Tuesday, 2 October 2012

iPhone Backups

iCloud backups are great... if you pay for the service to increase the size AND like waiting.
iTunes backups are also great... if you constantly connect your phone to your computer and click backup.

Pros: As they are Apple products, these methods complete a full backup and fairly hassle free.
Cons: You cannot partially restore files/sections of your phone; only a COMPLETE restore can be done.

If you're like me, I'd like to have some control in the way I backup things; preferably incrementally and wirelessly. Below details advice on how I prefer to backup the data on my iPhone.

FYI - to do a complete backup on iTunes, I always:
  1. Right-click on iPhone in iTunes and click on Transfer purchases. 
  2. Once complete, click on Backup. 

Backup: Calendar & Contacts
  • I've seen so many iPhones setup without auto-magically backing up their calendar and contacts to their gmail accounts.
  • Once setup correctly, every new contact or calendar event that is added on your phone will automatically be synced onto gmail so you'll never have to worry about data loss. 
  • This also means if you decide to move to another phone device (e.g. android), you simply need to input your gmail account details into the phone to download all your contacts and calendars! 
  • If you also use Outlook and want to keep Outlook-Gmail-iPhone synced, this adds another level of complexity. Although I haven't not tried this, have a read of this link I've found that seems useful:
Requirement: Google mail account
Detailed setup link:
Setup Procedure Summary: 
  • When inputting the setting into the iPhone, use Microsoft Exchange option (not Gmail!)
  • Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account... > Microsoft Exchange
  • Email: enter your full Google Account email address. 
  • Domain: leave blank
  • Username: Enter your full Google Account email address
  • Password: Google Account password
  • Tap 'Next' and choose 'Cancel' if the 'Unable to Verify Certificate' dialog appears.
  • Server:
  • Press Next to then enable Mail, Contacts, Calendars complete the process.
  • If you have never saved contact/calendar information onto Google: when prompted "what would you like to do with the existing local contacts/calendar events on your iPhone?" select "Keep on My iPhone" .

Backup: Photos
  • I prefer using these third party apps to back up my photos wirelessly so that I know full-well that the photos are backed up AND accessible/viewable. e.g. backing up to iCloud does not allow you to view your own photos via the iCloud login.
  • I've been using CameraSync and have set it up so that when I load the app, it will automatically scan for new photos and copy them across to my FTP server. Another great feature is that it renames all the photos to yyyy-mm-dd
  • Opening a or account and using the Box/Dropbox App will also allow you to upload your photos to your box account. (Please use this link to sign up: dropbox referral)
App: CameraSync or Box app or DropBox app (all via App Store)

Alternatively, if you want to back up and delete your photos using the iPhone cable connected to a PC:
  1. Use iFunbox to extract the photos in the original folders as found on the iPhone
  2. Use Advanced Renamer to rename the photos to yyyy-mm-dd
    I use the following details in the program:
    <Year Modified>-<Month Modified>-<Day Modified> <Hour Modified>.<Min Modified>.<Sec Modified> <Img CameraModel>
    Name Colission Rule: Append incrementing number, separator: -
  3. Use iTools to delete the photos from the iPhone
  4. Respring the iPhone so that the photo database is rebuilt. 

    Backup: SMS
    I use iBye to backup the SMS folder on the iPhone (/private/var/Mobile/Library/SMS) to my FTP server. The app compresses the folder to SMS.tar.gz before transferring it over wifi. The app also allows you to backup to dropbox and has options to backup other system files (e.g. Cydia, Phone, Contacts...)

    App: iBye (only for Jailbroken iPhones)
    • via Cydia:
    • Another recommended app is PKGBackup (BigBoss repo for $9.99) 

    Backup: Cydia Packages
    From experience, I haven't found one app that is 100% reliable yet. That's why I've opted to use all three apps to attempt to backup my Cydia packages and sources. If all fails, it's not the end of the world as I keep a manual list of Cydia packages I like in my original jailbreaking blogpost.

    Apps: APTBACKUP, OpenBackup and iBye  (all installed via Cydia)

    • Feedback and experiences: 
      • First time I used APTBACKUP and clicked on restore, it seemed to do nothing so gave up after 10mins; no progress bar. It may have possibly been extremely slow due to the server load(?)
      • Using OpenBackup to restore, restored about 50% of my Cydia apps and tweaks. 
      • Following this, I went into Cydia, added the sources, and queue the tweaks/apps in small batches at a time to install. The restore process actually kept all my settings so as soon as the Cydia app/tweak was re-installed, it worked exactly as I had set it up e.g. SBSettings had the correct theme. 
      • "If restoring from iBye, don't have the cable plugged into your computer - it did some weird stuff once with this scenario (the apple logo appeared in the background with the loading bar, like if you were updating the iOS - freaky.).... Annoyingly iBye didn't restore mail account details, photos, or other things; only SMS and notes only."

    Please let me know if you find new/better ways of completing the above tasks :)

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