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

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

    And since the photographer gets to assign a fair market value to their individual pictures, multiplied by the hundreds (thousands) of destroyed pictures per photographer, multiplied by the number of affected users of the software, Adobe could be out several billion in direct damages alone much less the added fines for penalties and to cover the lawyer fees.

    Here's hoping they get bitten on the arse so hard it leaves tooth marks in their DNA!

    1. DS999

      Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

      Yeah good luck with that. No doubt the EULA requires accepting arbitration rather than a lawsuit, and limits potential damages to the purchase price of the application like everyone else's does.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Purchase price of the application

        When I was a PFY the usual limit to remedy was replacement installation media and then only if the product did not perform broadly in line with the supplied printed documentation (a small card with installation instructions).

        Strange to see this old promise from the free software community catching on after all this time.

        1. NoneSuch Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Purchase price of the application

          Another fantastic money making opportunity for the lawyers with almost nothing for the plaintiffs in three... two... one...

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

        Pretty certain that in certain jurisdictions this will be considered as negligence on Adobe's behalf because the data has been lost permanently. Assume there will be a tussle over where any cases can be fought.

        1. Mike Pellatt

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Except, of course, for users who acted on the old adage:

          "There are two sorts of data. Data that has been backed up and data that has not been lost yet".

          For them, the data hasn't been lost.

        2. Kraggy

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Sorry, the only negligence here is the idiot users who seem to have made no backups of their allegedly valuable data .. what would these fools do if the phone got stolen and they never got it back?

          Yes, Adobe is responsible for the deletion of the photos on the device, it is NOT responsible for idiot users' lack of taking backups.

          1. NightFox

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            Nice victim blaming there

            1. Imhotep Silver badge

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              Sometimes the "victim" is to blame. I'm more inclined to fault Adobe in this case.

              1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

                Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                Adobe should certainly shoulder much of the blame. After all, if this bug effects everyone on said OS, how on earth did this bug escape the testing phase? However, if your photos are so valuable, why on earth do you only store them on just one device? What if your device was lost, stolen, or broken beyond repair?

            2. Blank Reg Silver badge

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              Of course it's not the users fault that the photos were deleted, but they are to blame for not backing them up somewhere. if they were important then they would have a backup. no backups means they just weren't important or valuable

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                You'd assume that users of proper editing s/w would be a division or two higher than the people who keep everything on their phones.

                Apparently not.

                doesn't excuse Adobe though.

        3. Soruk

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Would the (UK) Computer Misuse Act come into play, as they have actively put out software which has destroyed data on users' devices? It could come under malicious software as this feature wasn't disclosed to users before they installed the software.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

        "No doubt the EULA requires accepting arbitration rather than a lawsuit, and limits potential damages to the purchase price of the application like everyone else's does."

        Whether it does or not, statutory rights will prevail, at least for consumers and in jurisdictions with reasonably good consumer protection legislation.

        It's another of those tings we keep having to explain. Along with things like 5G does not cause coronavirus.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Nope, no backup no data. It's that simple. There is no such thing as fool/bug/crash/...proof software. Whatever liabilities a software creator may have the ongoing existence of data stored on a device they are not responsible for is not one of them.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            "Whatever liabilities a software creator may have the ongoing existence of data stored on a device they are not responsible for is not one of them."

            There's a pretty strong argument that they ARE responsible for deleting data on a general purpose device though. If it had been a specific single function device like a camera, cable/sat decoder box etc that an update may do a factory reset, then yeah, there might be an argument for deleting user data. I'm fairly confident that most courts in most jurisdictions are unlikely to look favourably on a company provided update to a single app deleting data that might not actually relate to the app itself.

            People losing data by not having backups because they got malware or dropped and smashed their device is upsetting but they will accept it's mainly their own fault. Having your data deleted by a company error who you have paid to supply an app, backup or no backup, is very much mostly the fault of the supplier not the user.

            1. Adair Silver badge

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              The problem is: what are we going to ask the court to condemn the software creator for - wilful negligence, criminal negligence, corporate negligence?

              Every time MS releases an update there are wails from the swamp as a proportion of users have 'bad things happen' to their systems/data because of the update. Every time anybody releases an update to their software there is a chance that someone, somewhere is going to be an unhappy bunny through some kind of loss/borkage.

              That is the reality everyone lives with, and unless someone can make a good case for criminal activity it will be are hard, if not impossible, task to convince a judge that my loss is something the software provider can be held liable for, because we all live with the risk of loss through faulty software every day and responsible people are expected to take responsible actions to mitigate that risk.

              I'm not arguing that Adobe could not should not be dragged kicking and screaming before the beak for a righteous infliction of damages, but what I am saying is that where do we draw the line between 'Ooops, your particular foul up did not show up in our testing and could not reasonably have been foreseen', and 'Yes, your honour, we screwed up royally, a code monkey has been ritually impaled as an example to others, and please accept this voucher for a lifetime supply of the finest glossy toilet paper'?

        2. DS999

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Whether it does or not, statutory rights will prevail, at least for consumers and in jurisdictions with reasonably good consumer protection legislation

          As an American, I'm looking at it from an American perspective. Consumer protection legislation? Never heard of it!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        EULA's are not legally binding in the UK

        But EULA's are not legally binding in the UK, since they are conditions added after the Contract has been Agreed and after Consideration for the Contract has been paid.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

        "No doubt the EULA requires accepting arbitration rather than a lawsuit, and limits potential damages"

        Have these one-sided, onerous EULAs ever actually been properly tested in court yet? From what I remember reading of various cases over the years, despite the EULA pretty much absolving the vendor of most/all liability, they almost always end up settling out of court for much more than the EULA would imply. It's almost as if the corporations are frightened of setting a legal precedent proving the EULAs are not worth the paper and ink or digital bits they are written on.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

      Simple Adobe response, "You do have backup to Adobe Cloud don't you? Don't you? Oh, we did offer it to you."

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

        Simple Adobe response, "Check the small print in the agreement that you clicked on to use the app - you can't sue us."

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Sadly the usual response.

        2. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Pretty sure you can't limit consumer protections like that.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            Whereas in the EU the EULA cannot override your statutory rights, in Merkinland the enforceability or otherwise depends on state laws and court circuit. The first thing a US EULA usually does is say which state they're based in (always a favourable one which says that any old nonsense in the EULA is actually considered legally enforceable) and if you disagree with them you have to use their arbitration procedure and waive your right to class action.

            And it's all perfectly legal!

            Americans, you've been had.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

      No file exists, unless there are: 3 copies on 2 different media and 1 is stored off site...

      And that originated with a photographer, I believe.

      This has been lesson one since I started using computers in 1980... If it is worth keeping, back it up! Things go wrong, things fail. If you don't have a current backup, you only have yourself to blame...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

        "you only have yourself to blame"

        Or in this case, Adobe to blame.

        What I can't understand, is why in the name of all the gods of information technology, was an Adobe update even touching a data directory?

        The 'app' can't have been saving peoples files by default under the software directory, can it? Keeping software and data separate seems elementary.

        1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Keeping software and data separate seems elementary.

          I don't use iOS devices, so I'm not sure. But, you have to remember the demographic here. These are photographers, not IT pros. They probably didn't know any better. However, if there was no option, then someone at Adobe needs to be drug out and shot, twice.

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            A lot of photographers do know better. And anyway, Lightroom is the lite app. Lightroom Classic is the one for desktop which allows serious work

            1. Martin M

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              The concern I have is that the same engineering standards are likely applied to both.

