Apple, iPad, and the Crime that is iTunes

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Kal525, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Kal525 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Forgive the rant, but I cannot believe what just happened while trying to sync the applications on my iPad with my PC. I literally just lost everything, the applications, and more importantly, the data associated with them.

    How a company like Apple can design such excellent hardware, yet at the same time create crappy software like iTunes, is beyond me. It's borderline criminal. As a user I should be able to use what I have rightfully purchased on any one of the computers that I own, especially since Apple even leads us into believing we should be able to, with features like: "Transfer Purchases", "Home Sharing", and authorization on up to "5 devices". What total BS.

    The situation:
    - I had backed up my iPad on my laptop computer
    - I used the iPad for a couple of weeks without backing it up, downloading lots of apps, and creating lots of data behind them.
    - I decided it would be a good idea to transfer the apps to my main PC and backup the iPad, "just in case."
    - Connect iPad to PC, right click, "Backup". Backup completes - false sense of security established.
    - Right click and select "Transfer Purchases" menu option which copies all the apps on my iPad to my PC.
    - Click on Apps tab in iTunes, and check the sync checkbox. Sync iPad, every single app on iPad is deleted. Thanks, iTunes! So glad I "transferred my purchases."
    - No worries... my data is still in the backup.
    - I update the iPad software with the plan to restore from backup, but as soon as it finishes updating the software it creates a new backup... OVERWRITING my previous one. All my data - gone.

    Does it really take a genius to figure out how flawed iTunes is, let alone a supposedly design-centric organization like Apple? What is the point of a backup if it's overwritten on every sync? And why have of all these cool home sharing features if syncing to more than one computer completely demolishes everything on the device? Sharing? Really?

    Browsing the internet reveals ENDLESS posts about people losing apps, music, data... everything. People are actually safer NEVER connecting their iOS device to their computer.

    Let this serve as a warning to anyone thinking their data is safe on their iOS device. It is far from it as long as iTunes holds the reigns. If you must connect your device to iTunes, I implore you to do three things:

    1. Backup the device first, and copy the backup directory FAR FAR away from the iTunes "MobileSync" backup folder so that iTunes doesn't do you any "favors."
    2. NEVER sync with more than one computer for the entire life of the device. If you get a new computer and want to sync with that one instead. Sorry, you're utterly screwed, unless you feel like doing this:
    3. Never store anything critical on an iOS device. And if you must, use applications that sync to the cloud. Apple doesn't seem to care enough about the obvious issues with the way backups and syncing *don't* work to want to do anything about it. iTunes has behaved this way for at least 5 years. It's my own fault for thinking that it changed in that time.

    Lastly, forgive the rant; I just hope that this serves as a wake-up call for anyone thinking that data on their iOS device is safe - it is not.
  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  3. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Your previous backup is still there. It was not overwritten.
  4. Cool Hwhip, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2011

    Cool Hwhip macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    OP, I completely agree with you. In the past, I've lost complete backups of my data in the blink of an eye before because iTunes likes to decide to backup blank slate iDevices. But since then, I have learned my lesson and I ALWAYS create a backup of the backup file to my desktop before continuing with an update, similar to what I did this morning when I updated my iPhone 4 to 4.3.1. Surely enough, when it was done, iTunes created a backup of the empty iPhone 4 and overwrote my previous data. But I made a backup of the backup for this reason.
  5. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Sorry couldn't resist.

    It's a bit of a pain on multiple computers, I just turn off syncing stuff on one machine. There was an article on using dropbox to keep multiple iTunes libraries in sync but I can see that eating up bandwidth pretty quickly.

    I'm holding my breath that MobileMe goes free soon...
  6. Kal525 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Where? The folders in the MobileSync folder all show a "Date Modified" time that corresponds to the latest automatic backup, the one which blew away the manually initiated one.

    Some of the files in the backup folder do have the earlier time for "Date Modified", but the plist files all have the latest time (Info, Manifest, Status). So even if there is some trace of my original backup in there, iTunes doesn't know how to restore it.
  7. X2468 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2011
    It's Apple they only want your money. They have mine :)
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Do not sync your iPad with any other machine. It will not resync with any other machine unless you wipe. Ever. No matter what you do.

