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glhicks Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi everyone,

So my friend ran into a problem with her iPad. She had a recent backup, and restored from it. All apps, books, music has been restored but certain apps (I have listed a few below) did not restore her save games, or save data local to that app. Some data was backed up, and of course some apps/games store their data in the cloud, but it seems almost all third party apps/games' user data is not backed up, or at least not restored from available back ups.

*Question 1:*
Does the iTunes backup manager backup save games of app data?

*Question 2:*
Is it possible to retreive the save data -perhaps the save data is still their on the iPad?

*List of apps effected:*
These apps were restored, but all save data pertaining to that app/game was lost after restoring from the iTunes backup facility. _All of these apps lost their data upon restore:_

* Angry Bird
* Broken Sword 2
* Hotel Mogul
* Secret of Monkey Island 2 Special Edition
* Sketchbook Pro
* Supermarket Mania
* The Brush
* The Success Story

I've compiled this list and posted this thread as a warning to users out there who may assume their save data is backed up but isn't. If anyone else can confirm games or apps where their data is not protected by iTunes Backup then I'd welcome you to share them here.

I think it's terrible that App data isn't backed up and restored comprehensively.

Thanks in advance, any comments welcome

Gary

iPad, iOS 4
  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (166,620 points)
    This article says the backup includes:
    "Application settings, preferences, and data
    "In-app purchases"
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4079

    However, the app itself is not part of the backup. During a restore it takes the app from the iTunes library.
  • glhicks Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi lllaass,

    Firstly, thank you for the contribution. I found that page quite helpful, but it does not address this issue of third party app/game user data:

    "You can use iTunes to sync content on your computer (such as music, applications, podcasts, videos, photos, notes, email account settings, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks) with your iPad."

    The above quote (Apple's definition of a backup) does not mention user data for third party apps. If Apple is only content with backing up installed applications and not their respective user data then my original concern is still valid. Without a 'file explorer', users are left at the behest of Apple to do a proper job of backing up data.

    Some may argue that 'game saves' are not important, but the cause for concern is further reaching than that: it appears user data from third party apps like Sketchbook Pro are also not backed up. I think it raises an issue, don't you think, that needs to be clarified -just how sure can you be that your respective (user created) app/game data is being backed up and is restorable?

    Thanks again, your comments are very welcome

    Gary

    EDIT:
    Ah, sorry I missed Apple's statement that it backs up "Application settings, preferences, and data" and "Per-app preferences allowing use of location services". But clearly, in this case at least, 'per-app' data was not backed up, or at the very least, not restored.

    Message was edited by: glhicks
  • JimHdk Level 7 Level 7 (28,240 points)
    glhicks wrote:
    Firstly, thank you for the contribution. I found that page quite helpful, but it does not address this issue of third party app/game user data:

    "You can use iTunes to sync content on your computer (such as music, applications, podcasts, videos, photos, notes, email account settings, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks) with your iPad."

    You have to read the whole article including the expandable (blue) items.

    Here is what the article says about backup save contents:

    Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, and currently open pages
    Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps
    Application settings, preferences, and data
    Contacts
    Calendars
    CalDAV and subscribed calendar accounts.
    YouTube favorites
    Wallpapers
    Notes
    Mail accounts
    Autocorrect dictionaries
    Camera Roll
    Home screen layout and web clips
    Network settings (saved Wi-Fi hotspots, VPN settings, network preferences)
    Paired Bluetooth devices (which can only be used if restored to the same iPad that did the backup)
    Keychain (this includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications. The keychain can only be restored from backup to the same iPad. If you are restoring to a new device, you will need to fill in these passwords again.)
    Managed Configurations/Profiles
    MobileMe and Microsoft Exchange account configurations
    App Store Application data (except the Application itself, its tmp and Caches folder).
    Per-app preferences allowing use of location services
    Offline web application cache/database
    Autofill for webpages
    Trusted hosts that have certificates that cannot be verified
    Websites approved to get the location of the device
    In-app purchases
  • glhicks Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Correct, I did read the article in full.

    But as I said before, +"clearly, in this case at least, 'per-app' data was not backed up, or at the very least, not restored."+

    Which makes me concerned about the accountability of iTunes' backup facility in general. I do not see any evidence that addresses this concern. And the Apple page uses the word 'can', as per legal requirement. There is no elaboration (from that page) that all per app user data is backed up.

