How does game saved sync works

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by deluge23, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. deluge23 macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    Hi guys, I am wondering how does the game saved work during sync. I found that if I had a game removed, but later decided to resync it back, the game saved will be deleted and I will have to start anew. I had tested on games such as final fantasy 3 and real racing 2. Is there any way to retain the save files even after I had removed the game during a sync due to space limitation but later decided to resync back to continue playing?

    Another question is the way that the game saved is sync across multiple device. Say I had plant vs zombie installed on two iDevices, with different game progress for these devices. During a sync, will the saved file be sync, or will they be left as it is, that is different saved game for different devices.
  2. ipsychedelic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    Hey there.

    The only thing I'm not sure about is iCloud. If the game has iCloud feature, I don't know if deleting from iTunes library would still leave the data on iCloud. But on iTunes, it will simply delete all data associated with the application and if you re-download, it is like starting anew.
    This is obviously a pain in the ass and I can't help but thinking why Apple hasn't added something like a backup of individual data on iTunes (probably hard to implement or just laziness), rather than always relying either on a full backup (that will only work for installed apps on iTunes) or data on the iDevice.

    Another question is the way that the game saved is sync across multiple device. Say I had plant vs zombie installed on two iDevices, with different game progress for these devices. During a sync, will the saved file be sync, or will they be left as it is, that is different saved game for different devices.

    What I do in this case is, I copy the data prior the deletion (I'm jailbroken so I can do it via SSH, iFile, etc), then delete the app on the iDevice. That way if I resync it back I just copy back the data.
    If you're not jailbroken I'm sure you can read the data via iExplorer (or others I can't recall the name), but not sure if you can "write it back" (if not, then you'd be out of luck unless you use an application to write data on an iTunes backup file and once I found a windows software that did this but it was way too expensive to even think of playing around with it. And most games won't have this "iTunes data" feature for their save games I'm afraid, only those sort of Document reading and Video playing apps will do, so no way of putting back the old data via the iTunes file sharing).

    One thing to understand is, like I said before, iTunes never saves any "individual" app data per se.
    All it saves is the IPA file (which is nothing more than the installer, but now that I think about would it be any way to bundle inside the Documents folder for an app, then sync and have it there, for a non-jailbroken user? Guess not but if you don't get what I mean, never mind, I'm just rambling off my mind) but never any data (and the apps that have the file sharing option activated, will just show data that WILL be synched on next sync or currently available on the iDevice, no more).

    So, if you have Plants vs Zombies on two devices, then the individual data will be ONLY in two possible places:
    1. Your iDevice.
    2. The iTunes Backup / iCloud Backup (you can only use one at a time).

    So when you sync with iTunes your save games are either synched from the iDevice to the backup on iTunes, OR to the backup on iCloud.

    NOW, there is one last thing to learn, and that is iCloud "documents and data" saving feature, that is the one in the Apple commercials for iCloud (take a picture on your iPhone, see it on your iPad, work with a document on your MAc, see it on your iPad).
    This feature is ONLY for apps that embrace it, that is, the developer has to enable it.
    How does it work?
    Simple, every time you save your game, it would get stored on iCloud (if you have iCloud enabled in Settings, for that app). If you opened the game on the other iDevice, and if you also have iCloud enabled for this app on this second iDevice, the app would realize there is a newer data on the cloud and would sync it down from heaven to your iDevice, that way, you could "continue" to play on this second idevice.

    Now, if you wanted to have different game states on each device, just make sure to never enable iCloud for the app.

    That's all I know.
    I understand iCloud has a "complex" algorithm for making diffs (google unix diff if you don't know what I mean) so to avoid problems when, for instance, you have the same app, on both devices, and they both try to save a game at the same time.
    I guess with games, the choice would be simple for the developer: Just use whatever is the most recent one.
    For other apps like a Word document opened on both your iPad and iPhone and you working on it at the same time, what happens when you hit save, would the changes in one device be overwritten by the changes in other? THis is where I'm not sure if iCloud makes the diff with the "complex" algorithm of the developer him/herself has to make the algorithm to solve this kind of situation.
  3. deluge23 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2010
    Thanks for the elegant answer that you had posted up there.

    I guess I forgot to mentioned that I did jailbreak both of my iDevices. From what I manage to grasp so far I used pkgbackup (available on Cydia) to backup my apps individually to DropBox. So far I had yet to perform any restore from it as I haven't update my 1st gen iPad which is still running on the obsolete iOS 3.2.2. I had also posted another thread on the questions that I had prior to updating the iOS to the latest 5.1.1 in case of any issue that might arise. In case you are wondering why update now, it's the Game Center :) I had been playing quite some games on my iPhone ever since I got it.

    As you had mentioned, iCloud really is a blessing to use, yet hard to understand. It is sad that I had yet see any games (or unaware) of any games that uses iCloud to sync game profile. Hopefully Apple will think of a way to standardize the game saves across different decides. I'm started to think that I use my iPhone more like a portable gaming device instead of a phone!
  4. ipsychedelic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    Yeah well, there is a reason PSPs and the like are now relegated to a niche, because the majority of (read: not hardcore gamers) people now simply use their mobile phones or tablets.

    As for a full list of iCloud enabled apps I've yet to come across any (and don't think Apple has the guts to put something up their website), but for example this one is helpful.

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