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How Does iCloud Saving Actually Work?

06-23-2013, 08:34 AM
#1
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 36
How Does iCloud Saving Actually Work?

So, I've been at the storage limit of my iPhone 4S for the better part of two years. It's resulted in a constant juggling and reorganizing of games, and a lot of questions as to whether an unfinished game, or a game with high replay value or previous time investment, is worth the space over a promising new game.

Unfortunately, space has become packed so tight that I cannot even update most of my current apps without deleting something, and after accidentally hitting "update all" one fateful morning, I've been unable to play some of my largest games (such as The Bard's Tale) because clearing up the 3-4 gigs it needs to update is too daunting a task. Now, I feel it's finally time to hop on the iCloud bandwagon to clear up some space.

The question for me, though, is: how does the damned iCloud service even work for saving game files?

My understanding is that the long list of apps that are listed in "Backup" aren't actually given save files that will restore on an app-by-app basis; these are merely apps that will have data restored if I do a full restore on the phone. Instead, the apps listed in "Documents and Data" (The Bard's Tale, Infinity Blade II, and a handful of others) have actual save files--but how can I be sure they will remain saved to iCloud if I delete them from my only device? Am I just sort of throwing caution to the wind, here, or is there any way to guarantee that Documents and Data info (which I'm assuming is save data for games) will restore saved progress if you delete the game from your one and only iOS device?
06-23-2013, 01:43 PM
#2
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 651
It sounds to me like you're mixing up two different things - iCloud backups of your phone and iCloud syncing for saved games.

iCloud backups are an alternative to iTunes backups (and one I wouldn't use because you'll lose games that have been withdrawn from the App Store). If you restore from this then your whole phone will be back to how it was when you last created a backup. (Minus any apps that have been withdrawn). Using this to make space would only be good as long as you don't make any more backups. When you do you'd lose all info about any games that you've uninstalled.

iCloud game saves are different. Support for this needs to be built in by the developer. IF a game supports this then you should be able to uninstall a game for any period of time and then if you reinstall you should get your game save back. Don't absolutely rely on it though. I bet it sometimes doesn't work.

A third option - though probably not 100% reliable - is to use a file explorer app on your computer (like ifunbox) to back up the relevant folders of your game and then keep that. When you eventually reinstall the game the. You can just transfer the data back on with the same app and you'll be back where you were. I've used this method to transfer save games from my iPhone to my iPad.

06-23-2013, 05:24 PM
#3
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 36
Thanks; that's kind of what I figured, but it's good to confirm.

Is there any way to know which devs and/or games support iCloud save syncing? Is it safe to assume that, if a game has a separate file in the "Documents and Data" section of iCloud, that it offers iCloud syncing, as a general rule? That narrows the list of possible games to about a dozen, but some (such as ARC Squadron, Infinity Blade II, and Bard's Tale) both take up lots of space and have taken up a lot of my time (without regret).
06-24-2013, 05:17 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senile Felines View Post
Is it safe to assume that, if a game has a separate file in the "Documents and Data" section of iCloud, that it offers iCloud syncing, as a general rule?
Sounds reasonable. I can't imagine why a game would have iCloud files if it doesn't offer iCloud syncing.
06-24-2013, 05:48 PM
#5
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,413
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancj View Post
Sounds reasonable. I can't imagine why a game would have iCloud files if it doesn't offer iCloud syncing.
It does sound reasonable but I'd recommend caution. I've had at least a couple of games that appeared there that didn't use iCloud for syncing save data. What sort of documents and/or data they are actually storing in the cloud is a mystery to me, but I know there are exceptions.
06-24-2013, 06:33 PM
#6
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 36
I guess the worst that could happen is that I am forced to--gasp--play through The Bard's Tale again. I'll give it a try... Thanks a ton!
06-25-2013, 12:44 AM
#7
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Principality of Zeon
Posts: 54
I would be nice to see Apple forcing developers who use the feature of syncing the "game saves" via iCloud to mark it on their game's App Store page. Something like when using GameCenter so users can be assured that their saves are backed in the cloud. Unfortunately I don't think it will happen and even I can understand that sometime you (as a developer) don't want to sync saves because of various reasons...
06-25-2013, 12:58 AM
#8
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
right,storing in the cloud is a mystery to me, but I know there are exceptions.