    Thanks again,

    Gary
  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (166,620 points)
    The only thing that I can think of is the developer did not properly code the app to store the data in the manner that the Apple backup program would backup.
  • JimHdk Level 7 Level 7 (28,240 points)
    glhicks wrote:
    Correct, I did read the article in full.

    But as I said before, +"clearly, in this case at least, 'per-app' data was not backed up, or at the very least, not restored."+

    Which makes me concerned about the accountability of iTunes' backup facility in general. I do not see any evidence that addresses this concern. And the Apple page uses the word 'can', as per legal requirement. There is no elaboration (from that page) that all per app user data is backed up.

    Thanks again,

    Gary


    Hmm... What I see in the document says:

    Information iTunes will back up

    • Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, and currently open pages
    • Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps
    • *Application settings, preferences, and data*
    .
    .
    .

    I see will not can.

    By application data I believe that they mean application data generated by the application for the user, e.g., current game state, otherwise there would be no reason to save it. The same is true for application settings and preferences.

    Since the Apple document states that application data is saved then what you observed would be a bug and you should report it at http://www.apple.com/feedback/ipad.html and, possibly to the App developers as well.

    However, your evidence seems somewhat anecdotal and second-hand, i.e., "my friend ran into a problem with her iPad. She had a recent backup, and restored from it. All apps, books, music has been restored but certain apps (I have listed a few below) did not restore her save games, or save data local to that app".

    How do you know that her backup was current? or that the restore was done correctly? It's easy to forget when the last backup was done.

    I'd suggest running a new test with a known backup file to see if you can reproduce this problem before fully depressing the panic button.
  • glhicks Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Actually I was present during the procedure and my experience is first hand. I am a PC expert but my Mac experience extends only to my flatmate's iPhone 4 and iPad. The backup was recent, and as I have stated (and you noted) clearly, most 'per app' data was restored but *crucially*, the problem is that this was not universal and effected the apps/games listed above.

    Yes, I see you point, that this case -if it were an isolated incident -would perhaps be better classified under 'bugs' rather than pushing the "panic button"; but it is not an isolated concern. There are several cases of people asking similar questions on other forums (including the 'J**B***' ones) concerning iTunes ability to backup 'per app' data. For clarification, this iPad has never been and will never be 'JB'.

    Only when I thought that this case was not 'isolated' did I consider posting on this official forum, and I put it to you that I did so without pushing any panic button.

    It was to raise awareness, and seek answers to the very clearly defined questions in the first post -none of which have been catageorically answered.

    I do appreciate your help though, and I will submit a bug report.

    It would be great if anyone else could contribute some anecdotal evidence to support this post -or to prove it wrong!

    Cheers

    EDIT: a bug report has been sent, I will post back any updates if I have any

    Message was edited by: glhicks
  • nunyobizbiznatch Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ahhh.. the beauty of a locked-down, psychotically peoprietary, crap OS.  Simply mirroring the HD's content gives up Apple's control to meddle in your affairs. It's too easy.... but forget it, end-user!!!!

  • jdiamond Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just wanted to add that this is now 2015, and about HALF of my iPad Apps do NOT have their data backed up by iTunes, even though the Applications clearly store their data and settings in their perspective Documents and Library folders.  This is why I have been forced to use third party file managers.

     

    I also do not know WHY some apps ARE restored and others are not, however, recently, my daughter had to restore her iPad.  Unfortunately, due to the timing, it restored to iOS 8.3, which BLOCKED 3rd party file managers, so she lost over a year of work.

     

    I am attempting to downgrade her OS so we can get her App Data back, but this is a one shot deal - once we pass the iOS 8.3 boundary, her App Data can NEVER be backed up by iTunes.

     

    It *may* be backed up by iCloud Wifi - we are investigating this now.  But please Apple - at least give the option to have iTunes back up the Documents and Library directory of Apps, just like you do on the device with iCloud backups.

     

    I'd say this is far from anecdotal - this is the common case.  Restore an iPad backup and most of your Apps act like you just installed them with all data lost.

     

    ONE THING TO ADD:  I will be greatly relieved if it turns out iCloud really can back up the data of these Apps.  However, this does not remove the need to allow third party file managers because of the windowing issue:  With some Apps, there isn't space on our device to store all our content.  So we'd like to change which portion of our content is on our device at a given time, without merely losing it.  While iTunes DOES provide a developer API for allowing this, we found that 95% of applications (including some made by Apple) do not support this, making third party file managers the ONLY way to selectively add and remove content from your Apps.

