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LRCC uses a dynamic cache which is intelligently managed to display appropriate sized proxies on desktop and mobile devices in order to take up the smallest footprint possible. Any editing or metadata changes made to smart previews are automatically synchronized to the originals in the cloud. An original can be made available at any time it is needed, for example for printing or for editing in Photoshop. Customers also have the option to keep all originals locally in place of the default cache.
So if I download a photo from lightroom mobile to my ios device am i downloading the smaller preview file or the origional file?
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It would depend on the stage of import. Originals are always available after initial import into LRCC. They automatically drop out of the cache after a short period and get replaced with the smaller proxies. For iOS devices all photos must initially go into the Photos app. This is an Apple restriction.