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iPhone backup and protection during iOS 5 upgrade
May 18, 2012 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Augggh. I'm being forced to upgrade my iPhone to iOS 5 (critical app requires it). Questions inside -- most importantly, can I completely opt out of iCloud?

1. I have zero interest in cloud storage for this device. If I can't globally opt out of iCloud during the upgrade, how can I avoid the severe sync problems my friends have had with iCloud (like everything in a category of data disappearing and backups being erased along with the disappearance -- or losing all 3rd party apps)?

2. Currently I have Sync Apps de-selected in iTunes. If I select it, this dialog comes up: "Are you sure you want to sync apps? All existing apps and their data on the iPhone will be replaced with apps from this iTunes library." I click cancel because that's the opposite of what I want -- I want to keep my apps and especially their data intact as they are on the phone. What should I do here? I assume I should answer this question before upgrading to iOS 5?

3. I have an sms trail that's of enormous sentimental value, especially all the pictures sent back and forth in it. I don't see how to do backups to guarantee I won't lose this trail during an upgrade (no 3rd-party sms backup utility appears to back up images along with texts, and there are hundreds of images / thousands of text messages in this trail, so manually saving them is out of the question).

I'm currently running iOS 4.3.5 on an iPhone 4, non-jailbroken. Thank you for your help.
posted by lorimer to Technology (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I updated my iPod to iOS 5, and I have simply not signed into the iCloud.

As for the apps - I backup my purchased apps to iTunes, and then sync. That way, the apps on the ipod don't change, but I have a desktop backup. They are probably just warning you to do that (it's called "transfer purchased apps" and applies to free apps as well).
posted by jb at 9:12 AM on May 18, 2012


Thank you jb! I'm not understanding when in the process (and how) I can do the "transfer purchased apps" step.
posted by lorimer at 9:13 AM on May 18, 2012


Tap on Settings and iCloud. You can remove account information here, or tap the switches to turn off iCloud syncing on a per-app basis. You don't have to sync apps with iTunes in iOS, but you do want to do a backup, so that data can be put back after the update. I don't know what you'd do about SMS messages; I'm not positive if these are part of a backup.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2012


I'm not at my own computer right now - perhaps someone who is can check/clarify the steps.

My ipod does not sync automatically when I plug it in, even if iTunes is open. I believe that I right-click on the ipod icon on the left-side menu, and chose "transfer purchased apps" rather than sync.

I sync after that's done.

I'm sorry, I don't SMS as I don't have an iPhone. Is it possible to save the pictures to a gallery or another app within the phone?
posted by jb at 9:17 AM on May 18, 2012


I have zero interest in cloud storage for this device.

Okay, then don't sign up for iCloud when you install iOS 5. It will give you two choices: "Use iCloud" and "Don't Use iCloud." Pretty straightforward. You can still use the traditional iTunes sync method.

I'm not understanding when in the process (and how) I can do the "transfer purchased apps" step.

Connect your phone to your computer. Fire up iTunes. Right-click on your phone in the left sidebar and select "Transfer Purchases from lorimer's iPhone" (or whatever your device is called). See here for more.

I have an sms trail that's of enormous sentimental value, especially all the pictures sent back and forth in it

SMSs are backed up by iTunes and can be accessed independently, though the process is somewhat complicated.

There are programs like TouchCopy that make this process easier and also let you view backed-up MMS images.
posted by jedicus at 9:19 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be wary too, since iOS 5 is a serious install. It does a backup, wipes the whole iPhone, then reinstalls everything. Given that, if it was wiping out SMS history, you would hear a LOT of complaints about it.
posted by smackfu at 9:44 AM on May 18, 2012


You do hear a lot of complaints about SMS history being wiped. Just google [os 5 lose sms] or something similar. One hopes that having made a full manual backup via right-clicking would solve this via a manual restore, but people are also having issues with weird db-size limitation (15MB allowed for ALL texts [which I assume has to include mms content, because how could people fill 15MB with plain text?]) preventing long or image-heavy threads from displaying again.

I successfully transferred purchases (and have done manual screen caps of the app data I care about as well), thanks.

Thank you for the TouchCopy recommendation, but after several tries including a full system restart, it can't read my important thread (it successfully reads and displays short threads with no images, but consistently becomes non-responsive if it tries to read the long, image-filled thread I care about).

Do you know any alternatives to it that work for long threads? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't look like the process described in your "accessed independently" link could display binary data like images?
posted by lorimer at 11:20 AM on May 18, 2012


Do you know any alternatives to it that work for long threads?

You could try PhoneView if you're on a Mac.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't look like the process described in your "accessed independently" link could display binary data like images?

No, not easily.
posted by jedicus at 12:10 PM on May 18, 2012


You can forward SMS onesy-twosy or in bulk to an email address. I just forwarded a few including an image, and the image appeared in my email at seemingly full resolution.

Of course, that's not going to be useful for restoring them AS SMS to the phone, but it will save the data.
posted by chazlarson at 12:57 PM on May 18, 2012


If you're concerned about privacy, you should think about disabling Siri, too. I believe that Siri transfers quite a bit of personal information (contact names, at least) to Apple's servers, since all the actual processing happens server side.
posted by danielparks at 3:24 PM on May 18, 2012


you should think about disabling Siri, too

That's a potential issue for the future, but the iPhone 4 does not support Siri (at least at the moment), so it shouldn't be a problem for the Asker right now.
posted by jedicus at 3:55 PM on May 18, 2012


Thank you everyone. The upgrade went smoothly for the most part (did lose all 3rd-party apps, but had taken screenshots of all screens, so could put them back manually -- did not lose any other data).

I will try Phoneview, thanks.

chazlarson: how do you forward sms in bulk?
Do you mean that could be done for all messages in a thread at once?
posted by lorimer at 9:53 PM on May 20, 2012


You can't forward all in a thread at once; you'll need to tap on them individually.
  1. Open the thread.
  2. tap "Edit".
  3. Select the desired messages.
  4. tap "Forward".
  5. enter the email address, tap "Send".
You'll get all the messages and all the images, but the images will just be attached to the email; they won't be inline with the messages.

However, it is a way to save the conversation and images in preparation for the day that something goes wrong or your phone is lost or stolen or what have you.
posted by chazlarson at 12:22 PM on May 21, 2012


I meant to note that I just sent a thread of 50 messages via email. I don't know if there's an upper limit on how many messages one can forward.
posted by chazlarson at 12:23 PM on May 21, 2012


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