Did Apple Drop the Ball on iPhone Backup?

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The backup/synch process for iPhones takes a really long time and may turn out to be worthless for restoring a bricked device, according to emerging reports.

Blogger Erica Sadun wrote the other day about her frustrations with Apple’s synch and backup protocols in the iPhone 2.0 firmware and wondered why on earth she has to wait for entire applications to backup every time she synchs her phone with iTunes, instead of having iTunes backup only changed Document and Library data.

Writer Rob Griffiths also complains, “I can connect my phone, let it run a full backup and sync, disconnect it, let it sit on the desk for three minutes, then connect it again”¦and get hit with another hour-long backup cycle.”

And what’s worst is the local backup may be useless for restoring an iPhone to its as-configured state after crashing due to application instability or glitches in the 2.0 firmware. If this is a real problem, Apple’s millions of iPhone customers juggling their tens of millions of AppStore downloads will be letting us know quite soon, but as Griffiths writes, “the current implementation of backup in iPhone 2.0 seems very broken.”

12 responses to “Did Apple Drop the Ball on iPhone Backup?”

  1. Dave says:

    IMHO, Apple dropped the ball all around. From glitches in the software, slow downs in the network, and the sheer lack of iPhones in the market (I’ve been waiting on my drop ship for nearly a week now – with no end in sight). Not to mention a deal with AT&T, who’s sales people seem to be the exact OPPOSITE of Apple folks – I’ve never heard so many slick sales person outright lies until last week.

    This was a horribly botched launch all the way around and seems very un-Apple. In a decade when we are looking back to when it all started going wrong, I hope we don’t look back at 7-11-08 as the day Apple jumped the shark.

  2. pting says:

    This is exactly my experience. Long backup times (really long!), seemingly unnecessary backups every time I reconnect, and THE WORST is that these backups do not allow restoring of my iPhone. I’ve lost all my bookmarks, all my notes…all because none of my backups will restore!

  3. Mike says:

    I do agree with this point. I have started to avoid syncing my iPod to my computer for this reason and since .Mac now takes care of all my calendar syncing. Now I generally force myself to sync when I run out of podcasts.

  4. chris says:

    i got that message and lost all my contacts & my calendar because i tried to upgrade my software! WTF?!

  5. OS11 says:

    yes, the constant backing up is pointlessly slow, but (i think) you just hit the little “circle” cancel button when it begins and it will continue with the rest of the syncing.

  6. Brian says:

    I get the impression that the long back up times are because the computer is backing up the applications everytime.

    I don’t think it started to take a long time for me till i installed applications. Seems like some De-duping should be in order for the next update… hopefully…