App Thinning is the reason apps aren't syncing to iTunes

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by Mesut, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. Mesut, Sep 19, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015

    Mesut thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 8, 2015
    I received the confirmation from Apple that this is not a bug and it is intended.

    Maybe if enough people complain, they will make it work again.

    For those who are confused, I will update the original post later explaining what App Thinning is.
  2. soniasim, Sep 19, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015

    soniasim macrumors member


    May 1, 2008
    It's weird though, that if you already have all the apps downloaded on iTunes and you restore your phone and choose to set up as new and not restore from backup, if you then choose to install the apps from the Apps tab on iTunes, it installs them normally, without redownloading them.
  3. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    I have had that happen a couple of times in the past. I now download a copy of every app as a backup. I do the same thing with movies and TV shows.
  4. sanke1 macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2010
  5. chrizzz09 macrumors regular

    May 18, 2013
    Quick question... if i updated my phone via OTA are my apps on my phone automatically thinning down or do i need to update them or redownload them for the thinned version?
    Because right now, i haven't seen a difference in space used on my phone.
  6. alanholden macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2015
    I've just backed my phone up to iTunes so that I can restore when my 6s arrives, but what exactly will I be restoring? For example will this include text message history, photos, and contacts?, but I will have to redownload every app from the App Store manually?
  7. soniasim macrumors member


    May 1, 2008
    Guys, some days ago, I restored my phone to iOS 9 and set it up as new. So after reading your posts, out of curiosity, I thought I'd try to make a back up, then do a restore to iOS 9 and restore that backup. I did this and all went through seamlessly, all apps synced to my phone through iTunes, it didn't have to redownload them and actually the procedure took less than it used to take under iOS 8. So maybe this is a glitch if you're trying to restore an iOS 8 back up to a device that has iOS 9 installed? Also, I did this having the latest iTunes installed.
  8. lancastor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    To get the benefits of AppThining, I have to delete the app on the phone and redownload it from the AppStore. Right??

    Is this working with every App?
  9. marf1million macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2013
    An Mhí
    Did you update any apps since updating to ios9 and when you restored them were they the newly updated apps that restored to your phone or were they the old versions that you had backed up since ios8?

    Old versions that are already saved in iTunes will copy over to your phone, but once you update them on your phone they won't copy to iTunes and iTunes will only copy over the pre ios9 version.
  10. soniasim macrumors member


    May 1, 2008
    Hmmm, actually, I have not updated any apps since I reinstalled iOS 9 yesterday.

    But, some days ago, when I tried to install iOS 9 for the first time, by doing a restore and then restoring from my back up from iOS 8.4.1, it did not install the apps from iTunes, like it did now. It was saying "Preparing to copy items" and it kept showing the circle spinning on the status bar, so I unlocked the phone and noticed that it was redownloading the apps instead of copying them from iTunes.

    Also, after it was done, what you're saying was happening - meaning, when an app was updated it didn't copy the newest version to iTunes, I had to download it on iTunes too, to get the copy over there.

    So, since at this point, after I did everything from scratch, the apps did install automatically from iTunes, while previously they did not, I suspect that when I get an update, if I install it through my phone and then do a sync with iTunes, it's going to copy it over there automatically.

    I will make sure to post what happened, when I get notified for an update of an app.
  11. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    App thinning is more than just reducing the amount of disk space an app uses. The app can be rebuild for the specific model you are using and thus give you a much better performance. It doesn't have all the additional code and checks that it needs when it has to run on multiple models.

    The app thinning "idiocy" will still be required in the future and it is fine as it is. The only real problem is with syncing to iTunes. This is not as simply as you might think. Just think about what needs to be synced and what if you have an iPhone as well as an iPad? If you have only 1 iOS device then simply syncing whatever is on that device will suffice. If you have more then both versions need to be synced and this leads to conflicts since you are syncing the same item (not entirely the same but on filename level, etc. it is). There could be a solution where the iOS device only syncs information about which apps are on it to iTunes which will trigger iTunes into downloading the entire app. This will cause another problem because what is going to be synced to the device when you wipe it? The entire app? If so then the entire app thinning is moot. That would mean that iTunes would need to do what the app store servers are doing: figure out which components are needed and so on. That in turn would require quite some computing power. It is something you definitely would not want to do on a client, it is something you want to do on a cluster.

