Backing up apps with iTunes

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by ring0_event, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Hi. OK, I've been living under a rock- aka very busy, and I did not know that Apple has changed the way iTunes backs up applications locally on disk. Every time I try to do a backup, I see that the number of applications stored on disk has not changed; it's constant, despite the fact that I've since installed new apps on my iPhone. It used to be the case that doing a device backup would backup all my apps locally on disk, but Apple seems to have changed that.
    Is there another way that I could backup my apps with iTunes? Am I doing something wrong? Another wrinkle- I'm using my older laptop for iTunes, and it's stuck on Vista (yes I know, I have other laptops but I've never migrated iTunes), so my iTunes version is 12.1.3 (not the absolute latest).

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Rafagon

    Rafagon Genius
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    Just to be sure, you are aware that you can re-download purchased apps from the App Store as many times as necessary, correct (at no additional charge)? But, notwithstanding, you're still interested in keeping backup copies of apps locally on disk?
     
  3. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Thanks for your reply! I'm talking about both free and purchased apps. In times past (iOS8), I would just backup and restore my iPhone, and all apps along with their data would be restored using this very simple process. After the backup, I would see my apps backed up on disk at this path (I'm giving the Windows path, sorry if you're a Mac user, it would be different in that case):
    C:\Users\Username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\

    Now, when I do a backup of my phone using iTunes, I see only a fraction of my apps backed up on disk. So this leads me to believe that if I would restore, then only a those apps would be restored, leaving me to *manually* remember the missing apps and downloading them myself, a *VERY* tedious process. Is backing up apps locally on disk using iTunes still supported? I've found conflicting reports that Apple has changed this in iOS9.

    I can't be the only one asking this question...though because I've been busy (aka living under a rock from your perspective) it's possible I'm asking it 1 year after everyone else!

    Thanks for any help.
     
  4. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Here is one informative thread, which did NOT help me:
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7218373?tstart=0

    Perhaps my version of iTunes, 12.1.3, is simply too old...
     
  5. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    So, I did a quick experiment: I installed the latest version of iTunes (12.4.1.6) on another Windows 7 test machine, authorized the machine for iTunes, and did a backup of my iPhone. NOT ONE app was backup up by iTunes locally onto my hard disk as an IPA file (in C:\Users\Username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\). Note that I did a backup and did not sync. When I go to the apps section in iTunes on my Windows 7 test machine, no app is shown, indicating to me that no app was backed up. No IPA files are to be found anywhere.
    So, I'm left wondering if I backup and restore from iTunes if any of my apps (paid or not) would be restored, or would I have to manually do that for all 400 or so of my apps??
    Thanks for any help!
     
  6. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Hi. I've been out of the loop for a very long time, so please bear with me. I have tried to do a backup of my iPhone using iTunes locally (no iCloud), and it seems that no app IPA files are being backed up in the usual folder (C:\Users\Username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications\)- indeed, the folder "Mobile Applications" does not even exist! I am trying this on a Windows 7 test machine which I've authorized- iTunes version is 12.4.1.6. Note that I did a backup and did not sync, as my test machine is clean. When I go to the apps section in iTunes on my Windows 7 test machine, no app are shown, indicating to me that no app was backed up. No IPA files are to be found anywhere.
    So, I'm left wondering if I backup and restore from iTunes if any of my apps (paid or not) would be restored, or would I have to manually do that for all 400 or so of my apps??
    Thanks for any help!
     
  7. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    OK, I have found a partial solution- I say partial because it's fully manual. I don't know why Apple has done this way, so VERY annoying.

    This link confirms my fear:
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201267

    I did NOT get automatic downloads to work at all, despite having turned it on for Apps on both my iPhone and in iTunes:
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202180

    BUT, I was able to MANUALLY download them:
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201272

    So now the IPA files are backed up on my PC (C:\Users\UserName\Music\iTunes\Mobile Applications). BUT I have to manually select each one I want to back up locally!

    So now my question remains: is there an easier way??
    Thanks for any help.
     
  8. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    OK, I have found a partial solution- I say partial because it's fully manual. I don't know why Apple has done this way, so VERY annoying.