              1. Stork Silver badge

                Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                Quite possible. In LR Classic, the procedure for deleting is:

                - mark photos to be deleted

                - choose Revive Rejected Photos

                - click Delete Files (or words to that effect)

                Files are now in Thrash/Recycling bin and you have to empty that before they are gone. I don't see all of the steps happening without user interaction

          2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            then someone at Adobe needs to be drug out and shot, twice.

            Start with the board of directors, and work your way down the org chart.

            Most corporate "apologies" involve some low ranking flunky being hurled to the angry mob, while those whose job descriptions actually include "responsibility" continue their idyllic existence, and collect their performance bonuses.

            not an i-user of any kind, I just think this is another classic example of the shit we have become used to from big companies.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          Being a photo cataloguing application, it would have to have access to the photos folder...

          And it is the user's responsibility to ensure files are backed up. If it wasn't Adobe, what about device theft, fire, flood, dropped or faulty device, to name just a few instances where the same thing would have occurred?

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            I only use Elements (PC) but it's hard not to notice that cataloguing and indexing photos that are nothing to do with Adobe seems to be a major part of what it does. In fact one of the first jobs after installing a new version ( just went from 9 to 2020) is to make it stop running in the background, recreating unwanted Start entries and all that shit. Adobe seem to think that once you install one of their products they own your device.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            That argument is largely analogous to arguing you aren't responsible for drunkenly driving your car through the front of someone's house because they didn't install an armco barrier at the end of their front garden. Yes, the users should have backups of their photos (although, do you think this is ever explained? Do iPads come with instructions which say this, for example?), but also Adobe should not delete your data in an update ...

            1. IGotOut Silver badge

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              If i remember correctly iCloud backs up photos by default (so long since I set it up). Extra storage is peanuts.

              Then you have Google photos, Amazon photos, heck even Facebook.

              Me? I've NextCloudPi backing all my images up, but I must get an offsite set up at my parents / friends house.

              1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                If i remember correctly iCloud backs up photos by default (so long since I set it up). Extra storage is peanuts.

                Yeah, to THEIR service, but bob forbid you should be able to back up your data to LOCAL storage.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              "That argument is largely analogous to arguing you aren't responsible for drunkenly driving your car through the front of someone's house because they didn't install an armco barrier at the end of their front garden."

              The situation here seems to be that of a self-driving car going through the front of the house.

            3. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

              No, this is more analagous to not checking the oil in the engine of your vehicle and then blaiming the manufacturer for a faulty engine, when it ceases, because you failed to put oil in when needed.

              Well, not exactly, but at least a better analogy.

              And suing Adobe won't help bring back those lost photos. And any money won wouldn't help recover those photos either. Just the same as if the device is destroyed, there is no point wailing and gnashing your teeth and blaming Apple. It is your data, so it is your responsibilty to ensure that it is safe from loss.

              I've worked at companies where whole servers have gone down, power surge due to a lightning strike, fire, flood etc. They didn't wail about how unfair life is, they got replacement hardware in and recovered their data.

              A private user is no different, just the scale is much smaller.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                "I've worked at companies where whole servers have gone down, power surge due to a lightning strike, fire, flood etc. They didn't wail about how unfair life is, they got replacement hardware in and recovered their data."

                Do you think said company would just "suck it up" if their vendor supplied updates wiped the server? There's going to be downtime, even if it's just a few hours/days/weeks while they rebuild from backups, Or do you think the company might be suing the people who caused the damage?

                1. big_D Silver badge

                  Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                  No, they would go to their contact to recuperate their losses, but they wouldn't sue for data loss, that would still be their problem. But they would first recover their data from backups.

                  I've had the situation a couple of times during my career. We just get on recovering the data, whilst the mangers worry about whether they can get compensation.

                  I'm not saying that Adobe are not to blame or they ballsed up, just that it is still the users responsibility to ensure that they have backups. No amount of walking or pointing fingers at Adobe is going to get their data back.

              2. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

                Sounds good. But then we hear about big organisations losing their data to ransomware......

          3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            And it is the user's responsibility to ensure files are backed up. If it wasn't Adobe, what about device theft, fire, flood, dropped or faulty device, to name just a few instances where the same thing would have occurred?

            But when you're dealing with crApple iThings, they really don't like it if you want to back up elsewhere. Google/Android, of course, have picked up on this and are hell bent on making proper backups impossible too.

        3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          I remember when the default save directory for MSWord was <installpath>\Word.

        4. Black Betty

          Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

          My guess it that Adobe created a link to the photos folder in its own application folder tree and then recursed through the photos folder when it wiped the application in preparation for the new install.

          Bigger question is, how the hell did did this update make it from development to production without this being detected. It's not like this is some obscure edge case bug. FFS El Reg regularly reports cases of application updates trashing customer data as soon as they hit the real world, so why the hell aren't the developers testing on actual real world systems (or copies thereof) instead of pristine devices fresh out of the box?

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

            FFS El Reg regularly reports cases of application updates trashing customer data as soon as they hit the real world, so why the hell aren't the developers testing on actual real world systems (or copies thereof) instead of pristine devices fresh out of the box?

            Because they are the developers who say NIH!

      2. NorthIowan

        Re: No file exists...

        ...unless there are: 3 copies on 2 different media and 1 is stored off site...

        Was my motto until I discovered a disk corruption while doing a backup. Then I realized that the backup I was writing to was gone and that now had only 2 backups. Assuming the disk problem hadn't messed up either of them. That was when I was using tapes.

        Now I consider 3 copies as a bare minimum when I tell people they should do backups. I keep 8 copies in my backup rotation.

        1. EveryTime

          Re: No file exists...

          I was bitten, hard, by a similar file system problem.

          The standard Unix file system (BSD FFS, Berkeley Fast File System) put all of its effort into metadata consistency, and none in to file data consistency. When sometimes had the effect of "correcting" corrupted directory entries to point to zeroed blocks if they were invalid. While in some cases it wasn't entirely silent about doing this, it wasn't a fatal file system check error. The messages looked the same as and were buried among the many others in the boot log after an unexpected shutdown.

          The result was that the data directory looked entirely correct, with no indication of a problem. File permissions, timestamps and sizes were correct. But some the file contents were zeros. Which were dutifully backed up, overwriting the incremental and then staggered backups. A few weeks later when this was discovered, there was no backup, on-site or off-site, that contained the data.

          Ironically, this was in the middle of BSD Unix fans slagging the Linux file system designers on how "unreliable" it was by not implementing continuous metadata consistency. A Linux crash would often result many more metadata inconsistency problems, but almost never file data corruption. And especially not the horrendous silent data corruption when the directory structure appeared consistent (because the file system programmers cared about "their" directory structure and performance benchmarks, but not the user's data).

          The point here is that you can have a sophisticated, responsible backup scheme and still lose data. Saying that "the harm wasn't our fault because they should have had backups" misses the point.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: No file exists...

            It's funny how developers can do this sort of thing. There's a publisher of educational software that a few years back produced a programme for schools that defaulted to saving the kids' work in the programmes folder. Which was on a locked down network in most schools. And the settings within the programme were also locked down behind a password and concealed from the users/teachers' view. And the error messages were suppressed. So the teachers didn't know that kids' work (or hopefully their trial work, familiarising themselves with the software before letting the kids loose on it, though I wouldn't bet on that) wasn't being saved because the programme was trying to save to a locked down location.

            So one more good bit of educational software sat ignored in most schools because it was effectively unusable.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No file exists...

            Oh my; this string brings back a backup disaster I witnessed early in my mainframe career (40-ish years ago).

            In short: due to an (unknown) incompatibility between a database product (I supported) and a 3rd-party tape management opsys addon (we're talking DOS/VS environment)... instead of database images being written to tape, a section of the backup program itself was being written to tape as the data.

