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Putting the d'oh! in Adobe: 'Years of photos' permanently wiped from iPhones, iPads by bad Lightroom app update

Please, please, please back up your files, people

Adobe is offering its condolences to customers after an update to its Lightroom photo manager permanently deleted loads of snaps on people's iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.

First reported by PetaPixel, the data annihilation was triggered after punters this week fetched version 5.4 of the iOS software. Netizens complained that, following the release and installation of that build, their stored photos and paid-for presets vanished. Adobe acknowledged the issue though it didn't have much to offer punters besides saying sorry.

"Yesterday when I use the Lightroom Mobile, it was okay," reported customer Mohamad Alif Eqnur.

"I still have my presets and pictures saved in the apps but today, 18th August 2020, after I updated the apps on Apps Store, all of my pictures and presets gone."

The photo-nuking bug has apparently been fixed, and updating to the latest version of the iOS app will keep you from losing your stuff, if it hasn't been lost already. Assets saved to the Lightroom cloud are still intact as are those on non-iOS devices.

If you had copied your photos on your Mac, PC, or Android gear, the pics will still be there. Basically, if you backed up your snaps from your iThing, you're OK. If you left it all on your iPhone or iPad... sorry, friend.

"Two-plus years of edits are just gone, lost, unrecoverable," sighed one user. "I do photography as a hobby so I never saw a need for backing up photos and I never paid for the subscription (which would include cloud storage) because I didn’t use any of the tools that came along with the subscription."

This blunder is particularly bad as Lightroom is considered something of a specialized app for photographers. While not as high-end as Photoshop, it's still used by people who take pride in their pics. Losing photos is sort of a big deal to this crowd.

Sensing this, Adobe dispatched its staff to try and calm things down. Rikk Flohr, a rep for the company, offered a statement to the aggrieved punters. The bad news is that, indeed, any missing photos and presets from the update are gone for good:

We are aware that some customers who updated to Lightroom 5.4.0 on iPhone and iPad may be missing photos and presets that were not synced to the Lightroom cloud.

A new version of Lightroom mobile (5.4.1) for iOS and iPadOS has now been released that prevents this issue from affecting additional customers.

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

We know that some customers have photos and presets that are not recoverable. We sincerely apologize to any customers who have been affected by this issue.

The Register asked Adobe for additional comment on the matter. We'll let you know if it gets back to us. ®

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