  • jdiamond Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Quick update.  I just spoke with Apple technical support.  It was a level 1 kind of call, so I don't know how knowledgeable the person was.  But he told me that despite what it says on the Apple website above, iTunes backup does NOT back up the Document directories of Apps - only the Library folder.  Which means the Apps that appear to have their data restored are those that represent their data as settings.  The tech guy also thought that the iCloud backup is different - that the iCloud backup does back up the Documents folder.

     

    He said that iTunes backups are generally deprecated, and that's probably why they don't work so well, because Apple isn't looking at them very closely.

     

    Now the big question:  Why would Apple cut off 3rd party software from being able to supplant needed iTunes functionality?  Just to push people to more iCloud usage?  I'll gladly pay for a real backup, but there's more at stake here than just back ups: think about it a minute:  Would you use a Mac Laptop if you knew that no data you had on it could ever be moved to a different computer?  What happens when your hard drive fills up?

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 8 Level 8 (41,490 points)

    jdiamond wrote:

     

    I am attempting to downgrade her OS so we can get her App Data back, but this is a one shot deal - once we pass the iOS 8.3 boundary, her App Data can NEVER be backed up by iTunes.

     

     

    Apple does not provide a path for downgrading iOS, so it cannot be done without hacking the device.

     

    jdiamond wrote:

     

    But please Apple - at least give the option to have iTunes back up the Documents and Library directory of Apps, just like you do on the device with iCloud backups.

     

     

    You are not addressing Apple here, this is a user to user support forum. If you want to let Apple know something, you can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page, or you can use the feedback page HERE, and then click on the appropriate subject area. I do know that not all applications allow for the saving of their data to the backups, so you might want to also investigate that with the specific applications support page. The app developer can choose whether or not to allow their data to be backed up when the phone is backed up. Also, certain privacy data is not backed up, such as health and other password data unless the backup is encrypted. You have to manually choose that in iTunes.

  • jdiamond Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Chris.

     

    I've already made several suggestions to Apple on this via the feedback pages.  I'm now waiting to hear back from several developers on this issue.  This is extremely important to solve:  If it *is* the developers fault, then it means iCloud won't back up their App data either.  And if it's *not* the developer's fault, then we know that iTunes backup is incomplete and possibly no longer supported by Apple.

     

    For me, this is a really big issue.  It's one thing if you don't really use your iPad, or just use it for programs that you also have on your Mac.  But if you use your iPad for actual content creation, you've gotta be able to get at that content.

     

    - Jeff

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 8 Level 8 (41,490 points)

    I've never encountered any issue with my iTunes backups, so I'm not so sure about the statement you made regarding iTunes backup being incomplete and no longer supported by Apple. I believe there is no basis for saying it is not supported. My backups have worked just fine, I backup both my iPhone and my iPad with iTunes. Just because a Tier 1 support person made a comment about backups does not represent the company's policy.

     

    I use both of my devices for a number of things, but depending on what you are creating, I'm not sure where that data is saved. As I stated earlier, not all apps store the data in the same place, and not all developers allow iTunes to backup their data. However, most developers that do that mention that with their apps. I have read some apps will not backup the data at all, and whenever you restore, you lose any app data and start over again. That is not a fault of iTunes or Apple, but the app developer themselves. It seems you are following through with the app developer in your case, so I would wait to see what they say.

  • jdiamond Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks again, Chris.  You were right about "downgrading" - it looks like Apple stops signing old versions of iOS within about 48 hours of releasing newer versions.  It also may well be that the Apple tech guy was simply unfamiliar with backing up devices using iTunes.

     

    I haven't yet heard back from developers - I think the only real answer to all this might be in developer documentation.  If you look at the developer documentation for iClouds backup, it clearly states that everything the Developer puts in their Documents folder will be backed up, so if they don't want it backed up, don't put it there.  Meanwhile, the Apps I'm having issues with iTunes backup definitely are saving their data in Document folders.

     

    I will definitely update this thread as soon as I finish experimenting with iCloud backups to see if the behavior differs from iTunes backups.  And if I hear back from developers on this.

     

    No matter what the answer turns out to be, it's pretty important to know.

    - Jeff

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