            This was a client who expected to be able to restore all their month-end copies of the database at the end of the year for financial reporting, and the DBMS was throwing up trying to read the 'restored' database. I got sent to their site to debug why the DBMS was puking.

            Bottom line, they were up poop creek during the annual alligator reunion. Nothing I could do... that data was gone forever.

            For the morbidly curious... the incompatibility was caused by the tape management software ASSUMING the buffer address in the DTF would never change, and cloned the entire DTF at file open time. The backup software rightly assumed that the buffer address in the DTF was modifiable, and altered it to point to whatever database buffer was ready to be written to tape. The backup program issued a write to DOS, the 3rd party grabbed it and used their copy of the DTF (not ours) without changing the buffer address, and tens of thousands of blocks (of the same section of the backup program) went out masquerading as a database backup.

            Sad day.

            1. hoola Bronze badge

              Re: No file exists...

              The trouble with all things cloudy, particularly storage is people believe that is automagically either a backup or the provider backs it up in it's own right.

              In 99% of consumer situations the cloud storage is not a backup and is also not backed up from a consumer. The copy in the cloud is often the only copy or is synced from the device so in reality is also the only copy.

              If you have a file and you store it in a cloud service then the likelihood is when it is deleted, you cannot get it back. If that is synchronised into something like Google Drive then if you delete it from either end then it is most likely gone. If you overwrite that file then the original is gone.

            2. Richard Pennington 1

              Re: No file exists...

              Also from 40+ years ago ... no backup can be relied on until its "restore: has been successfully tested.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No file exists...

                Yeah; I had that thought, and likely expressed it at the time.

                My main objective was to get the heck out of there before the fertilizer hit the ventilation system.

                But then (if you know 1980s mainframe environments); DOS folk were generally smaller shops, and less sophisticated than MVS shops... with typically fewer resources (human and physical) and less developed/mature processes.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: No file exists...

          Yes, we use shadow copies + backup + offsite backup on rotating media.

          If a file becomes corrupt, we can usually go back a couple of months and if that doesn't work, we have the year-end backups as well. Not much use on a live database being updated hundred of times a second, but for files that only get changed occasionally, that is usually enough.

      3. MrNigel

        Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

        Reminds me of the late 80's when the 72MB disc in my SCO Xenix 386 box started making a loud 'squeaking' noise. After a couple of weeks it died so I thumbed through the local (Chippenham, UK) Yellow Pages directory to find unbelievably there was a Disc Recovery company a short walk from my office. Took it around in person, picked it up a week later and plugged it back in and all my data was there, they had 'replaced a bearing'. I think I bought a DC300A back-up solution to protect against future squeaking....

    4. JoeCool
      Mushroom

      Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

      Forget that. I'm waiting for the APPLE lawsuit. Adobe just nuked the data security credibility of their ecosphere.

    5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Class action suit in 3... 2... 1...

      "since the photographer gets to assign a fair market value to their individual pictures"

      If the photos weren't backed up, Adobe will argue that the photographer valued them at zero.

  2. DS999

    Obviously was not tested

    There's no way a bug like this gets by even the most basic testing. Adobe really must have the worst developers in the business, based on the huge list of security fixes they are forced to patch and incidents like this.

    1. David Lewis 2
      Joke

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      Of course it was tested ... that's what users are for!

      Icon > I'm not really sure it is. This seems to be a modern trend.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Obviously was not tested

        It worked so well for A-doh-be Flash.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      Adobe really must have the worst developers in the business

      Even if that were true, competition is fierce. But don't blame the developers. Blame the managers and the marketers for pushing stuff out untested.

    3. David 132 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      Adobe really must have the worst developers in the business

      Yeah, they lost their best developers when they wound down the Flash development team.

      1. krf

        Re: Obviously was not tested

        This is a joke, right? If I thought that any developers that had anything to do with the script-kiddie quality Flash app were still employed, I would dump all Adobe products and change my hosts file to send them straight to 127.0.0.1.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Obviously was not tested

          The latest Flash version is 32.0.0.414, released about a week ago.

          Really.

          Surely you're checking for updates? :-)

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      The devs work for A-DOH!-be and all probably have free Adobe cloud accounts, so probably nobody noticed...

      Seriously though, yes, they should have at least tested it with a device with local-only images.

    5. Alumoi
      Trollface

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      That's not a bug. You are supposed to keep everything in the cloud, didn't you get the memo? All your files are belong to us!

      If my memory serves me right it isn't the first time Adobe did this, accidentally deleting local files.

      1. Mystic Megabyte
        FAIL

        Re: Obviously was not tested @Alumoi

        A very old version (v5 perhaps) of Photoshop would happily delete your images if you did the following.

        Select File>Automation and choose a destination folder above the source folder. Click "Start" and all your images in the source folder are gone!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      >Adobe really must have the worst developers in the business, based on the huge list of security fixes they are forced to patch and incidents like this.

      We've known it for years, Flash, PDF anyone ?

    7. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      "There's no way a bug like this gets by even the most basic testing."

      Microsoft says hold my beer.

    8. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      You haven't been aware of Adobe for long enough have you?

      Sorry if that comes across as overly cynical but this is truly par for the course since before the CCCP was retro...

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      Adobe can't win - they provide a security fix to prevent hackers ever stealing customers pictures and the customers complain....

    10. Black Betty

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      It does if the only thing you test on is pristine devices straight out of the box, or freshly reset to factory settings.

    11. JohnGrantNineTiles

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      Shows how unwise it is installing anything with a version number that ends in .0

    12. Man inna barrel

      Re: Obviously was not tested

      I am seriously puzzled as to why an application update would need to go anywhere near user data, let alone delete chunks of it. Is the user data in the form of specialised Adobe files that needed "updating"? Was there some change in where user files are stored? I am speculating. I would like to know the real answer.

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Obviously was not tested

        Maybe it has not deleted the data but has wiped all the access keys so the link between the user and data has been broken. That would make more sense than actual data deletion.

        The assumption then is that the keys cannot be recovered as they were only embedded in the app, bye-bye all cloud photos.

  3. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

    Backing up is hard to do.

    Really, since so many people never really back up anything. I only learned very recently that even three copies isn't enough. Lost five years of data.

    1. NATTtrash Silver badge

      Really, since so many people never really back up anything.

      Very true. We all have had calls from family/ friends along the lines of : "It was here, and now it's gone" Or: "I think I deleted it. It did ask me whether I was sure, and I think I hit yes". But either way, it always results in: "Can you get it back?"

      Then again, most didn't start with a dodgy <fill-in-which-was your-first-box> that was so unstable that, if your mum turned on the Hoover, you lost a whole night of coding. Of course you didn't save because the cassette tape took so long. And that's disregarding the fact that most users nowadays don't go beyond the "is there an app for that?" level...

      1. big_D Silver badge

        You just can't help some people. I gave my daughter 1TB of cloud storage and USB keys... She stuffed her MacBook Pro in her backpack, along with a thermos of coffee, which she forgot to seal. By the time she got home from Uni, it was displaying a lovely fractal pattern on the display and coffee was dripping out of all the openings.

        She tried to power it on, which killed it and the hard drive. I tried a lot of different things, including taking the drive out and sticking it in a PC and using disk recovery tools, but sugared bearings don't rotate well.

        She hadn't copied her dissertation to the cloud or backed it up to USB stick, she had to start from scratch.

        She learnt her lesson and now has Backblaze on her new MBP.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Experience is a dear teacher but there are those who will learn at no other.

          1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
            Joke

            Experience is a dear teacher but there are those who will learn at no other.

            The problem with experience as a teacher is that the exam comes before the lesson.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              No joke, just an excellent addition. I may use it in future.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          And that is how most people learn the value of backups - through a painful experience.

