The software keeps being a sticking point for the iPad Pro. Two of Lightroom’s newer features that deserve the hype are Denoise and HDR Stacking.

Denoise uses AI to remove noise from an image and restore detail, and for the most part it does a great job with no fuss. HDR stacking allows you to use multiple exposures of the same image and combine them into one image with the best aspects of all exposures.

Can you do AI Denoise and HDR stacking on the iPad?

As of writing this in February 2024, no.

From what I’ve gathered, HDR stacking requires certain background processes that get wonky with iPadOS. It’s not as simple as it is in a full operating system like MacOS.

(Note that you can do HDR stacking in Affinity Photo, but I don’t like the way Affinity handles raw files personally so I haven’t played with that much.)

Hopefully this year as iPadOS receives further updates that will change, since the coming of real pro apps has generated a lot of excitement around the iPad Pro again.

For me, and I’m sure for a lot of other people, being able to handle more of my photo editing needs on the iPad would be a welcome change.

I do edit a fair amount of my photos on my M2 iPad Pro, but only when I know I won’t need either of these features.

As for Denoise, I haven’t found what I consider to be good answers for why not. Some claim that the AI used in Denoise is very GPU-dependant, but that rings false for me because the iPad Pro uses the same GPU as the MacBook Air and base MacBook Pros, both of which have no problem handling AI Denoise in Lightroom.

And while the iPad Pro doesn’t have active cooling and some would cite throttling as an issue, AI Denoise doesn’t take more than 30 seconds any time I’ve used it on an M1 MacBook. Frankly, that’s not long enough to matter unless you’re doing a large number of Denoise photos in a row — and even then I don’t suspect heat would be that much of an issue.

Some have also cited RAM, but others point out that on iPadOS it only requires 8GB RAM for these AI tasks, which all M-series iPads have at minimum.

I’m entirely open to the possibility that there’s a good explanation for why these features are missing from the iPad version of Lightroom, but without hearing them, there doesn’t seem like a good reason to me.

Here’s hoping this changes this year via updates from both Apple and Adobe. 🤞🏻

This post is part of a series called iPad vs. Mac, which chronicles my experiences using each to accomplish personal life and work projects: quirks, solutions, and where each one shines.

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