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Difference between Sync and Backup?

145140 Views 60 Replies Latest reply: Apr 2, 2014 10:08 AM by fredfighterapple RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • Glenn Broadway Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 6, 2012 3:25 PM (in response to Demo)

    You're right of course, but I just wanted to make a point that after two pages it still wasn't really clear on this thread that that was the case. The Apple 'genius' certainly told me the wrong thing - that the backup contains a complete snapshot of your iPad.

  • Glenn Broadway Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 6, 2012 3:29 PM (in response to Chris CA)

    (sorry don't know how to quote on this forum)

     

    The reason I created a new iTunes library is because the last time I backed it up on my normal library it completely messed up his (my son's) home screens - moving all the icons around and emptying his folders.

     

    It still seems very strange. I think I have to plug in the iPad, stop any Syncs that attempt to start and then go in and work out what to check and uncheck in the Sync settings. I'm still not really sure what settings will ensure that two different iPads on the same Library don't start messing each up.

  • Demo Level 9 Level 9 (73,730 points)
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    Aug 6, 2012 3:46 PM (in response to Glenn Broadway)

    You can sync five iDevices to the same iTunes library and not mess anything up. You can turn off auto sync as well so that you don't have to stop the sync process. You can check the sync settings before you sync. I sync 3 devices to the same iTunes library and each device has its own content.

     

    Launch iTunes and go to iTunes>Preferences>Devices. Check the box at the bottom that says ...Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from automatically syncing. Click OK. Quit iTunes,

     

    Connect either of the two iPads to your Mac and launch iTunes. Click on your iPad name under the devices heading. Click on the Summary Tab. Check - "Sync only checked songs and videos". Then go into each tab in iTunes ... Apps, music, photos, books .... Select the exact content that you want to sync to that iPad and click on Apply in the lower right corner after you are done making your selections. iTunes will remember your sync settings the next time that to sync. You can make changes every time that you sync if like. Just click on Apply after you make the changes.

  • RIPSteveJobsRIP Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 14, 2012 9:10 PM (in response to Glenn Broadway)

    I know this is all a little bit confusing. A backup basically saves an exact copy of your device, minus the apps, only to be used if the device needs to be restored at a later date.

    Syncing will make sure your iTunes library is the same on the PC and the phone, that's it. In fact, it will not put newly purchased items on the device onto the PC. That is what transfer purchases are for.

    So basically if you are an avid user of iTunes on the computer, you would benefit from syncing, that way when you download a song or movie from iTunes on your PC, you will have it on your device, other wise it is pretty useless. There is a lot more to this but that is just the basics. I highly recommend backing up an IPhone on a weekly basis, since most of us rely on this device to live our lives.

    I hope this clears tings up. And most of you are right, the "Geniuses" at apple sometimes get it wrong or do not clearly explain it.

  • MNNV Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 25, 2012 7:56 PM (in response to geekgirrl)

    I agree. It makes NO sense whatsoever. I've never had problems like this, with such an essential, basic function, with PCs.

  • Mfeelngs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 11:36 PM (in response to Demo)

    Wow, this is kind of funny reading all these different interpitations of backing up and syncing. I'm glad I'm not alone.  So I'll take a shot at it..... So syncing is basically for "current", "real-time", "present moment", updating, thus which can/will only apply or be effective on any given application that is already on there in the first place (backed-up).  So just because your synicing i.e. photo vault doesn't meant it will sync if its not first backed up and on the in the first place.  Is this true?  So if there were no such thing as syncing, then in order for you to feel safe with your all your data , you would basically have to back up every single time you added or altered any kind of information, right? A least if you wanted it current up to that very moment in time.

    So tell me if I'm kind getting it.......is it basically like a network at let's say a place of employment where all the employees may have the same program and they all input various bits of information throughout the day yet without being on a network where they are linked (synced) they would never know what the other has added or altered until they backed up at the end of the day.  Is this true? Please let me know if I'm on the right track before my brain gets too comfortable with this idea.  Cause I might be getting it I hope.  Wait though.....what about iCloud syncing, ICloud syncs to right? See I'm lost again.  Cause the two will only syncing certain yet sometimes different things, there is another place I'm lost again. Help, help, help

  • Kelly Wilkerson Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Nov 19, 2012 9:10 AM (in response to Mfeelngs)

    There's a few different things going on with iTunes and iCloud:

     

    • Apps themselves can add functionality to store data to iCloud. But if they don't offer it, there's no real way to do anything about that as a user.
    • You can back up your iPhone/iPad/iTouch to iCloud, which does the same as backing up to iTunes, just stored in iCloud.
    • You can sync with iTunes on your computer, and this is more about pushing data from your computer to your phone (contacts, photo albums, music, movies, etc) choosing what gets pushed from your iTunes settings for the device.
    • You can backup with iTunes to your computer, copying data on your phone to the computer.

     

    It does get muddled a bit more because periodically (chosen by iTunes), syncing will also trigger the backup process. It's still a separate operation, it's just that iTunes decides that a new backup is a good idea since the other one is old.

     

    I know this link appears on the previous page, but I can't push it enough I've written up this article about syncing vs backing up. It's still very true, but it sounds like I should do an update to discuss some of the new iCloud app data stuff too.

     

    http://decipher-media.blogspot.com/2011/05/itunes-sync-vs-backup-how-to-ensure-y ou.html

  • leetut Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 18, 2013 8:18 AM (in response to Kelly Wilkerson)

    how do i sync without backup step2??,

    as its taking hours, dont even have anything on my device to back up!!!