          And some, not even then.

          Adobe has just given two essential lessons to its customers :

          1) wait for others to install the upgrade to learn if something goes wrong

          2) always backup your important data to some other type of media that you can store off the network

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            You forgot 3

            3) Don't trust Adobe.

            1. Alumoi

              2.5) Do not trust the 'cloud' you don't control.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > You just can't help some people. I gave my daughter 1TB of cloud storage and USB keys... She stuffed her MacBook Pro in her backpack, along with a thermos of coffee, which she forgot to seal. By the time she got home from Uni, it was displaying a lovely fractal pattern on the display and coffee was dripping out of all the openings.

          It's a Mac - if you'd got her 1TB of iCloud storage she'd have lost at most 1 hour of work without her having to remember to backup. And the restore to a new machine would have been press one button and wait.

          1. james_smith Silver badge

            You're assuming an always on Internet connection, not a given for education establishments even in this day and age.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Correct. Especially if the device is not provided by the education establishment in question. Although in the case in question, it sounds like it was a university which would probably only require that the account is logged in on the device to get access. But maybe she didn't have auto-login switched on either.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          about 25 years ago my first IT job was working on the desk in the open access area of a Uni. 3rd year undergrad came to the desk saying her floppy wasn't reading. Went and had a look, yep its fecked, her ONLY copy of her dissertation which she was there to print that day was on that said, by the looks of it 3 year old floppy! Think she probably got that floppy in her 1st year and used it ever since. Bless her had tears and everything.

        5. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          She tried to power it on, which killed it and the hard drive. I tried a lot of different things, including taking the drive out and sticking it in a PC and using disk recovery tools, but sugared bearings don't rotate well.

          Wow, a crApple device that actually had a storage media that could be removed *AND* read on another device? How quaint. You aren't allowed control of your OWN data on Apple devices anymore.

        6. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Was it a Pro with one of those SSDs with an incompatible connector or maybe one of those SSDs which are surface mounted, or perhaps one of those SSDs which only work with the original T2 chip?

          Apple seem to be under the impression that nobody would ever want to open their machine up and connect the drive to another computer with USB.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            It was a Pro with spinning rust.

    2. 142

      > I only learned very recently that even three copies isn't enough. Lost five years of data.

      Eeek.

      Care to share any more details from your tale of woe? What went so wrong that that happened you?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Sounds like a corrupted backup process anywhere from it's never done a successful backup to just far enough back that it's trickled through to the least used backup. If the former, then it was never a backup if a restore was never verified, but it sounds more like the latter.

    3. Piro

      You've piqued my curiosity - what happened?

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    so I never saw a need for backing up photos

    There's the problem right there.

    And no, it's not "oh, I never expected an update to trash all my photos" because, let's be honest, that's unusual. More usual is dropping the device and breaking it in a way that can't be fixed, having it stolen, unfortunate victim of house fire or car crash or whatever.

    If those photos are important to you, it's your basic responsibility to make copies of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

      But these are Apple Sheeple we are talking about here. They will expect the ghost of Steve Jobs to appear and restore everything for them.

      User backups are for losers in their minds. Apple will look after their children (not)

      If you do use a mobile device to take photos that are important then it really is not that hard to get them off the device (even an iDevice) and out of an environment such as Adobe's walled garden and into (sic) normal files and then save those images to external storage but people have got lazy and this happens. will they learn? Well, those who lost data will but the rest will still be living on the edge.

      1. schafdog

        Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

        Being an "Apple Sheeple" or a Google product... I know what I prefer.

        1. RM Myers Silver badge

          Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

          Neither?

          Yes, I realize that neither is not really practical for most people. But you did say "what I prefer", not "what I prefer and is possible".

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

            Well, I prefer good 'ol LR6 on my desktop. No updates to that gonna happen. Plus, I have instantaneous backups to another drive in the same machine, to a different machine in the same house, and to OneDrive, followed by off-site backups to two other locations on a rotating 14-day basis. I think that's just about enough. But it might not be.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

              The vast majority of people wouldn't even know how do that, let alone think it was justified. At best, most would use a single cloud provider but probably only if it's set up by default or they already lost stuff and learned the hard way.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

          You think there is a difference?

          1. big_D Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

            Yes, one is markedly cheaper, at least up front.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

      Photos or any other data - if it's not on a storage device owned by you, entirely under your control, and in an open format that can be read by non-proprietory software... it's not your data.

      Full stop.

      (And for safety, copied in multiple places, ideally in different cities. Or planets).

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

        I concur (see post above). Admittedly one of my backups is cloudy, but that's why it's only an extra. The images themselves are stored in the native raw camera format (NEF), but there's not a lot I can do about that. The ones I really want have been tweaked and processed into high-quality JPEGs, which helps.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

      I have scanned family photos going back to the 1890s and sketches etc going back further than that. There are 4 backups of these and the other 50,000 family photos etc which are in various locations. Burned to disk and in a safe, 2 different cloud backups, 1 on a local synology box (which has hot swap drive and also backs up to the cloud) and one copy on my PC.

      I'm paranoid about losing any of those images, but as i spent many weeks organising and scanning them in, I'm aware of each and every one and they matter a lot to me.

      If you value your stuff people, put the damn effort into keeping it safe. It doesn't have to cost much in time or cash..

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

        I agree.

        I have all the family photos on a photos partition, with a backup on a backup partition (which happens to be on a second hdd) which is then backed up onto an external HDD that I swap from time to time.

        I also have various old HDDs floating around, that carry most of the photos. And some free cloud storage accounts.

        I'm trying to find a way to keep a copy away from home, too.

        1. gryphon

          Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

          Amazon Photos perhaps if you have Prime membership. Not sure what their license conditions are like though, hopefully not the FB one of ‘you grant us a non-exclusive license to do whatever the hell we like with your photos’.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

      "There's the problem right there."

      It is, but maybe not in the way you're thinking.

      The problem is in assuming that the customers would have their data backed up.

      There is no excuse whatsoever - not even "you should have backed up" - for releasing an update that loses data in this way.

      I've said several times here that the first requirement for a DBA is paranoia. Extend that to developers and release managers. Irrespective of whether the customer has backed up or not they should recognise that they themselves have a duty of care for that data.

      There are many potential disasters which justify backup as a protection. A buggy release from a major software corporation should not need to be one of them.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: "No excuse"

        There is no excuse whatsoever - not even "you should have backed up" - for releasing an update that loses data in this way.

        That may be true but in absolute sense, if things like this never happened our overall need for backups would be far less urgent, wouldn't it?

        We are supposed to make backups in order to recover from mistakes, disasters or problems. Adobe screwed up, made a mistake - the very purpose of having backups. It is a terrible experience for the affected users but that didn't mitigate the issue that users should have taken responsibility for their own property (data) and assured its security with backups.

        By not making backups the users are trying to place the ultimate responsibility of their data security with someone else. If the RAM failed and they lost their data they would just as easily blame the RAM manufacturer. If they dropped the device and damaged it beyond access they would blame Apple for not making a sturdy enough device. They're just throwing their responsibly down the chain of command and absolving themselves of ultimate responsibility for their property - a photographer who didn't think it necessary to back up their photos, EVER?!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "No excuse"

          Let me reiterate: "A buggy release from a major software corporation should not need to be one of them."

          Let me give you a car example: if someone drives into the car you're in they are not exonerated if you don't happen to be wearing a seatbelt.

    5. overunder Silver badge

      Re: so I never saw a need for backing up photos

      "There's the problem right there."

      Stop rolling in backup strategies like a bar of soap for bad, no, HORRIBLE filesystem management by billion dollar corporations!! You're trying the old tried and true corporate PR of... My Mistake, Your Fault..?? Booooooo... go home you Adobe rep.

