Back in January, I wrote a post about my experiences with PkgBackup and iBye. (My advice was to give PkgBackup a shot, and not to splurge on iBye just yet).
Some time has passed since then, and there have been updates on both apps, so I thought I’d give another update seeing as how the original post gets quite a bit of traffic and discussion.
Backing up your iPhone is rather easy when you adhere to Apple’s rules. Just connect your device to your computer and iTunes does the rest. If you’re like me, and want to do more with your iDevice, you might choose to jailbreak. That it when it is absolutely imperative that you read up on what it takes to backup your 3rd party apps and modifications. You can backup manually (via SSH), or you can invest in an app to help you with the task.
iBye and PkgBackup now both support Dropbox, and that is why I was most into these two apps. It’s very convenient to have your backups “in the cloud”. But the problem with Dropbox, in my experience, is that data transfer is extremely slow and tends to time out if you have a lot of files to backup.
With iBye, I started an AppStore Backup to Dropbox, but after 20 minutes, I guess the request timed out and the app crashed back to SpringBoard. I’m not putting this on iBye necessarily, but it’s really frustrating. I want to hit one button, have my stuff backup, and that’s it. With iBye, you have to go through the Application list (Contacts, SMS, Notes etc.) and prompt iBye to backup that one up individually. It will then have to finish that slow transfer process before you can move on the next app.
PkgBackup ended up flashing me some Dropbox memory error almost right away when it got to my Photos/Video. (Caveat: I also use the PhotoAlbums+ app, which PkgBackup doesn’t support) Now, I’ve emailed the dev of this app before and he’s informed me that the memory error is likely due to the fact I use PhotoAlbums+. This is also why I recommended PkgBackup over iBye. You will get very quick support from the developer. That’s always a plus when you plunk down money on an app; especially one that is charged with such an important task.
My solution was to find a way to separately backup my photos/video, so iBye and PkgBackup can work better. For that, I turned to the PhotoSync App, which you can get for $1.99 in the AppStore. I configured it so that it sends the backup into my computer’s Dropbox folder. That way, my Photos/Video still end up in the cloud, but I don’t have to deal with the limitations of Dropbox’s API when used in mobile device apps.
This worked great; especially for PkgBackup! I was able to edit the settings so that when I hit “Backup”, it will do the default AppStore apps I wanted, which now means everything except my Camera Roll/Video. The backup went smoothly. It finished very quickly, and with no errors!
iBye was a different situation. To my knowledge, there isn’t a way to say “I want to backup all the AppStore apps, but not my Photos”. So, even after I changed the way I backed up my Photos/Video, I still have to go through, individually, in order to backup AppStoreData. Given how efficient PkgBackup is with its configuration, this was a real letdown. And even the App by App method takes a great deal longer than PkgBackup, even though both are going to Dropbox. Also, I still haven’t been able to get iBye to backup via FTP. Sometimes, it looks like it’s working, only to fail/crash after a few minutes. Biggest bummer of them all, in my opinion.
So, after I changed my process, I still came away wanting to recommend PkgBackup to others. Not only because of configuration options and ease of use, but also because of responsiveness of the developer. I also like that PkgBackup backs up your hidden apps and Categories folders. (I’m aware that I might be the only person still using Categories instead of the Native Folders. What can I say? I like having my own custom folder icon and not that crap icon Apple displays for Folders). Reorganizing my folders after a restore is a most time consuming process, so to be able to have that backed up, along with everything else, is a plus.
Now this review is simply on the backup process itself. I’ve still not done a restore. That will be the ultimate test. And until that time comes, I will continue to backup with both PkgBackup and iBye, so that I may finally complete this review after a restore.
If you’ve actually read through all my babbling, in order to see this line, then I salute you. But, more importantly, I hope my experiences have helped you, even if just a little bit!