    Apps need to support the feature too iirc. I've tested it with Color Zen and the version on my iPad got updated to 1.7.0, the one in iTunes is 1.6.11. After syncing the version numbers are still the same so it is not transferred from iPad to iTunes. It reminds me of another bug I've seen with the App Store since iOS9 launched. A lot of updates are not visible everywhere. I've had updates showing up on 1 device but not in iTunes or another device as well as it showing up in iTunes and another device but not on the second device or any other combination. In case of Color Zen it doesn't even find it in the App Store when searching for it (in iOS and iTunes).
  12. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks, that's a relief. At least we now know that is still possible in principle. I guess I have to bite the bullet and manually download all my 100+ installed apps in iTunes if I want a fully functional local backup. o_O
  13. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    Circling back on this. I'm not sure the problem I'm noticing on my Air 2 is exactly what the OP describes, but it may be related. Before installing the iOS 9 PB, my Air 2 would update apps when synced with iTunes. It stopped doing that with the iOS 9 and 9.1 PB. I did a DFU restore to 8.4.1 and it still doesn't update apps when I sync with iTunes.

    Related or no? Anyone else having the same issue? Does this deserve a different tread?
  14. Crzyrio macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    When you are in 8.4.1, try click "Transfer Purchases to Computer". It will then update the apps and transfer as well.

    I really missed this feature, as it came in very handy when you wanted to do Clean Installs. Now I have to go through the store and individually download 140 apps.
  15. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Ebay recently updated their iPhone app to be universal. The reviews are horrible and I have no intention of updating. But now I can't extract a copy of the version I want to keep from the phone, and I don't have the older version in my iTunes library because I never downloaded it thru iTunes, just via the phone.

    So what happens next week when I get my new iPhone 6s? Does the ebay app automatically update itself to the new crappy version?

    Isn't there some way to prevent this? In the past, I would simply transfer my purchases to iTunes, but that doesn't seem to work anymore.
  16. saudor macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2011
    This is partially true. The apps that apple removes for things like violating T/C such as embedding an emulator in a calculator app, etc.. Those disappear. There's a lot of apps I own but can no longer download from iTunes purchases.

    Guess I gotta update apps from within iTunes too.
  17. Yun0 macrumors 65816


    Jun 12, 2013
    Winnipeg, Canada
    cause u probably still had the apps in the itunes library, delete them from there, then try to restore backup. according to someone its SUPPOSED to have the device start downloading all the apps again, like when u restore from a icloud backup, with appdata intact..but im still too afraid to try it, well i guess even if it screw everything up i could still restore from icloud but...
  18. lancastor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Which variant is downloaded when I buy an App within iTunes? I'm confused. :eek:
  19. hideous cheese macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2012
    If you buy via iTunes on Mac you should get the fat version as it is unable* to predict which iDevice it will be used on later.

    *I suppose if you only had one iDevice registered to your ID it could assume this is the version to be served but not with multiple devices or universal apps.
  20. inscrewtable macrumors 68000


    Oct 9, 2010
    There is a small problem with this. In the past if you downloaded an app to your iDevice and then deleted it immediately because it was crap, then it would not transfer over to your App library in iTunes because it was not on your device. If you check the App box in auto downloads, it will not transfer all the apps you have bought in the past over to your iTunes App library, but it will begin doing that with any future Apps you buy. So from now on if you check that App box for auto downloads and you then download and immediately trash an App, you will find when you next sync the iDevice that the trashed App will now be in your iTunes App library, until the end of time. Because of this I will leave the Auto App download box unchecked and manually download any Apps.
  21. lancastor macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I think app thining isn't live yet.

    My Garageband on the iPhone was 720MB. I have deleted it, to check the new app thining feature and re-downloded it from
    the app store. Now the app is 732MB.
  22. newellj macrumors 604

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    Thanks, that was already set.
  23. asleep macrumors 68040


    Sep 26, 2007
    App thinning in iOS 9: Explained

    As devices have multiplied app sizes have increased. Here's how Apple plans to thin them back down...
    What you need to do

    The nice thing about app thinning is that it's absolutely transparent on the customer's end. As long as developers are building for iOS 9, and making sure they tag their assets and resources as best as they can, the App Store will handle everything. All you need to do is download the updates when they're ready and the newer, thinner apps will be yours.

    For 16 GB device owners, every megabyte will matter. But even for 64 GB or 128 GB device owners, being able to fill storage with real, useful apps and content and not a bunch of stuff we don't need is a huge win.​
  24. Yongkykun macrumors member


    Jul 21, 2015
    Bummer. Guess we have to adapt to this "new" system Apple has implemented then. But I suppose Apple has succeded in making iDevices that no longer needs a desktop though they are making (forcing) us use iCloud to backup and restore which really use tons of internet data which doesn't come cheap.
  25. Mesut thread starter macrumors newbie


    Apr 8, 2015
    Apple's response was that apps will not be transferred from iOS 9 devices deliberately.

    Using the "transfer purchases" option should work for devices with iOS 8.4.1 or older. If it's still not working it deserves a new thread but I assume you've solved this by now.

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