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Lightroom on iOS will soon allow direct photo import from external storage

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No more Siri Shortcuts

Adobe shared a preview of a direct photo import feature for Lightroom CC on iOS 13.2, which is slated to arrive in an update by the end of the year. Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty demonstrated the feature in a video showing him transferring RAW files off of a USB card reader and seamlessly opening them up in a beta version of Lightroom.

Previously, importing photos to Lightroom was a multistep process that required users to import photos to their iPad camera roll first, transferring it to Lightroom, and then deleting them from the camera roll to free up space on their iPads. Apple introduced a workaround for this tedious process with a Siri Shortcut in January, which automatically imported photos from the camera roll into Lightroom and then deleted them from the camera roll after. But it wasn’t a perfect solution, as the shortcut only allowed the app to import either RAWs and JPEGs, not both. It was a time-consuming operation that highlighted Apple’s limitations on the iPad Pro.

Today’s preview of the feature confirms earlier reports from April that iOS 13 will allow apps to bring in photos from external storage devices like cameras and SD cards. It’s been a highly requested feature for years, and having this option will go a long way toward making the iPad into a device for real productivity, at least for photographers who rely on Lightroom.