lr Desktop and Lightroom on the web. But they were stuck ‘pending’ for days in LrC Lightroom Classic, which is my main workhorse.

    I am yet to discover if this is a ‘one-off’ or if it might be a deficiency in my workflow/setup, or Lightroom itself. Fingers crossed!


    My gear/software in case it’s of use to anyone for troubleshooting:
    Mac OS Catalina v10.15.7
    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic 2021 v10.3
    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Desktop 2021 v4.3
    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Mobile App 2021 v6.3.1
    iPhone Xs iOS v14.7.1

  5. hans 21 February, 2021 at 05:20 Reply

    Not working.
    As so often Adobe make your life hard.
    New features that does not work.
    I have lost ALL edits from my mobile devices – around 500 extensive edits.
    Crashed synced catalog on labtop deleted all pictures from the original source(!) on my phone. Webcopyes are still there – but not working – you can not edit (“working-weel” forever).

    My prime Lr Cat is 500.000 photos, now split into different subjects and years. These Lr-Cats (of around 20.000-50.000 pictures) also crash – and sometimes backups are not working. I have found work arounds – but the Adobe way is – you think you have somthing that works – then updates crash everything – and support is not an adobe thing (even paying a yearly fee of 600us$/yr) hmmm
    I am woking hard to find adobe alternatives – Affinity and google cats + mac-photo or darktable…

    Adobes biggest downside is the data formats are not backwards comp. and changing all the time – and crashing.
    A good program you can not trust to have data consistency, is not a good program.

    Adobe has given all power to the marketing dept. – tech people are left in the dark. So – is is not a priority to make working programs – is a a priority to make people stuck in adobe closed formats and upgrade hell.

    10+ years ago Adobe had a perfect working LINUX version – much more stable, faster aso – deciding not to send it to the market. Do the math.

  6. Ben 18 November, 2020 at 20:07 Reply

    Unfortunately this hasn’t worked for me. I’ve done it several times without luck. I even deleted the entire sync file and let Lightroom create it again. Lots of time without solving the problem. Still LR shows a spinning wheel with 652 images remaining to be synced. When I try to see which files are those, LR shows no files being synced!!!

  7. Urban Angehrn 7 November, 2020 at 07:49 Reply

    Great tip, thank you. I had sync stuck with 62 photos for weeks. The sync rebuild took not very long in my case, maybe 15 minutes.

  8. Thomas B Robison 24 August, 2020 at 13:07 Reply

    For whom this may be of help: I experienced the “stuck syncing” of two photos. I tried various methods to solve this problem, and nothing helped. I finally “Removed” (not “Delete From Disk”) both photos from Lightroom Classic, and re–imported them and BINGO, problem fixed!

  9. 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.
    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.

  10. 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: Edit/Preferences/Lightroom Sync/Account/"Uploads: XXX photos synced" 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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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