    Backing up your iPad on another machine will not change this. Everything that you backed up is still sync locked to another computer.

    Just don't do it.

    This is made clear by iTunes when you try to sync.
  9. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Sorry, I missed the part about how you synced to a laptop first, then to a desktop. This is the problem. Apple doesn't want you syncing to multiple computers, as you now know. You *might* have bypassed this if you restored from backup, but the way to do that was not to update first. You should have just right clicked the iPad in the left pane and selected restore from backup there. And even that may not have worked due to you syncing to 2 computers.

    Still, I wonder if it's a PC thing. My Mac keeps ALL my backups, to the point where I have to delete some after a while because they eat disk space.

    Also, check into a backup explorer program. They exist for Macs...probably for PC too. They should let you extract your apps from an old backup if the files are there. Check the file sizes of those older folders.
  10. afireintonto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 22, 2008
    You know that you won't have to pay for the apps again right? You can get on the iTunes store on your main machine, download all your apps again, and then sync your iPad. You'll have your apps, just not the data:/
  11. master-ceo macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2007
    The SUN
    Messing with apple I need a separate 500gb HD for all my iOS devices. Thinking about just getting by with a 64 gb MacBook air and a 64 gb iPad? Forget about it.

    Could be a Nice combo too.
  12. MrWillie, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011

    MrWillie macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2010
    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court
    Your iDevice gets lost or stolen. You have it locked. It ends up in someone elses hands. They hook it up to a computer, bam, the hardware encryption key is zapped. Of course they still have your device, but all your login and password information is gone. iStock Manager is no longer able to log into your brokerage account. Banking info, everything, gone.

    Only being able to use one computer with your iPad, iPhone, or PDA (iPod touch) is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I wouldn't have it any other way. 256 bit hardware encryption, not found on Android.

    Is a nice combo. But add a nice home or office based iMac and MobileMe to the equation and you have a great combo. Think about it. Do really want your 'truck' computer to have only a 64 Gig hard drive ?
  13. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    Ah, yes, OP implies that they synced to two different computers but didn't actually say it directly. If that's the case, rant null and void, I suppose.
  14. xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    Sorry to say but, +1

    This has happened to me also. So I guess I can sympathize with you.
  15. foranor macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    Well, doesn't change the fact that iTunes informed me falsely of creating a backup of my iPhone 3GS in the past.
    Syncing to one computer (W7/64bit) only, it would run the sync process, create a backup, everything fine, until I wanted to recover, and every single backup was allegedly 'corrupt'.
    Left me with no data.

    I stupidly have to use a second computer now, with WinXP32bit only to have a working sync/backup.

    And I don't even criticize that. Fine, doesn't work decently with W7/64. But leaving me in the false safety of never throwing an error when backing up, only when trying to restore, that's just plain crap.

    Before you suggest it: Tried different user account, tried both 32 and 64 bit versions of iTunes. Yes, most current version. Non-JB-iPhone on most current iOS. Removed all Apple stuff from the computer, even restored that to factory state and only did iTunes to sync, just to try. Wouldn't work. And yes, I am aware that there are people with W7 64bit apparently syncing fine.
    No idea what went wrong on my machine, I just can't get it to work and wrote multiple posts here and in the applesupportforum, never got a reply that worked for me.

    So.. I do understand your anger and frustration, OP. SOrry for your loss of data. Try .. I think it was right-clicking the 'restore from backup' button. That should give you the option of selecting an older backup. GOOD LUCK.
  16. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It backed up just fine. But you backed up a configuration that will only sync with the original computer.

    Backup up doesn't magically unlock the backup.
  17. foranor macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm not the OP. I only synced to 1 computer.
    My backup worked, restore on SAME computer and SAME iphone didn't.

    Error <somenumber>: Backup corrupt.
  18. ravenas macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    I used the same computer and had issues. Synced up my new iPad2 to my laptop with a restore of my original iPad1. Transferred all my apps, music, books and desired video over.

    Unhooked it. Reorganized some folders then plugged it back in the next day.

    iTunes miraculously wiped the entire thing. Then it somehow managed to lose my entire music library. (How it did that I have no idea.)

    Fortunately I run routine backups to an external HDD. I restored my music library from there, then tried resyncing my iPad2.

