Yes, you can leave this catalog on the external hard drive and the syncing would work fine back and forth with this catalog.
Just to let you know, if in any case you turn on the syncing on any other catalog, you will loose these edits you did on Mobile so, make sure you do not turn on the syncing in any other catalog.
Thanks for your quick reply. I'm happy to hear that this will work fine and wonder, why many still consider the dropbox workflow a good option. Maybe they do need more flexibility, which I don't need as of now.
If I understood correctly, you are referring to the limitation of only one catalog being able to sync right? This is why I wondered if a copied "old" catalog would work, as long as I only work with the smart previews that I sync whenever I'm online during my travels.
One additional question in this regard though: I see 12 files syncing on my MacBook, but have only 3 files on iPhone and iMac which are supposed to be synced. Also, this number does not increase. Is this a bug I should ignore, or is there a way to see which files Lightroom tries to sync?
Thanks for the update.
Ideally, the number should increase and it should sync all images as this is not a bug.
Does it give this message under the Identity Plate in Lightroom Catalog?
Just to confirm your workflow: do you sync from your Lightroom desktop to mobile or vice versa?
I solved the issue with bad sync, by deleting the sync file from Lightroom and disconnect on both app and mac. then connected again and that works fine - at least between iPhone/iPad and iMac.
But just to make sure: can I really copy a catalog to my macbook, then go back to my iMac, set files to sync via mobile, switch the iMac off and the laptop on. The synced files will sync now?
Still having my doubts with this. Having said that, I don't understand why I'm supposed to be able to edit photos on a phone, but not on a laptop...
Please let me know if this really is possible.
If you have the catalog stored on external drive then, you do not need to copy and paste it from one machine to another.
You can just let the catalog be on external drive and plugin that external drive to macbook or iMac and access the edits.
You can also edit the images on the machine as well in the same catalog and if the edited image is a part of synced collection, it would be synced across to your mobile device.
I know that this sounds like the easiest solution, but there is a reason why 2.5'' external hard disks and multipe TB raids exist.
Not to sound snappy, but this really only works if you're not into backups and have a small catalog. It really seems like using third party software/services e.g. Dropbox or b2 are the way to go to solve a very common and basic problem.
I still don't understand how the Adobe Evangelists deal with this. Having thousands of photos and constant travelling... Exporting and importing catalogs seems like unnecessary effort in times of cloud storage and sync options.
But back to my issue: would only working on the synced files do any harm to my catalog? In my head it seems like a nifty solution, but I'm sure I'm missing something in the big picture?
Edit: This doesn't seem to work as the laptop wants to sync photos that don't exist. Possible but rather awkward solution: Storing the catalog and smart previews on an extra hard disk, which I can plug in and out, while having the photos on my main disks?
Now I learned more about Lightroom mobile and find it very useful, or so I thought. Sure it's nice to exchange smart previews with my iPhone and iPad, but I want to edit files with my MacBook while I'm away from my main computer.
Have you looked at doing this through your web browser by logging into your lightroom.adobe.com account? I wrote here about what you can do with it.
I quick read through your posts and while it seems useful, I need it offline. Haven't written this yet, but I'm travelling a lot and would like to edit during the 12+ hour flights I regularly find myself in.
Appreciate this thought and your input though.
I setup a 2.5" harddisk (1TB) to contain my catalog and all photos are now imported with smart previews. This way I can edit on the go, without carrying my big harddisks around.
Not a great solution, but one that will work for now.