Tuesday, November 23, 2010

iOS 4.2 has already pissed me off...

...not so much the software itself, but Apple/iTunes' lack of a real backup process.

Below is a copy of the letter sent to Apple about my most recent issue, where I lost approximately 10GB of user-created (i.e. ME) music and video due to their "backup process" not actually backing anything up...

Now that the new iOS 4.2 has been released, I decided to upgrade my 3gs from 4.0.
When I first connected my iPhone and attempted to start the upgrade, a dialog box appeared: "This update will overwrite all information on your iPhone. Make sure you have created a backup before applying this update." or something to that effect.
Not wanting to lose the 10+gb of music and video that I had recorded, I right-clicked on my iPhone in the iTunes sidebar and selected backup.
iTunes churned away for a bit, then informed me that the backup had been completed successfully, so I proceeded with the iOS 4.2 upgrade.
A couple of phone reboots, and an "unknown error" that crashed iTunes later, the update was complete.
To my dismay, my ~12gb of data on my iPhone now only showed as ~1.5gb, with all of my music and video missing.
I immediately attempted to restore from my backup, which returned 90% of my photos (but not all), my downloaded apps and about 50% of my contacts to the phone, but still no music or videos.
Called support. Spoke with a Tier1 agent, who was very willing to help, but unable to actually do anything. Then she mentions that "oh yeah, you can't back up music or videos from the iPhone." Miffed and confused, I asked to speak to her Senior for clarification on this seemingly-illogical claim. When "Steve" got on the phone, he confirmed that yes, despite the dialog stating that if a user wanted to save their data, they should create a backup, the "backup" really only contained contacts, text messages and the like, and that Apple had never included media in the backup process. He then made the contradictory comment that Apple had made this specific decision to NO LONGER back up media from the user's device due to "complaints from users that their iPod and iPhone backups were using 20-30gb of additional space on their hard drive." Which is exactly what a REAL back up will do, as it is BACKING UP an exact copy of the data from one device to another.
So not only was "Steve's" comment in direct contradiction to his earlier statement that Apple had never offered a media backup from iPod/iPhone, it also flies in the face of smart computing practices AND good business sense.

Basically, what this bug report boils down to is that as a musician, videographer and computer professional, the complete lack of your software's ability to perform a real backup, combined with the either poorly-worded or purposefully-misleading dialog boxes in iTunes that lead the user to believe their information is being stored, is completely unacceptable.

At the very least, the dialog windows should be rewritten to inform the user that no media information will be backed up.
The correct solution, on the other hand, would be to offer users the option of doing a "quick backup," containing only the basic information currently saved by your poorly-designed "backup" process, or a "full backup," containing a 1-1 copy of the user's device.

I would sincerely appreciate a detailed response to this issue, as this is an extremely distressing lack of coverage for anyone who uses their iPod or iPhone to create new media.