    6. JoeCool

      Are you telling me

      that you make an independent image back up before each app upgrade ? Didn't think so.

      Back up is the obvious universal answer to all data issues, but it's for disasters, not app updates - that's just not a reasonable proposition.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Are you telling me

        As it happens, Macrium Reflect sends images to my External and second HDDs' backups partition/folder every few days. And my laptop backsup across the network to that PC too. In it's own folder.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Are you telling me

        "that you make an independent image back up before each app upgrade ?"

        No, but weekly/fortnightly/monthly backups would greatly reduce the amount of information lost.

        To give a real life example, a fat finger moment and lack of attention meant that instead of deleting some of the photos I no longer wanted, I inadvertently deleted the entire "Camera" folder. Everything, gone. And while all the data is still physically there, Android has no undo button.

        Thanks to having a backup, I only lost a week or so of photos.

        Whether an app update is bad, whether you make a mistake, whether your device is stolen or damaged, the reason doesn't matter. Backups are the difference between "it's all GONE!" and "dammit, I lost last Monday's work". Which would YOU prefer?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are you telling me

          For what it is worth (likely not much). This is Classic (desktop) Lightroom, not mobile. My workflow goes like this:

          1) Copy files from camera(s) to a hard drive; initially on my laptop or if travelling TWO portable drives

          2) Before ingesting into Lightroom, copy onto my home NAS (RAID 5).

          3) Ingest into Lightroom folders (also on the NAS), letting it make its own copy and telling it to leave the source files alone.

          4) NAS is set up to (nightly) keep a standalone external hard drive synched with the photo folder on the NAS.

          5) After, and only after, I am convinced the photos are successfully present on both the NAS and the external hard drive, do I remove from the source.

          6) The external hard drive gets swapped every 6 months for a clone that lives in offsite storage.

          I'm not a professional photographer, but I've been in IT long enough (mostly operations and system admin) to be paranoid AF.

  5. revenant

    It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

    Last month it was Canon losing people's pics from their cloud storage and now we have an Adobe 'cockup' that reaches into people's devices and wipes them. Something fishy is going on. It seems like a plot to wipe the evidence of something.

    Or is the quality of software development these days just shit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

      One word encapsulates the modern race-to-the-bottom, lowest-common-denominator standard of software development:

      Agile.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

        One word encapsulates the modern race-to-the-bottom, lowest-common-denominator standard of software development:

        Agile.

        That and 'MVP' which encourages the belief that the boring bits can always be delayed or avoided.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge
        Trollface

        Re: It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

        YAGNI for data? I like it!

    2. coconuthead

      Re: It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

      A lot of software aimed at photographers is indeed shit. Examples I've personally encountered on Mac include a tablet driver that makes mounting USB drives impossible, an image file browser that mishandled symbolic links (and was patched in a later version to just ignore them), a utility to enable colour management on an expensive monitor that prevented system shutdown if fast user switching was enabled, and various security holes like world-writeable executable directories.

      I'd postulate the reason that the purchasing demographic skews to older people and nontechnical users. It is true that a minority of camera gear and software is purchased by professionals, but they probably do what I do and have a dedicated "suicide Mac" to run it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a conspiracy, I tell you!

      Why does it need to be one or the other?

      Plenty of evidence that *both* apply.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems Adobe have form in this - they had a similar issue in 2015

    https://community.adobe.com/t5/creative-cloud-services/updated-creative-cloud-deleted-my-files/m-p/7043328?page=1

  7. Sandy Scott

    "While not as high-end as Photoshop"

    "While not as high-end as Photoshop..." No, if the job is *managing photos* then Lightroom wipes the floor with Photoshop, which makes this a particularly bad look for Adobe

    1. FatGerman

      Re: "While not as high-end as Photoshop"

      That's what I came here to say. They do different jobs. Professionals, and many others, use both.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "While not as high-end as Photoshop"

        Naja, I use Capture One Pro and Affinity Photo, but yes. Different tools for different parts of the workflow.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "While not as high-end as Photoshop"

      And "managing" shouldn't mean "losing".

  8. Martin M

    Idiots

    I use iOS Lightroom and have paid for CC Photography Cloud since it started. Although cloud sync reduces the impact of this particular issue, it could still have affected any photos not synced. And yet three days after Adobe knew about a serious, avoidable data loss defect, they have still not emailed me to say "do not open LR mobile until you have updated the app". I had to find out via this Reg reporting on a forum post.

    Putting avoiding corporate embarrassment ahead of customer's data is not a great look when selling a DAM which is first and foremost about reliably storing media. Combined with the epic fail in QA and release control, this is giving me some serious pause for thought. I'd already been taking a careful look at Exposure X5 - which is faster and can work with any cloud file sync vs Adobe's absurdly expensive cloud storage - and this may speed things up.

    To those saying backup is a panacea - what if this was a more subtle bug nuking a handful of photos over a period of time? I have a proper backup regime for my main catalogue, but with over 20,000 photos (probably not uncommon for the type of person using Lightroom) this would be really difficult to notice happening, especially if I hadn't graded the photos yet. I'd just silently use memories. Backup is necessary, but nothing can replace careful software engineering.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      'what if this was a more subtle bug nuking a handful of photos over a period of time'

      That's why proper backups aren't simple copies overwritten each time.

      1. Martin M

        Re: 'what if this was a more subtle bug nuking a handful of photos over a period of time'

        And that’s why I regularly replicate from Lightroom on Windows to a ZFS based NAS server with mirrored storage and regular znapzend snapshots which are replicated to another ZFS server in the attic. These get progressively thinned but some of them are retained indefinitely. Plus I continuously back up from the Windows box to Backblaze, which retains versions for 30 days. The subset of RAW photos that I rate highly, develop and export to JPEG also get synced to OneDrive, Google Drive and Amazon Prime photos. Many of those get printed.

        I’m not stupid, and in my day job have implemented infrastructure, DR and BCP for trading systems doing in and out payments of in excess of a billion dollars a day (much less netted obviously).

        None of this, however, will protect me from a deletion that *I do not realise has occurred*, which is what I was talking about. Plus I find a DAM that deletes photos offensive.

        1. Fire At Will

          Re: 'what if this was a more subtle bug nuking a handful of photos over a period of time'

          icymi and if it's of any interest, Backblaze added additional retention options. You can upgrade version history / retention from 30 days to a year for an extra $24 a year. Or indefinitely at that $24 plus B2-style per GB pricing.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: nothing can replace careful software engineering

      And that's the problem, nothing has replaced it.

      But apparently nobody is doing careful software engineering anymore (except NASA, and even they screw up sometimes).

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Idiots

      "Putting avoiding corporate embarrassment ahead of customer's data"

      They failed on both counts.

  9. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    In other news

    I found my old iPad backup.ipsw and yes the deleted files from years earlier are recoverable.

    As are contacts etc.

    Is there any feasibility in simply dumping the user memory (hopefully with intact files) as its likely that the majority of the data is intact in the Flash which only ever gets overwritten quite late on so there is slim chance of at least a partial recovery of some data. Similar to cloning a HDD which has experienced a logical error or scrambled file system.

    Apple could then release a MacOS tool to do photo recovery, thus buying time until they sort the mess out with Adobe.

  10. fnusnu

    Still only 2 types of computer user

    Those that have lost data and those that are just about to...

  11. davenewman

    I have a complete backup of photos on a Blu-Ray disc. It is now unreadable.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Why ? Did you leave the disc out in the sun ?

      I still have the first CDs I burned way back in 2003 and they, as well as all the rest of the optical discs I have ever burned, are perfectly readable.