    All my folder groups were lost as was my app data. And what's worse somehow iTunes corrupted the metadata for 1/3 my music files!!! Album art, artists, track numbers, all lost. All I had was the file names.

    I spent a couple days straightening that out. Synced to Amazon's Music Cloud (so my Android devices can access my music on the go), ran another sync to my external HDD and cursed Apple with boils and other assorted calamities.

    Whoever wrote the software for Windows should be drawn and quartered (in the Medieval sense). That software is the worst piece of junk I've ever had the misfortune to use. It puts Corel to shame and Corel is notorious for bad software on the PC.

    Gonna be interesting when I take a 3 week trip end of this month. All I will have is my netbook. I guess I better stay far away from syncing. Hope the netbook can handle streaming video. Makes me wish I had a Xoom for the trip. A little USB Mass Storage device and drag-n-drop for video files would be handy.
  19. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I'm not sure why you need to right clicked to back up. What i only need to do is plug it in. That's all. Every thing else is just automatic.
  20. nickbarbs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    I agree with the OP.

    iTunes is a pathetic excuse for a syncing application with limited to no features.

    For a company that makes 6 billion in profits this is straight up unacceptable. Put some *)$£"ing money into development of iTunes. Offer syncing options with more than 1 computer that I authorize.

    I agree it is borderline criminal the way Apple wipes out your data, and additionally the way you can buy an app without being able to return it when you realize the reviews and ratings were from a bunch of fanboys that don't know any better and actually the App is terrible.

    Apple needs to allow also a common file system in its iDevices if it ever hopes to truly have these things replace laptops.

    The Post-PC era is not a DRM playground where you have to pay for every bit of functionality, I also cannot believe the iPad didn't come with a Clock app, and there is no way for me to set an alarm, after paying 659£ for this thing. Pathetic, truly pathetic.

    OP - I agree with you - I only got this iPad because right now its the best tablet - but as soon as android catches up this thing is going on ebay, in a year for sure.
  21. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Apple doesn't expect the iPad to replace laptops, they want you to have both.
  22. nickbarbs macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    what they want does not equal what I want. And the ipad is capable of this, Apple just chose not to include the functionality because it could impact their cash flow and business model of pay-for-every-little-feature.

    an android device is capable of replacing a laptop - if Apple doesn't soften their stance long term they will lose, like they lost before.
  23. anjinha macrumors 604


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Then get an Android tablet. I'm all for asking for features you need but if a device doesn't do what you want you should get the one that does.

    The iPad is not going to replace a laptop anytime soon and that's just the way it is. Either take the iPad for what it is or find something else.
  24. v66jack macrumors 6502a


    May 20, 2009
    London, UK
    Go and buy a Samsung Tab then. If it doesn't do what you want, don't spend your money. If enough people stop buying - Apple will listen.

    For me the iPad does just what I want it to. When I don't want to use a laptop I can get the thing out and do some email, MacRumors, FaceTime and stick it back in my bag. I dont want a whole computer, otherwise I'd just use my laptop.
  25. Wegee macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2009
    I usually manage and backup my iphone 3GS between 3 different windows machines and take a copy of the iphone backup directory on a separate disk and dropbox. I really hate the sync procedure so I manage manually music and other stuff (if, and when itunes allows me) both on my iphone and ipod with my computers.

    I really think Apple should improve the sync/backup procedure to some sort of advanced or selective backup AND between multiple computers AND between multiple devices (or maybe just some files and settings in the cloud).

    This sync procedure is somewhat nonsense for me:

    - can't manage iphone/ipad with different computers without tricks

    - have to restore an entire backup just for an app or a save game

    - can't setup an iphone/ipad "as new" and restore, in example, only sms and some apps settings, and restore other save games later if I want to play again some previously deleted games.

    - can't move just some apps files or games settings between different iphones, iphones and ipads or viceversa without move the whole backup or using third party apps

    - drag'n drop doesn't work for apps and pictures like for mp3s and books does, so you have to sync everytime

    ...and so on.

    With multiple computers you can safely manage and backup your device, but sync process is a pain, you should have the entire library on every computer, same bookmarks, same pictures, same books etc. :confused:

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