    This link confirms my fear:
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201267

    I did NOT get automatic downloads to work at all, despite having turned it on for Apps on both my iPhone and in iTunes:
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT202180

    BUT, I was able to MANUALLY download them:
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201272

    So now the IPA files are backed up on my PC (C:\Users\UserName\Music\iTunes\Mobile Applications). BUT I have to manually select each one I want to back up locally!

    So now my question remains: is there an easier way??
    Thanks for any help.
     
  9. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Holy, I just saw the "download all" button at the bottom right hand corner. So my question is resolved.
     
    #9 ring0_event, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2016
  10. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Holy, I just saw the "download all" button at the bottom right hand corner. So my question is resolved.
     
    #10 ring0_event, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2016
  11. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Just to wrap up this amusing episode with some conclusions (and more questions)...turning on automatic updates in iTunes allowed iTunes to download locally to disk the IPA files of NEW app purchases (free or not), but not that outstanding deficit of apps not downloaded locally *before* I had turned on automatic downloads in iTunes.

    So to sum up (I think it holds even for my ancient iTunes 12.1.3 at home, and my other newer version of iTunes 12.4.1.6):

    Conclusions:
    a) Going to the Account->Purchased (or login name->purchased on older iTunes), one can download manually the app IPA files from the store to the local library. At least I think it's from the store and not from the device- OLD apps on my phone but no longer in the store do not appear in this view (testing now on a separate test machine where I had no backup/app download history till this week- at home I hope they should appear).
    b) Turning on automatic updates in iTunes allows one to keep the local store of app IPA files up to date from that moment onward, when one starts iTunes with the iDevice plugged in (Edit->Preferences->Store, select auto download for apps). I guess it downloads from the store and not the device (this case I cannot prove the source, but I guess Apple would keep it consistent).

    So I guess that all app backups are done *from the store*, which means one should do this often or have no way to restore old apps withdrawn from the store. So my never-ending saga of questions continues:

    Questions:
    a) Is it true that since iOS 9 one can never backup apps from the device anymore, and it's always from the app store? If so, very regular app backups should be done via the iTunes automatic update option, lest one lose an app forever if it be withdrawn from the app store.
    b) If the local application storage is up to date, WILL iTunes use it during a restore operation (and restore old apps not in the app store, as it used to do in iOS8), or not care about the local application storage, and always go to the app store, thus making sure that old apps backed up locally but not in the app store will be lost forever?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  12. ring0_event

    ring0_event Member
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    Just to wrap up this amusing episode with some conclusions (and more questions)...turning on automatic updates in iTunes allowed iTunes to download locally to disk the IPA files of NEW app purchases (free or not), but not that outstanding deficit of apps not downloaded locally *before* I had turned on automatic downloads in iTunes.

    So to sum up (I think it holds even for my ancient iTunes 12.1.3 at home, and my other newer version of iTunes 12.4.1.6):

    Conclusions:
    a) Going to the Account->Purchased (or login name->purchased on older iTunes), one can download manually the app IPA files from the store to the local library. At least I think it's from the store and not from the device- OLD apps on my phone but no longer in the store do not appear in this view (testing now on a separate test machine where I had no backup/app download history till this week- at home I hope they should appear).
    b) Turning on automatic updates in iTunes allows one to keep the local store of app IPA files up to date from that moment onward, when one starts iTunes with the iDevice plugged in (Edit->Preferences->Store, select auto download for apps). I guess it downloads from the store and not the device (this case I cannot prove the source, but I guess Apple would keep it consistent).

    So I guess that all app backups are done *from the store*, which means one should do this often or have no way to restore old apps withdrawn from the store. So my never-ending saga of questions continues:

    Questions:
    a) Is it true that since iOS 9 one can never backup apps from the device anymore, and it's always from the app store? If so, very regular app backups should be done via the iTunes automatic update option, lest one lose an app forever if it be withdrawn from the app store.
    b) If the local application storage is up to date, WILL iTunes use it during a restore operation (and restore old apps not in the app store, as it used to do in iOS8), or not care about the local application storage, and always go to the app store, thus making sure that old apps backed up locally but not in the app store will be lost forever?

    Thanks for any help.
     

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