How to make 'sync' via iTunes bidirectional?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by serr, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. serr macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2010
    The 'sync' feature will mirror anything in selected pictures/music/movies directories to a connected iThing. The reverse however, doesn't seem to work (or at least not by default).

    Example 1: Copy from computer to iThing
    Select the folders in iTunes preferences to mirror and hit sync. Files are copied from computer to iThing.

    Example 2: Copy from iThing to computer
    Start with some pictures in the iThing. Copy preferences for 'sync' still set as above. Move everything out of the Pictures folder on the computer to start with an empty folder. Hit sync. Expected: Pictures copied from iThing to Pictures folder on computer. Actual result: Pictures erased from iThing. So what it's doing is still mirroring the Pictures folder on the computer. The folder on the computer started empty so it mirrored that on the iThing.

    Ugly default but clear enough. (This must be fun for phone tech support to deal with. Yikes!)

    Can 'sync' be made bidirectional?
  2. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    Sync isn’t the same as copying or mirroring. It’s watching the actions you take and carrying those across your devices. It is bidirectional, and smarter than you think. It’s not deleting pictures from the idevice because the computer folder is empty. It’s deleting because that was the last action you took on your items, so that action is reflected bidirectionally across all devices.

    What is it that you are trying to accomplish?
  3. serr thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2010
    Fair enough!

    1. Copy anything I choose from computer to iThing.
    I know how to do this via the 'sync' command with iTunes.

    2. Copy anything I choose from iThing to computer. With no caveats. Not interested in mirroring. Not interested in preserving any actions I made with any other device. (Pointedly the opposite if anything.) Simply copy files of my choosing from iThing to computer. No deleting anything for "my convenience" either unless I say so. Doesn't matter if the files ended up on the iThing from a previous sync copy or other means. Point the iThing to an empty folder on the computer and transfer the files over. No more, no less.

    Perhaps my mistake is transferring files to the iThing using 'sync'? This puts them in a restricted directory? What's either the proper location or file transfer protocol to use then?
  4. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    It sounds like you don't want to sync at all. So you're probably better off with it off. Beyond that, I'm not certain you can get what you want exactly. That's not really how iDevices are made to work. Since I don't know, I'll step aside now and let someone else try to help.
  5. serr thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2010
    Thanks for the comment chabig!

    I do understand that these iThings and iOS are a big old mess and not very Apple-like to one of their older pro computer users. I still wanted to try to be fair and give the utilities a shot before going the hack into the root filesystem route. It does look like these utilities are either sloppy incomplete or there's some paranoia gone wild with intentional restrictions.

    But I'm still listening...
  6. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Paranoia is the correct idea. Apple, in what now seems like extremely wise foresight, decided to make iOS a LOT more secure than macOS…and therefore different in the ways users can interact. However, that doesn’t mean you won't be exposed to security risks by using the device. Using Facebook would be an example of that sort of risk.
  7. macrumors 604

    May 26, 2016
    OP - what you’re asking for is not possible with default Apple apps. There are apps that will let you copy and paste things on to iOS devices but those most likely will not be able to read by the OS to be used systemwide.

    I see the best and easiest option for you might be using a cloud storage system like iCloud or Dropbox or google drive.

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