      Of course, I always activate verify after burning.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Which brand?

        Which brand?

        I went through a load of 2002 to 2007 vintage CD/DVDs a few months back as an exercise and for many of them the indexes/ thumbnails were fine but several of the actual files were irretrievable. I had other backups of the important files anyway, but that was a little disconcerting.

        These were all kept in cases in a dark cupboard, so dye/data rot is not simply about light exposure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Which brand?

          Ionizing radiation?

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    How Adobe ever got Photoshop to become an industry standard ill never know, since their code for all their software is usually a buggy mess. I can only assume their marketing dept is better at its job than their developers.

    1. Greybearded old scrote

      Initially there were few alternatives, so the half-baked brick rose to prominence with little opposition. (One of those early programs saved up a list of edits and applied them again for every change, rather like Lightroom et al. Great in concept but on the limited hardware of the day, not so much.)

      Now many (not all) of those who call themselves pros won't consider learning anything else . Mention one of the alternatives and they shout 'workflow!' with no further explanation.

      As others have said, if you only have one copy it almost doesn't exist.

      1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

        I was one of those who did not get on the Photoshop bandwagon. I went with CorelDRAW. My first version of that was 4.0. I'm now using CorelDRAW X7. Good program, does what I need it to.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. I tried Lightroom because everyone recommended it, but found it was slow (on a Core i7-4790), didn't have a great UI, and produced an inferior conversion (compared to Nikon's free software). I ended up using darktable, and Raw Therapee - both do what I need quickly, easily, and to a high quality.

      And before someone says, "but can it do batch red eye removal", I respond, "I don't know - I know how to use flash". :P

  13. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    A way to promote its cloud storage?

    Until, of course the next bug will wipe it as well.

    I prefer to backup my photo myself, thank you. I don't have to maximize the profits from such service.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: A way to promote its cloud storage?

      Ah, but you do.

      Your 'profit' is the photos that you don't lose.

  14. aki009

    Apple partially at fault

    iOS likes to hide the underlying data from the user, making backing it up more difficult. It's not like I can make a backup that has everything that was on the device. I only get what Apple wants me to have.

    Most of the time the black-box like Apple processes for backing up data work well, which tends to make users less aware of what is backed up and what isn't, and how vulnerable any particular bit of data is. That awareness gets radically reset when an app goes south or the whole device goes on vacation.

    That's why it's pretty stuhpid to use an iOS device for any critical process, unless one makes sure that the device is not relied on for data storage and retention beyond the absolute minimum.

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Apparently PhotoRec is available for MacOS. It might be worth a look unless downloading and installing overwrites the photos.

  16. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    Joke

    In Soviet Russia, you don't delete the files, the files delete you.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here at Linux Mansions.....

    ....all our machines are backed up regularly:

    1. Local ZIP archive in each machine

    2. Local ZIP archive copied to the local server

    3. All of the above copied to TWO external hard drives

    4. Archive tested to see that a restore actually works!!!!

    5. One external hard drive stored in an offsite secure location

    *

    So far so good. But in all the commentary here, I notice that no one has mentioned step #4. It doesn't matter WHERE the backup is held (cloud, external media, etc). If the backup has not been tested EVERY TIME to see that restoring works properly, there's a good chance that when you need the backup, the one you need might have problems. (P.S. This has happened to me in a commercial, allegedly professional setting.)

    *

    If all of the above seems overly ANAL, then this Adobe screw up tells you exactly why!!!!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adobe? Quality product? Oh yeah, that died years ago..

    During the first 20 years a lot of very good people worked at Adobe. Basically the John Warnock years. A good guy. Once he retired its been a descending cavalcade of slimier and slimier CEO's and senior management. Very much bottom feeders by this stage. The company only prospers because of professional sector software lockin and its recent discovery of the "monthly subscription" scam. Otherwise the company would have gone under long ago.

    All the good tech people and middle mangers are long gone. Very long gone. All you need to know about modern Adobes commitment to quality is that like a lot of tech companies it depends on contractors to get product out the door. But years ago some genius in upper management decided that all company contractors could only be hired through one temp agency. A huge national agency that supplies temporary secretaries , low skill clerical workers, and the guys who move the office furniture. You can just imagine just how well that went. Once a commitment to quality products goes out the door it never returns.

    So yeah, the upper management at Adobe have'nt given a sh*t about its customers for many many years. As you can tell from its products. Just keep on paying those monthly subs, peasants.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Adobe? Quality product? Oh yeah, that died years ago..

      Around here I personally had Creative Suite 5.5 installed on one box and 5.5 and 6 on various boxes at the office. Over the years 5.5 and 6 stopped working properly, then just stopped working at all. They’ve been replaced by Affinity products and various other 3rd-party apps. I would have paid for a Creative Suite 7, but that wasn’t on offer. By going with the sharecropping crap, Adobe ensured that they got not one more penny. Meanwhile, smaller apps from smaller developers, such as Lemke’s Graphic Converter, continue to get our support. (I’ve been using GC since 1995, at home and at various workplaces. It’s no Photoshop, but what it does it does well, and Lemke keeps the price down and the support up.) GC is my primary image editor at home, now that Photoshop 5.5 is dead. Affinity is around for projects GC can’t handle, which aren’t many. I gladly pay the infrequent upgrade fees to make sure that support continues.

  19. P.B. Lecavalier

    Karma

    I'm sorry for those who lost stuff, but hopefully a few people will learn from this: If you rely on cloud services for anything that is not of a transient nature, you are a fool. And we are not even talking about security issues. Only the mere existence of your data.

    There is a long history of online services to store "stuff", which are then shut down (i.e. Yahoo! Briefcase, Yahoo! Photos), and often you would find out only when it's too late and your data can't be retrieved anymore. How hard is it to buy an external HDD? "Yes but the online service is free." You really don't get it, eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Karma

      Besides, it's Adobe. Backups would have been a good default.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Karma

      In this particular case Adobe is telling punters that this happened because they didn't use the cloud service.

  20. thondwe

    iThings Backup to iCloud

    iThings back themselves up to iCloud nightly - if a) unless you've turned it off, and b) have paid Apple a small fee to cope with the size of the backups? So a rollback isn't that hard?

    Adobe - STUPID!

  21. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Backups are important

    £100 gets you a five TB external drive. Plug it into your Mac, turn on Time Machine, that's it.

    Ok, it's still an absolute pain if an app destroys your data like that and you need to restore it, but at least you can.

  22. Kev99

    I've a feeling that if a class action does come about Apple's first line of defense will be "Why didn't you back up your photos to an off line device?" I believe the legal terminology is "contributory negligence". Or in layman's term, "You stupid F---! Use your head for something other than a hat rack."

  23. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Who needs to test software anyway??

    Firstly, having 2 years of photo edits on a slab, and only the slab, is straight up dumb. I wouldn't pay for some cloud thing either, but copy them to your computer now and then!!! Those islabs get screen cracks and are then unusable. I use rsync on my (Ubuntu) portables DAILY, it's too likely to have it get dropped or spontaneously fail for other reasons. These things happen.

    Second... who needs to test software anyway apparently. I mean, damn. Missing a subtle bug is one thing, having it delete all your files? I mean, bloody hell.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stuff like this is why Mrs. Coward and I keep our treasured pictures on a local hard drive that's disconnected from everything.

    Of course, the heads are stuck tight to the platters, and the motor won't spin, and it's not recognized as a drive when I do plug it in, but hey, at least nobody *else* can lose my pictures, right?

  25. Eponymous Bastard

    It's not funny . . .

