Best way to restore backups to new iPhones in a low-bandwidth scenario


(Neil Laubenthal) #1

My wife and I each have an iPhone 6s (plus in my case) synced to our individual MBPs…all have up to date OS, iTunes, and applications on the phone. Each laptop has a somewhat out of date (since iTunes abandoned application management) Mobile Applications folder and each laptop has iMazing2 installed.

We live in our RV full time…and hence bandwidth is limited and costly.

What I’m trying to do is figure out the best way to replace our phones with the soon to be released models without having to download all applications again from the App Store. I’m having trouble figuring out the best way even after googling and discussions with the iMazing2 support folks but here’s what I think I know so far.

I can use iTunes to restore the backup of the old phone to the new one…but since it doesn’t manage apps anymore all that will get put on the new phone is home screen layout and what apps are installed then all apps will get downloaded from the App Store.

I can use iMazing2 to clone the old phone to the new one but it’s not clear whether the new phone will get the current versions apps cloned from the old phone, the out of date versions from the iTunes Mobile Applications folder, or the either old (or current if I import the apps into iMazing2 and then update them in it’s library from the App Store) or current versions of the apps from iMazing2’s library.

Has anybody tried this since the death of iTunes app management…does this just work like a lot of Apple stuff does or am I just one of those edge cases that have limited bandwidth and fall out of the mainstream of device upgrading?

Any great ideas appreciated…so far the best option appears to be going the iMazing2 clone route but import and update the apps in its library before doing the hardware upgrade.


(Adam Engst) #2

I fear it’s impossible to know if there’s any way to do this given that we don’t know what variables the new iPhones will introduce.

Seems like a visit to a Starbucks or local library or other place with Wi-Fi would be the simplest.


(Neil Laubenthal) #3

I’m afraid you might be right…although I would not expect any new variables with the new iPhones to be an issue. I’ve got some additional question into the iMazing folks based on the latest update to their app…if I figure anything out I’ll post a followup for archival purposes and if anybody else has a similar difficulty.

It’s just that with 30 or so GB of apps on the phone we’re still talking awhile to get everything downloaded again…we’ll be back down at our winter location before we upgrade so I can probably visit one of our friends there with a six pack and sit around for awhile while things download if I have to.

I think that the iMazing folks are working on being able to do this…and I keep wondering what Apple was thinking when they took app management out of iTunes without providing a replacement. Fast and/or unlimited bandwidth is frequently not available out away from the city even for those that live in a sticks and bricks house. I can see why they might want to reduce the footprint of iTunes as many people complain that it’s bloated…but they should have provided an alternative app management structure or application. They do have Apple Configurator 2 but it doesn’t do the job.


(Dennis Swaney) #4

Neil,

I use iTunes 12.6.4.3 which still has app management. While I also have iMazing 2, I use iTunes 12.6.4.3 because of its exquisite way you can sort, rearrange, combine into folders, etc. on your computer. To do the same thing on your iPhone is a very cumbersome, hit-or-miss job. I don’t know why Apple made it harder to do app sorting. I’ve suggested to DigiDNA that they add the app sorting capability to a future version of iMazing 2.


(Neil Laubenthal) #5

I gave serious consideration to keeping that version of iTunes instead of updating but was concerned about the lack of security updates and the lack of any real statement from Apple that it would be supported long term. I wonder if I can downgrade long enough to do the phone hardware swap or if something in prefs or library database or whatever prevents you from doing that. It might even be worth installing High Sierra on another partition and updating it to the last version of iTunes to support apps…and keep that around for upgrades…could even do it in a VM I guess but I’ve got extra drives I can use. Simple to copy the homegirls fro my wife’s and my laptops over and upgrade the phone then switch back to the up to date macOS.

I wonder if there are any hidden pitfalls to the extra bootable drive idea…


#6

If I remember correctly, removing the App Store/app management was a requirement to get iTunes into the Windows Store. Windows users had to jump through hoops to download it before it was included.

I agree that Apple should have provided an alternative. It shouldn’t be that difficult for them.


(Dennis Swaney) #7

Neil, don’t forget the sunset of 32-bit apps. I’d make sure only 64-bit apps are installed on all iDevices to preclude any problems.


