How to copy photos from iCloud library

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by yomacroni, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. yomacroni macrumors member


    Sep 19, 2017
    I am migrating from a PC to Macbook and am trying to figure out a new workflow with iCloud photos and Lightroom. On the PC it's simple. I have iCloud for Windows which copied icloud photos to a folder on the PC. Lightroom looked for photos in this folder (using auto-import) and moved them to another folder which served as the master Lightroom library while still maintaining the icloud library separately. As new iCloud photos get uploaded to the PC folder, Lightroom moves and imports them. Even though they get moved from the uploaded iCloud folder, they are not removed from the iCloud library.

    On the Mac, these photos are stored in a zipped up file called Library.photoslibrary, which, if one shows the package contents are stored in various sub folders in the Masters folder. Since iCloud is integrated more deeply, one shouldn't mess with these files directly. Also, if they are removed then they are removed from the iCloud library itself.

    Therefore, I thought that it would make the most sense to copy these iCloud photos elsewhere on the Macbook and set Lightroom to look in this new folder to auto-import. Is there any program that will semi-sync photos from the iCloud photo library to another folder such that if they are removed from the other folder, they won't get copied over again? I only need them copied once (and Lightroom will handle the rest). Or am I thinking about this wrong? Is there a better way? I do not want to manually copy photos over, it should be automatically synced.
  2. hughm123 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2014
    If you have any iPad or iPhone you and you have Lightroom CC, then you can use the "Lightroom Mobile" app to auto-import new photos in the camera roll into a Lightroom collection.

    Instructions are under or

    Roughly speaking (but check the notes in the articles above):

    1. In Lightroom desktop, sign into Adobe CC so cloud sync is enabled
    2. In the Lightroom Mobile app, create a collection with a name like "Auto import iOS Photo Stream"
    3. For this collection, click "..." and then select "Enable Auto Import"

    After that, whenever you shoot a new photo with the phone's camera, it should auto-import into this collection, then the collection will sync to CC and then Lightroom desktop, and then you can view or copy this elsewhere in Lightroom. The synced collection should show up in Collections under "From Lr Mobile".
  3. yomacroni thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 19, 2017
    Thanks, this is close but I don't want to manually copy/move the photos elsewhere in Lightroom. I tried and currently they are located in a package on the mac called 'Mobile Downloads.lrdata'
    Is there any way to automate copying the files over to the master Lightroom library, ie copy the files to the hard drive where the main photos are stored?

  4. hughm123 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2014
    I guess the the setup wasn't clear :(. If you have this setup correctly, the photos should show up in the Lightroom GUI under "Collections" as a collection called "From Lr Mobile -> NAME YOU CHOSE". For example if you call this collection "iCloud Photo Stream" you should get a copy of the photo stream, at least for photos created after you enable this (old photos are not added).

    You con't need to manually copy unless you want to move them into a Lightroom-specific folder or different collection.

    I think you do need to have the Lr Mobile app running on your mobile device, but it should sync into the GUI.
  5. yomacroni thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 19, 2017
    OK, I get it now. Every now and then I can manually move the Lr mobile photos into my regular LR folders grouped by year etc on the OS.

    I also found a program called Hazel which can automatically copy photos from the iCloud library into my auto-import Lightroom folder, which more closely matches my Windows workflow. If I do this I don't need to open LR app on the iPhone which I never use. I would only use LR Mobile on iPad possibly. Thanks for the explanations.


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4 September 20, 2017