Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


Steve Jobs is an idiot

I repeat. Steve Jobs is an idiot.

How else can one explain the horrendously shallow "backup" function on his flagship iPhone?

My gripe (and the impetus for this rant)? The fact that iTunes will only preserve the most rudimentary features when you plug your iPhone via a USB cable into your computer. If you think your entire iPhone is being backed up during those LOOOOOONNNNGGGGG sync sessions, think again -- and prepare for the worst.

Yes, applications you have downloaded from the iTunes store are kept. Yes, your iPod media (songs, playlists, videos) are also preserved.

But your configurations (such as your folders on the Home screen) are not --on restore they are simply dumped onto your iPhone in alphabetical order. Nor are your "Camera Roll" photos (the ones you have not manually moved from the iPhone DCIM directory into a separate directory on your desktop's "Pictures" folder) -- they are gone. Nor (most damning of all) is the content within third-party applications backed up.

So all those dozens of passwords I stored in the "mSecure" app? Gone.

My "Trail Track" archive from "MotionX GPS"? Vanished (other than the few I shared via Facebook and email).

My "DocsToGo" local files? Kapoof. Along with the link to my 400MB shared archive on my desktop.

The keychain tab barcodes (from those frequent-shopper clubs) I manually entered into "CardBank"? Like last year's closeout sale....

And my individual stats and progress on every game? Back to the bush leagues for me....

Ironically, the apps that rely on an online link (e.g., Facebook, Starbucks MobileCard, TripCase travel app) are restored easily enough -- provided you remember your username and password (see "mSecure" above).

What is most infuriating about this is how disciplined I have been in digital archiving for the past 15-plus years. In 1995, I had an MS-DOS script on my HP 200LX that would regularly archive my contacts and other data files to a PCMCIA card (which could then be copied onto my desktop or laptop). In 1999, when I migrated to Palm, I was diligent about HotSync'ing to my desktop -- and have come to expect that ALL internal data would be copied to the backup file, not just the list of applications.

But Apple is notorious for its incredibly inefficient use of bandwidth. How else can one explain the 300MB update files when a ".x" version change in iTunes is pushed?

Frankly, I can't wait for these iPhones to reach the end of their usable lives so I can dump them (and maybe AT&T too) for a Droid or EVO. Until then, I will stop treating my iPhone like an enduring, reliable extension of my digital self -- and instead look at it as a cheap, disposable commodity.



At 7/8/10 19:19 , Anonymous Netmom said...

Until now, AT&T has been the only reason I didn't switch to the iPhone. I do love my iPod Touch. But now I have more reasons not to switch...

At 8/8/10 09:05 , Blogger Dan tdaxp said...

Between this, and the antenna issue, Apple seems to have entered the same self-congratulatory space that led MS to launch Bob, Vista, and Kin.

For myself, and for the industry, I hope Windows Phone 7 isn't a similar waste of time. I really want it to be good.

At 14/8/11 12:40 , Blogger deichmans said...

Today, more than a year after this blogpost, lightning struck again! During an iOS upgrade (from 4.3.2 to 4.3.5) I received "Error 9" from iTunes -- communications with the USB port was interrupted, causing the upgrade to hang.

Since my iPhone 3GS was now a brick, I had to resort to the dreaded "Restore" function....

And after several hours, I was pleased to discover that Apple has improved their backup feature on PC-based iTunes users!

My apps were still sorted into folders, my recently-added appointments were intact, and even third-party data was preserved!

The only issues (minor in comparison to last year's monumental reset) were:

1) Had to reset the passcode (it prompted me for this on first login)
2) Had to re-download my email for all accounts (but only Comcast mail needed to be re-toggled as "read")
3) I'm seeing several duplicates in the Contact database

Well done, Apple!


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