Images   |   Core Data   |   Undo/Redo   |   Preferences   |   Reset Sync

After every app version update, LD will check to see if you’re using iCloud sync. If you’re not, it will ask you if you want to. Even if you say no, you can always tap on the cloud button to turn on sync; all your device’s Plots will be absorbed into your iCloud database and copied to all your devices. You can also turn off syncing at any time and then turn it back on, and if your device cannot connect to the cloud, it will simply wait until it can to sync your changes.

When you first install LD or turn on iCloud, it may take a while for your new device to catch up to the rest of your devices; older devices may even crash a few times. Just be patient, relaunch LD, and trust that eventually it will be synced. Once the database is caught up, it takes much less time to keep it synced. For that reason, it’s best to turn iCloud and sync on and off as infrequently as possible (ideally, never).

Note: Sync will only work among devices that have versions of LD that share the same data model version. Not all LD app versions make changes to the data model, but it’s still best to keep all devices updated with the latest version of LD.

The Shows and Plots tables use the pull-to-refresh feature to trigger a sync manually if you like, but it’s not necessary; any changes are pushed to and from the cloud automatically, and your Plots will be updated as the changes come in. The cloud button will pulse as syncs occur, and tapping the cloud to open the sync menu will show you the sync’s progress. If you have a Plot open, you can also see sync progress in the Plot menu.

Sync can be a memory-intensive operation. For this reason, LD will not sync data while a Plot is open on some older devices, to prevent out-of-memory crashes. As soon as you close the Plot, the changes (which have already been saved locally) will sync to the cloud. Because of this, I recommend that you do not quit LD after closing a Plot if you want the changes to sync right away.

Note: If you want to use sync without wasting your cellular data, go to Settings > Cellular, scroll down to the list of apps, and turn off the switch for LD. When you’re on WiFi, sync will behave normally; when you’re not, it will act like you don’t have a network connection.


When you render a Plot image on one device, that image will be synced to all the other devices that have that Plot. This way, you can render a larger image on an iPad, and still be able to send that image from your synced iPhone. If a Plot is edited and the render is skipped, LD will alert you that the image does not reflect the most recent changes, and will prompt you to open the Plot and render it. This image syncing also applies to Gobo Gels and Image Shapes.

Core Data

Lighting Designer uses Apple’s Core Data framework to store your data in a versatile database on your device. Syncing that database among multiple devices means pushing to the cloud a record of every change that’s made, then making the same changes on the other devices. LD uses Ensembles to perform this task.

Keep in mind that your database (containing all of the Shows and Plots you create) is stored locally on your device, not in the cloud. This means that if you sign out of your iCloud account, your database will remain on your device, so you cannot store different collections of Shows for different iCloud accounts. All the data on your device will sync with whichever iCloud account is signed in.

Because Core Data sync uses a third-party framework and not the native iCloud directory, LD will only sync database changes when it’s running (including in the background), so you’ll see your most recent changes take effect when you first open the app. For this reason, if you open LD on a device that you haven’t used in a while, it may take a long time to sync changes, and you may see some strange-looking things happen as the database gets caught up. However, Plot, Gel, and Shape images will sync continuously in the background, even if LD is not open.

While a sync is being performed, you can monitor its progress by opening the sync menu (the cloud icon).


Undo/Redo is managed on each device, not through iCloud. When updates are made through iCloud sync, they will be ignored by the undo manager; only changes made on your current device are undo-able.


There are a number of preferences that you set, such as Snap, grid display, and units of measurement. Whenever you change these on one of your devices, it will sync to your other devices. Hopefully this will save a little time, especially when installing LD on a new device. A complete list of synced preferences is available on the Reference page.

Reset Sync

If your sync is working incorrectly, or your app is crashing more frequently than usual for no apparent reason, it’s possible that syncing is encountering an error it cannot recover from. In this case, the best course of action is to reset your cloud files by using the Reset Sync option. This deletes all change logs from the cloud and establishes a new baseline, effectively starting fresh so the problematic file is removed.

The best practice is to turn off Sync on all devices that are not up to date, then perform Reset Sync on the device that holds the most important version of your work. The new baseline will be written from this device, and any differences on other devices will be overwritten. However, objects that have been added, such as new Plots on secondary devices, should be merged into your collection.

Note: if you have devices that are way behind sync, you’d be better off deleting LD from that device and re-installing it, and syncing your Shows from iCloud. Remember, you should only do this if you have your data on more than one device. Your Shows do NOT exist independently in the cloud, so you need to keep them somewhere. See the section on Sharing and Data Backup for more information.

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