iPhone back-up - How long to wait?
July 20, 2009 9:37 AM   Subscribe

iPhone Back-up Question - Why is it taking so long to back-up my iPhone 3G?

I have an iPhone 3G running v3.0. I bought the 16 GB phone but have only about 4 Gigs of stuff on the hard drive. The back-up phase of the Sync process now runs well over an hour and half and the gauge is only two thirds of the way across the screen. This is a recent problem. I used to be able to back-up in less than 30 minutes. It now takes so long I have had to give up twice and stop the process because I needed the phone for something.

Is this a normal amount of time to wait? Could my new problem be caused by one of the apps I've added? Should I just set it up before going to sleep and let it go? Will it keep backing-up if my MacBook goes to sleep?

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.
posted by birdwatcher to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried different a different USB port? I've found that when a USB port is failing, sometimes it'll fall back to USB 1.1 speeds before failing completely.

Also, is Time Machine running around the same time your iPhone is syncing? You may just be swamping your machine with disk reads.
posted by Oktober at 9:39 AM on July 20, 2009

One time this happened to me, and it was a single app that screwed everything up. In may case, it was SimCity. After three hours, the backup process was still running. I removed SimCity and everything worked fine. Too bad. It would have been fun to play SimCity.
posted by grumblebee at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2009

Mine takes less than 15 secs usually, so it's not a normal time. Maybe try to restore? Have you rebooted the computer or the phone lately? When my iPhone starts getting wonky, a good reboot seems to clear it up. Last Thursday my phone was stuck in sync mode and not doing anything, and a reboot of both fixed it.
posted by Mach5 at 9:43 AM on July 20, 2009

Best answer: Normal backup time for me is like Mach5's: about 20 seconds or so. However if it is a full restore/backup, like as a consequence of a firmware upgrade, it can take 30-40 minutes. I don't have any music on my phone yet but I do have around a gig of apps. So I'd guess something is wrong. Try switching cables, ports, adding/removing a hub, etc. Don't be afraid to go to the Apple store and get help.
posted by chairface at 10:10 AM on July 20, 2009

When I first bought my iPhone 3GS, the backup took the better part of an hour. Subsequent backups/synchronizations have been much quicker, usually under a minute.
posted by dfriedman at 10:17 AM on July 20, 2009

Helpful aside: if you are updating some contact or tunes or something on the iPhone, and you don't want to wait for the backup, you can click on the little x next to the backup progress bar and it will abort the backup and move on to synchronizing.

Useful if you just wanted to put a couple of photos on there before running out the door, etc.
posted by Aquaman at 10:55 AM on July 20, 2009

I think it's a known issue with the 3.0 update. I could be wrong, but I think the backup is stored incrementally -- every time you sync, only the changes you've made since last time are stored, so you don't really notice the time it takes. But with 3.0, they had to redo the entire backup, which takes freakin' forever. The one I did right after I updated took well over an hour, but now that it's done, it doesn't take any longer that usual.

Just let it run, but no, I wouldn't let your macbook go to sleep either.
posted by cgg at 11:23 AM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments so far. I stunned to hear of 15 second back-ups.

Mach5 - When you ask if I've rebooted, do you mean have I shut my phone off and turned it back on? Or do you mean have I done a full restore from my computer? I shut my phone off at least a couple times a week but I've never done a full restore from iTunes.

Oktober - No, I'm not running Time Machine.

Aquaman - Thanks, I knew how to stop the back-up. I should have mentioned that I hit the x button when I stopped and continued on to the sync functions.
posted by birdwatcher at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster: One more comment,

Oktober - I'll try a different USB port. However, I'm skeptical of that solution since my MacBook is less than 6 months old.
posted by birdwatcher at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2009

Apparently as of version 3.0, backup includes your 'Camera Roll', which it didnt before. If you have a ton of pics in the Camera Roll, this might be of interest. Seems like it works for some people, but not for others though...
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 11:53 AM on July 20, 2009

After I upgraded my iPhone to 3.0 my first sync took an absurdly long time. I don't know exactly how long because I stopped staring at it after 20 minutes and went to town without the phone. Subsequent syncs have been much more reasonable. Have you gotten all the way through your first post-3.0 sync? If so, and it's still taking a long time, I'd agree that something is wrong.
posted by PatoPata at 12:50 PM on July 20, 2009

This exact issue happened to me. I reset the phone to the factory settings, and I went back to 15 second back-ups.

After resetting, the phone automatically added back all of the apps I had on it. However, I did lose some app data (like a saved game, etc)
posted by Pants! at 1:31 PM on July 20, 2009

I noticed that if i had photo sync turned on, even if all the folders in "My Pictures" were unselected, syncs took forever (many, many pictures in directories). I subsequently made an iphone only directory, and changed the target directory to that iphone photo directory, that improved things significantly. (< 1min for sync)
posted by defcom1 at 6:35 PM on July 20, 2009

Response by poster: My sync-ing goes pretty quickly but I like the target directory idea. I'm also going to erase the Camera Roll pictures since I've already downloaded them to iPhoto. I don't want to try this back-up overnight so I'm going to give it a go during the day tomorrow. No matter how long it takes. I'll let you know how it turns out.
posted by birdwatcher at 7:07 PM on July 20, 2009

« Older Help me to not screw up a potential job offer   |   Powerbook: No Logo Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.