(Dennis Swaney) #8

Where did Apple say that? They only said they were decluttering iTunes by removing the iOS Apps.

They could have done it the same way they did iBooks and the iBooks Store by making a separate iOS Apps application for MacOS.


#9

romad
Dennis Swaney

    September 11

MMTalker:
f I remember correctly, removing the App Store/app management was a requirement to get iTunes into the Windows Store. Windows users had to jump through hoops to download it before it was included.

I agree that Apple should have provided an alternative. It shouldn’t be that difficult for them.

Where did Apple say that? They only said they were decluttering iTunes by removing the iOS Apps.

I did a quick Google and got a ton of results. This was the first one:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/12/16298988/apple-itunes-desktop-update-removes-app-store

It’s highly unlikely that Apple would ever make a direct statement that they are gutting a highly popular and frequently used feature from one of their most profitable apps to kiss Microsoft’s derrière.


(Al Varnell) #10

Configurator 2, free from Apple is what I use for this. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apple-configurator-2/id1037126344

-Al-


(Dennis Swaney) #11

That is just a WAG from the article author.

True (especially since they don’t need $150 million nowadays). :grinning:


(gastropod) #12

Neil Laubenthal wrote: " I gave serious consideration to keeping that version of iTunes instead of updating but was concerned about the lack of security updates and the
lack of any real statement from Apple that it would be supported long term."

They didn’t really make it available for mere individuals, but for businesses and education who already have work flows that rely on app support in iTunes and don’t want to change that. That’s no guarantee that they’ll keep it for the long term, but they did put out at least one update since they released it. Wait to decide until a while after the announcements to make sure that 10.6.n (and your preferred OS version!) will still support the newest hardware, but if it does, that would give you at least a year (if iOS 13 breaks it) to figure out an acceptable alternative. That will be a bit too soon to hope for SpaceX’s Starlink though…

I’ll be furious if the 10.6.n solution does vanish, because though I have better net than you get on the road (slow DSL), it could still take me more than a week to restore any one device because so many of my apps are huge multimedia ‘books’.


(Dennis Swaney) #13

Unfortunately, that application is not for ordinary individuals like the iTunes feature. From the beginning of its Help page:

“About Apple Configurator”

“Apple Configurator makes it easy to deploy iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV devices in your school or business.”

I looked at using it but discovered it required more knowledge and experience than I have even after managing iDevices for the last 10+ years. That must be why it has a 62% NEGATIVE rating, versus 35% positive and 5% neutral ratings.


(Adam Engst) #14

Yeah, Configurator is not meant for average users by any stretch.


(Al Varnell) #15

I didn’t have any difficulty using it to manage my iPhone 7 and iPad Pro and have no previous experience managing an iDevice fleet.

-Al-


(Dennis Swaney) #16

:rofl: Well, Al, I have a larger “fleet”: 3 iPhones, 2 iPads, and an iPod. iTunes worked just fine for me and thousands of others being simple and elegant. As long as iTunes 12.6.4.3 works, I’ll continue to use it with iMazing 2 as backstop.


(Dennis Swaney) #17

Yes and No. While it is TARGETED at enterprise & education, ANYONE (even “mere individuals”) can download and use the software.

BTW, another thing is that while Apple created the Configurator app for users of MacOS 10.12 and above, iTunes 12.6.4.3 is the only Apple app that works with MacOS 10.11.


(Al Varnell) #18

No, Apple created Configutor 2 long before macOS 10.12 was even released. I don’t recall the exact version number, but I do have an older version that works when I’m running 10.11 and I believe the AppStore even provided that after the 10.12 version came out.

-Al-


(Neil Laubenthal) #19

All my 32 bit apps are gone.

I tried reinstalling the older version of iTunes that does apps but it complained about my iTunes.itl file being from a newer version of iTunes and would not open it. So I guess unless the folks at iMazing have a solution I will just have to find some fast unmetered WiFi and sit there awhile while all the apps download. Bummer.


(Al Varnell) #20

Delete iTunes.itl and it will be regenerated the next time you launch iTunes.