    LMAO

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forcing your hand to upgrade to CC

    A-dobe has twice, just in my experience, degrades the user experience of older versions of their software trying to force users to upgrade to their subscription model. The Creative Suite 6 online documentation has been taken down, the link in 'Help' 404's. Lightroom 6's updates have also been removed.

    I upgraded from CS5 to CS6 after the launch of CC and, unlike every other generation upgrade before which could be done online, I had to call them so that they could explain to me the error of my ways and how it was better to subscribe. The phone number was as easy to find as a Vogon planning application. The cost of the perpetual license upgrade was the same as 14 months of subscription - oh no, can't have that.

  27. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Who the hell keeps their photos in their cameras? Once you've taken them, you archive them offline for future use. That's like "keeping" your photos on 35mm film and never processing it, then complaining when you can't get the pictures off it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agree. My DSLR files come off the card as soon as I get home, copied (via Lightroom Classic) to my Mac's hard drive. Each weekend, the entire photo folder structure is copied (via a CarbonCopyCloner routine) to a second drive that then syncs to OneDrive. Each month, a manual triggered CCC routine copies the photos to a portable drive that lives in the safe. Each year, during the Christmas break, the whole set is copied to another hard drive that lives in our garage.

      Photos on my phone get synced to iCloud and end up on my Mac and MacBook; the Mac versions are (weekly) exported to my main photo file structure and join the above.

      I should add that, whilst I have Lightroom on my iPhone and iPad, I've never actually used either - I've never quite trusted them not to screw around with my photos. If any need tweaking, that's done to the copies imported into Lightroom Classic on my Mac.

      1. Martin M

        After this, I’m wondering if some kind of reconciliation is in order to make sure LR Classic hasn’t missed anything during the import.

        I use LR on mobile as it’s one of the few ways of getting a RAW capture on an iPhone, given the built in camera app won’t do it.

      2. Jason Hindle

        “ Agree. My DSLR files come off the card as soon as I get home, copied (via Lightroom Classic) to my Mac's hard drive. Each weekend, the entire photo folder structure is copied (via a CarbonCopyCloner routine) to a second drive that then syncs to OneDrive.”

        I agree with that approach and raise you by one level of analness. I do not accept my photos are synced until I’ve seen them on another device.

        It’s all a worry though. If Adobe can delete photos from your device, they can do so just as effectively from their cloud...

  28. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    iBackup or don't

    "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."

    Just back it up, it's not hard. If you can afford an little i something you can afford a NAS. How hard is it to back up iStuff to a NFS or SMB share. I honestly have no idea, some iTwit can sort it out.

  29. Mr. A. N. Onymous

    If you have lost "years of photos" that weren't backed up in another location, well, you fucked up. That's crazy to be so cavalier with your intellectual property and art.

    I empathize, and I can imagine the feeling of loss, but this is a self inflicted wound.

    Three locations, two different methods. That's a good start.

  30. Terry 6 Silver badge

    What this puts the spotlight on is that there are a lot of people who take precious family photos on their phones and then, once they've done FB, "Insta" or whatever, just forget about them, assuming they'll always have them on their phone. Of course there's a bit of a panic when they get a new phone, especially if they switch between Apple/Android. But they just trust that the phone and their precious photos of little Chantelle growing up will be here when they want them. Backups? Never crosses their minds.

  31. MachDiamond Silver badge

    My portable devices are just buckets

    The efficiency difference between using a tablet and doing photo work on a desktop with 12 cores and 64gb of RAM and SSD's is hard to put on one graph. Even the difference between my laptop and tablet is huge with the tablet losing every time. Bloggers, vloggers and sefie masters are using phones and tablets to process their images. Professionals back up a lot.

    I always back up before updating software if I'm not backed up in the first place. I have files on the computer, a local off-line back up drive and another drive that periodically takes a trip to a relative's house for storage to be swapped out for the one that's already there. "Cloud" storage is not in my control so I don't consider it. I used to have a friend that had a small local ISP and I had a drive there I could use for backups but they went out of business like most small operators. My most valuable photos have yet another drive to live on along with CAD and other design files. Drives are pathetically cheap these days. The first HDD I bought was a whopping 30mb and cost twice what my last 4tb drive cost with tax and shipping. 4tb is a massive number of photos. Even RAW format though I also keep two jpg sizes for fast review and what's been delivered to the Copyright office.

    The one thing that gets people backing up is their first serious data loss. Some may take a few whacks to the head and a smaller group is never going to learn. No point in clogging up the courts trying to fix stupidity.

  32. rafikiphoto
    Facepalm

    "I do photography as a hobby so I never saw a need for backing up photos...."

    Eh!?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10 isn't behaving any better. All your documents are on onedrive even if they look local, peeking with linux on the windows disk reveals only hyperlinks. You can set a setting so that it really stores things locally but that one isn't on by default and it's not the most obvious one.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      What!

      Is that the default or something? Not using local drive to save? Since when was this.

      Is that a new step down from the stupid "documents and settings" folder, or whatever it's called, that puts all the data in subfolders of the Windows: drive and pretends they're somewhere safe?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Its the default to save stuff in OneDrive if created with, for example, MS Office. You have to be quite stubborn about saving somewhere other than OneDrive, though the Beast will learn if you hit it on the head with a hammer hard enough and often enough.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Umm... no, your docs aren’t “all on OneDrive”. I have a ‘personal’ OneDrive; I have had it since it was called ‘SkyDrive’. Indeed, the OneDrive folder on my older systems is _still_ named SkyDrive. The Beast of Redmond changed it to OneDrive during a few Windows updates, but I always changed it back and they’ve stopped trying. There is nothing in the OneDrive that I don’t want to be there. In particular I have a lot of documents which are most definitely not in the OneDrive. One of my systems has a 4TB drive and is three-quarters full, the biggest OneDrive is 1 TB out of the box and my personal OneDrive isn’t that big. The personal OneDrive is connected to multiple personal systems.

      I also have a ‘business’ OneDrive, on company systems. Items in there are not items in my personal OneDrive. And, no, there’s nothing in there that I don’t want to be there.

      I also have a ‘education’ OneDrive, as I do some adjunct instruction for a local community college. Once again, there’s nothing in there that I don’t want to be there. There are machines which have all three OneDrives.

      Now, if you put things into the OneDrive folder, the Beast of Redmond will tend to try to ‘save space’ by uploading them and just leaving a pointer, unless you deliberately select “keep on local”. But it will do that only with items you place in the OneDrive. And Microsoft apps will try to store everything on a OneDrive; the personal OneDrive will try to store items created with personal copies of MS software, the business one will try with business copies, and the education one with education copies. You can tell them to stuff it and save locally if you want, they’ll just whine about how ‘secure’ OneDrive is. There was a time when certain file types were not allowed on OneDrive, EXEs for example. That time is gone, now the Beast wants all files and pouts if denied. The Beast does a lot of pouting around me.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        That's what I thought. But then my PC and its s/w are all legacy. Updated from Win 7 and retained at Office 2010 (because there's f all useful to me since even before then).

  34. TheBorg

    Don't store your valuable pics, documents etc in the cloud and expect the providers not to fuck up and lose them ..... if they are valuable to you make sure they are backed up and not just available on some nice app written by clueless developer with no idea of a data centre, backups or anything else sensible

  35. TheBorg

    If somethings important, back it up ! If you don't and it's lost then your stupid !

    You can't trust cloud providers with anything really sensitive or valuable.

  36. Cheshire Cat
    Facepalm

    Cloud replication is NOT a backup

    So users should be made to write "Cloud replication is not a backup" 100 times before you are allowed to use it.

    It's not a backup unless you have at least 2 copies, and they are offline. And, ideally, tested.