     

    been restoring my iphone4s 10+ times for days now just cant get it to work properly

  • Kelly Wilkerson Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Feb 18, 2013 10:00 AM (in response to leetut)

    That is definitely strange. The restore process normally does try to make one last backup before the restore, just in case you change your mind later

     

    I've seen the backup get jammed up before, and that's probably what is happening here. I have a few simpler suggestions to try first:

     

    • Try turning your phone all the way off (holding the top button) and back on (holding the top button until it powers on) to reboot it, in case it's just a one-off problem with the backup process.
    • In iTunes, when the long backup is happening, click the small X button or curvy arrow button to the right of the little status bar to tell it to skip that step. It may take a little while to respond to the skip (it has to finish up what it's doing first to skip safely), so you only need to press it once, even if it seems like it's doing nothing.

    bar.png

     

    Let us know how it goes, maybe we can get more fancy with the suggestions otherwise.

  • dlueds Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 10, 2013 1:31 PM (in response to Kelly Wilkerson)

    So, I may know the answer to this question already, but here goes: 

     

    I tried to restore my wife's iphone5 from a backup dated 2/2/13.  I have plugged her phone into iTunes several times since then, but apparently it has never backed up again since that date.  I did the back up, but now have lost all messages, notes, etc. for all Feb. - April!  Does this mean, since the iphone never backed up since 2/2/13, and I already restored her phone to that date, that there is no way to get the newest messages and notes back???  Please say it isn't so!  Is there any way to get it back to a couple days ago?  Please help!  Thanks.

  • Kelly Wilkerson Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 11, 2013 10:07 AM (in response to dlueds)

    This is a good question and I have a couple of answers. There's still some hope, although yes, in the worst case, there is no backup of that new data from 2/2 until now.

     

    • Before we get to backup looking, let's look for some notes drafts elsewhere a sec.Does your wife sync her notes anywhere? (Usually they can be sync with iCloud or an email account like GMail.) I somehow erased my notes on my Mac (same sync system), but I had a lot of drafts of them in my GMail account since that's where they were syncing. I doubt she's changed her sync settings since February, so the places to look are:
      • Settings -> iCloud, to see if Notes is on. I think that means they should appear momentarily?
      • Settings -> Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and her various accounts. See if Notes is checked on for any of those. If so, then there might be some or all of the notes in that email account. I found mine by searching for a phrase that I knew was in the notes.
    • Ok, now to backup searching. I think (with strong emphasis on think) that iTunes does a snapshot backup (that just means a backup with a date at the end of the folder name) when it restores. So, you might have a backup sitting there from today. Finding it is another issue
      • On Windows, you can search (windows 8) or start->run (windows 7 and below) for %appdata% (percents included). This will open the Application Data folder. From there go into Apple Computer (or somesuch like that), and then MobileSync, and then Backup. You should see some folders with horrid letters and numbers as names, but some with dates at the end of that. Maybe there is one from today?
      • On Mac, you want to open finder and hold Option (Lion/Mnt Lion) and select Library from the "Go" menu. Library will only show up with Option held for Lion/Mnt Lion machines. From there, you want the Application Support -> MobileSync -> Backup folders. Same deal as Windows -- nasty device identifier folder names, but some may have dates at the end of the nastiness. We're looking for today.

     

    If you do find the backup, you have a decision to make about which version you want to use on the phone... today or 2/2?

     

    <Link Edited By Host> 

  • dlueds Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 10, 2013 10:05 PM (in response to Kelly Wilkerson)

    Ok, so I found the snapshot on my computer!  Thank you!  Now, how do I get it back to restore onto my wife's phone? What steps do I take?

  • Kelly Wilkerson Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 11, 2013 8:51 AM (in response to dlueds)

    If you press "Restore Backup...", under Manually Back Up and Restore, do you get a popup box with a list of choices?

     

    If so, do any of the choices for your wife's phone have a backup date of yesterday?

     

    Another thing you can do is go to that backup folder and move every other backup elsewhere for a minute (like your desktop, so you remember to put them back!). That way when you press restore, the only option you should have is the one you want

     

    If you're paranoid like me, you may also want to make a copy of that backup you want on your desktop... worth the extra disk space usage for a few minutes just to make sure that it doesn't disappear on ya.

  • dlueds Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 11, 2013 9:54 AM (in response to Kelly Wilkerson)

    The pop up box does come up, however, the last date is 2/2/13.  I found the snapshot of the other day in the 'application folder' you led me to, however, I do not know how to get that folder to the iTunes?  I tried dragging the folder over, but did nothing.  Also saved that folder to an external hard drive, and tried dragging over to her phone in iTunes, it had the " + "  sign like it would add it, but did nothing either.  So, I am stuck with what to do to get that folder as the 'restore' folder?  I couldn't find any way to browse for which folder to restore from.  It only led to the ones on the iTunes, which was the old date in Feb.  Thx

  • Kelly Wilkerson Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 11, 2013 10:13 AM (in response to dlueds)

    iTunes will only notice the backup folders that are directly in that MobileSync -> Backup folder that you found. You'll want to move/copy the backup there for iTunes to notice it.

     

    Sounds like moving all of the other folders in Backup to the desktop for a moment is a good choice, so you can see if iTunes will offer you the snapshot folder.

     

    Just to be sure - the snapshot folder has a bunch of files in it right? They should be ugly names too.

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