I'm new to Lightroom (CC) so please forgive me if I'm just not looking in the right place. Additionally I thought I had a full backup (via Crashplan) of my Photos folder before doing the following. I was wrong.

When I originally moved photos from Photos to Lightroom I thought everything was great. Then awhile later I realized that Lightroom didn't import the MOV file from Apple's live photos. Well, needless to say, I want those files. So I had to go to my trash can and recover as many of those as I can.

So now I have the JPEGs properly in their place (on an external drive) and managed by lightroom and a folder sitting on the side (on an external drive) with a bunch of MOV files (most of which are the video from a live photo). I read somewhere that if I had selected "Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos" then Lightroom would import both files and they'd live happily ever after.

So the genius that I am, I thought, if I check that box, and then try to just straight import these MOV files it will just place them in the right folders for me and I'll see them in lightroom.

I let it run for a minute and then I check the file in Finder. There was no JPEG sitting next to the MOV file. I quickly check another one or two, verifying that yes, they are live photos (2 seconds long and I remember taking the photo). No JPEG file. So I stop the import.

Now, I see no hint of where Lightroom put those JPEG files. But I have 81 MOV files imported and no images next to them. I'd love to undo this but I can't seem to figure out how to do that. The JPEGs are not showing up in the Trash.

I'm comfortable with the Terminal. Please tell me there is something I can do to recover these JPEGs. Otherwise, I'll have to go to Google Photos and see if it created a (lower res) version of it. At least it would be something.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you really need those photos, there are data recovery companies that can do amazing things. They're pretty expensive though. If you decide to take this route, don't do anything more with your computer between now and then (maybe copy your important information to another drive). \$\endgroup\$
    – Cullub
    Mar 20, 2017 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sometimes I've seen Lightroom simply move the files to a sub folder by date - have you checked all the sub folders around? And you could try a simple file search in Finder for the file name in case it's cached anywhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cullub
    Mar 20, 2017 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ All my folders are setup by date and all the surrounding ones are just the mov files as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – RyanJM
    Mar 20, 2017 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


Those jpeg photos with the same name as the movie files will just be low-res thumbnails. They're not important.

The camera would just be creating these from the first frame of the movie.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Apple's Live Photos include a high-res version of the image + a mov around the time of the photo. \$\endgroup\$
    – RyanJM
    Nov 28, 2017 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, yes of course. I hadn't considered that. In this case, the jpeg's certainly would be significant. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 29, 2017 at 2:05

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