    Just having a synch tool from your device-of-choice to The Cloud (tm) is not a backup, as any phule kno. It's handy for remote access, and sometimes for 'whoops' moments, but its NOT a BACKUP.

    For comparison, my photos are kept on the local disk, in one cloud sync (with delete disabled), 2 offline monthly USB disk backups, and a set of annual printed albums (for the annual favourites). And I'm far from being a professional photographer. I am constantly amazed by people (both home users and businesses) who put critical data that they would be heartbroken to lose in a single vulnerable place with no backups... my Work data are backed up in even more revisions and replicas.

  37. herman Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Special, very special

    The hacks working at Adobe are far more special than most. Special class material really.

    Paris - because she is special too.

  38. Jason Hindle

    Some perspective

    A lot of these photos would have been taken on the iThing by users who didn’t sync to iCloud, Adobe, Google Photos, OneDrive or even Amazon. I think all of them require some sort of subscription if you have a lot of photos to back up, which is fair enough. But they also have a free tier (15GB on Google, for example). So, we have a situation where if you have a lot of photos on your iThing, you need to back them up to something physical or you need to pay a subscription to someone. I’m inclined to recommend Amazon Prime because of all the other stuff you get with it. That said, a sizeable boost to iCloud storage isn't going to be too expensive for most.

    As always, it’s going to have been the lowest levels of the demographic scale who will have been hit most by Adobe’s little <cough >accident</cough>. People who’ve sensibly bought a very decent smartphone, second hand, probably have the best pre paid or SIM only deal they can get, and have priorities incompatible with another monthly subscription to keep track of.

  39. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Pint

    Hmm.

    To be fair, of all my clients, the ones who are actually more like to have decent backup strategies in place tend to be photographers, anecdotally.

    I'm not sure if that's because they're impacted directly by such a loss or what.

    Not always the case but I wish more of my clients would take it seriously.

    Probably able to relax and have more of these happy in their work -------------------------^^

  40. DesktopGuy

    Adobe - true to from…

    Adobe have screwed up updates for years - this is nothing new.

    Below are just some over last 6 years - they have been buggering things up since at least 1989!!

    In 2014, Adobe login servers for Creative Cloud went offline. This affected millions of people and actually stoped the digital publication of several mastheads produced in DPS.

    See - https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27439189

    In 2016, the released an update that wiped out hidden folders in your root directory - killing multiple programs and backups from a range of companies.

    See - https://petapixel.com/2016/02/13/warning-adobe-creative-cloud-deletes-data-in-your-mac-root-directory/

    In 2017 they released a Premier Pro update with a "new cache cleaning" facility that wiped thousands of TBs from storage systems across the world.

    Quite a few of these were not backed up due to small producers not having the capacity, money or experience to maintain backups.

    This is now the subject of quite a few lawsuits and I had 3 clients affected - at one place, I watched assets vanish off the storage as projects were open and closed)

    See - https://petapixel.com/2018/11/14/photographer-sues-adobe-saying-bug-deleted-files-worth-250000/

  41. Gadbous

    Why would you not back up "Years of photos" to the cloud or other devices? Sadly, I have no sympathy.....

  42. nxnwest

    A century of backup

    I have glass negatives and prints taken by my great-grandfather from over a century ago. No complicated technological solution needed to destroy them though. A fire or flood perhaps, but no offsite corporation or developers would be involved in their casual destruction. I don't even need a floppy drive or tape reader and the tech to reuse them is easily repeatable. I don't have to pay monthly rent to keep them.

  43. Aquatyger

    Where is the evidence?

    Just how does anybody prove they have lost anything unless they have backed up first to show what they have lost?.

  44. JBowler

    The times have changed.

    Many (well, 20) years ago I worked for a well known company on a well know product that is still sold today (by the same company).

    There was something of what might, at the time, have been called a "mantra". Do not destroy customers' data. So be it.

    At that time if Word had deleted all the .doc files on a computer (this was shortly before XML) then the person who did it would be on performance review. Likewise if PowerPoint had deleted all the .ppt files on a user's computer the person who did it would probably have been demoted to marketing.

    If someone had deleted all the .xls files of some other person who had a lot of Excel files in 2001 well, then, what can I say. Whatever.

    rm -rf /

    Or, "Go forth and delete."

  45. AK565

    I'm on my first iProduct. I cam tell you that it was made very clear to me that unless I deliberately pick and delete a photo, every single photo is both on my phone and in iCloud so it is automatically backed up and I don't need to think on it any further. I'm not saying that's necessarily true. I'm saying that's what I was told numerous times by numerous people. I'm not much of a photographer so I really don't care, but if i were i'd make sure to save my pics in third place.

    In the same vein, my laptop's keyboard just crapped out. But that's OK. I backed it up on a separate disk just a few days earlier. I needed some files from two weeks ago. No problem, right? When I tried to restore the latest restore date offered me was May 22nd.... And I do weekly backups! Ihavent had time to tackle that fiasco.... I have a list.

    1. Confuciousmobil

      ICloud

      Provided you have iCloud turned on it is true. If you lose or replace your device, just log in on a new device and everything appears on your new device.

      I replace my iPhone every 3-4 years and similar for my iPads.

      I just take snaps but also store on OneDrive and Google photos just to be sure but iCloud is just basic functionality.

      Maybe these people run out of iCloud space? In which case I would suggest they don’t place a very high value on their photos.

      While what Adobe did is appalling and they deserve to pay for their mistake,I can’t help feeling the people complaining can’t really have valued their pics.

    2. AndyMulhearn

      LR Backup

      I seem to recall that when I installed LR on my first iPad Pro, i had to explicitly disable the iCloud backup because it meant I was doing the backup up twice - to iCloud and to the Adobe repositories - which due to the way LR manages local storage with the Adobe cloud sync was also pointless.

      I feel for the people who’ve lost their work like this but if disabling the backup to iCloud has some part of their loss then I’m not totally sympathetic to their plight.

  46. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "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."

    So this person never realised the phone could just break?

  47. SuperGeek

    People really ARE stupid

    "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."

    Your own damn fault. I'm a photographer too, and ALWAYS make sure I clone my SD Cards, and have extra ZIP backups of them. I'm a tech guy, but I still would even if I wasn't.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: People really ARE stupid

      Was thinking about this. Being old enough to have done stuff when it wasn't all on the computer I always kept copies of important information. Those days the photocopier ( or carbon paper) was my friend.

  48. salerio

    Have people stopped doing backups now or something? Will they be blaming Apple for not making a totally waterproof phone when they drop the thing down the loo

  49. SAdams

    User Error, but Adobe are bad

    People should of course backup. But I am continually surprised that Adobe are seen as the gold standard for photo and video editing. I bought Adobe Premier for videos based on this, and it’s terrible, clunky software that fills your hard disk with multiple copies of junk. They then force you to fork out another huge wad of cash every time they update it and make it slightly less clunky...

  50. Daniel Bower

    I wrote this five years ago on these hallowed pages

    OK it was about Amazon acting as a cloud storage provider however it applies equally here. When will people realise that cloud storage is not proper back up?! Obvs you need to replace Amazon with Adobe etc but the sentiment is the same now as it was then.

    ---

    Unfortunately this is just the sort of thing my mum (for example) sign up to and not realise that you actually need to back your data up locally as well as 'in the cloud'.

    I can see the email now:

    Dear Amazon Cloud User

    We are terribly sorry but due to a SNAFU at our data centre, all your photos and other precious memories have been deleted.

    As per clause blah blah blah we are not responsible in any way for this loss and if you do not have your precious, irreplacable photos and memories backed up else where then tough titties.

    However, as a gesture of good will we would like to offer you a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime.

    Love

    Jeff

    ---

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