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iCloud and gaming: savegames/app documents are not retained upon deleting an app

06-08-2011, 07:28 AM
#1
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 3,166
iCloud and gaming: savegames/app documents are not retained upon deleting an app

Time fer some bad news, touch arcadians! But here's to the hope enough dissatisfaction with this issue might prompt a change:

One of the most exciting features of iOS 5/iCloud, for many gamers, is the idea that we might finally delete a game, and resume playing where we left off at a later date when we download the game again, since the save files are saved in the cloud.

It does not seem like we will be able to, unfortunately. Removing an app from your device under iOS 5 removes all the app-specific custom files (savegames, documents, etc) from the iCloud (in addition to removing them from your device in the traditional manner). While this might seem incredibly peculiar, it is, unfortunately, consistent with Apple's history of unwillingness to let us choose to retain app-specific data upon removing an app.

It seems like Apple never intended the iCloud to be permanent storage for save files and documents. iCloud still allows us to completely restore our data to a new device if the current device is stolen, lost or destroyed. And it does sync savefiles across different devices, but only as long as you do not remove the apps you want synced from any device.

So many times I've been out and about, realizing I need another gig for video recording, and only the fact that I am jailbroken and thus can manually backup my savefiles has allowed me to delete a large game and film on. For those a little more jailed and a little less broken, this must be a true bother sometimes.

This does cast a shadow over the recent TA article on iCloud. TA editors, perhaps mentioning this deficiency in the iCloud article might bring a little more attention to one of the great and few shortcomings of all time of iOS (Together with the 20 mb cap on App Store downloads over 3G, Apple seem bent on giving the jailbreak community reasons to live on )

I have little hope word will reach Apple and a change will be initiated (and possibly a little more hope that this app deletion behaviour will be changed along the winding beta road), but we self-proclaimed bleeding edge mobile computing users are nothing if not stubborn

Vocalist of Earthbridge and Neverlast
Game Center/OpenFeint/Plus+/[insert arbitrary game network, online character or multiplayer account here]: Ayjona

Last edited by Ayjona; 06-08-2011 at 07:52 AM.
06-08-2011, 07:33 AM
#2
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 1,502
. It seems like apple wants to make us think most of their customers have an ipod, ipad, iphone, and a Mac. Icloud is starting to look so much less appealing now. I really don't ever see myself owning more than one idevice and one mac at a time.

Currently Playing: Pocket RPG, Tentacle Wars, Oh My Heroes, Minigore 2, Mini Motor Racing, Eufloria, Swordigo

06-08-2011, 07:36 AM
#3
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 909
Judging from the news entitled "WWDC 2011: Game Developers Excited for iCloud" by Eli Hodapp at TouchArcade's homepage, I reckon there might still be hope. It really depends on the developers. They have the API to access iCloud, but they might be able to reroute it to a different server. So it might not work on most games, but some might have that feature in the future.

PS: after watching the video of the conference, I feel a strong, very strong, urge to migrate to Mac....
06-08-2011, 08:47 AM
#4
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 632
I think part of the problem in general might be versioning of saves. If I have v 1.0 of Galaxy on Fire 2, put the save in iCloud, delete the app, then after some months reinstall the app v 1.8, how will it know what to do with the v 1.0 save file? Seems there would be a significant burden on app developers to recognize this discrepancy and do some kind of behind the scenes save file update...

Still, this would be outside of Apple's control and if a developer doesn't upgrade the save properly, it will look like Apple's fault to the average consumer.
06-08-2011, 09:06 AM
#5
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Sweden
Posts: 3,166
Quote:
Originally Posted by injuwarrior View Post
. It seems like apple wants to make us think most of their customers have an ipod, ipad, iphone, and a Mac. Icloud is starting to look so much less appealing now. I really don't ever see myself owning more than one idevice and one mac at a time.
Likewise. The iPad, for example, is a wonderful device, but for me, having one defeats the purpose of going fully iPhone-mobile (my ongoing struggle to replace my computer completely, use my iPhone for all my digital needs, and thus never be tied down to anything weighting more than 137 g...).

However, you and I might be a minority in that regard, or soon to become one...


Quote:
Originally Posted by yongkykun View Post
Judging from the news entitled "WWDC 2011: Game Developers Excited for iCloud" by Eli Hodapp at TouchArcade's homepage, I reckon there might still be hope. It really depends on the developers. They have the API to access iCloud, but they might be able to reroute it to a different server. So it might not work on most games, but some might have that feature in the future.

PS: after watching the video of the conference, I feel a strong, very strong, urge to migrate to Mac....
Hmm, interesting idea, the devs using the API in a different context. Also, as I wrote above, perhaps this will indeed be rectified before the beta goes gold this autumn. Here's to hope, no matter how prone Apple are to not fulfilling our wilder flights of fanciful desire!

Quote:
Originally Posted by trystero View Post
I think part of the problem in general might be versioning of saves. If I have v 1.0 of Galaxy on Fire 2, put the save in iCloud, delete the app, then after some months reinstall the app v 1.8, how will it know what to do with the v 1.0 save file? Seems there would be a significant burden on app developers to recognize this discrepancy and do some kind of behind the scenes save file update...

Still, this would be outside of Apple's control and if a developer doesn't upgrade the save properly, it will look like Apple's fault to the average consumer.
Hmm, yes, that might just be the, or one of the, major reasons for this state of affairs. I'd still take this problematicus over jailbroken users being the only one able to back up app data, though.

(If introduced as an option through Settings, users such as my mom would never have to worry about clogging up their iDevice with old app-specific data, nor reinstalling and having incompatible saves.)

Vocalist of Earthbridge and Neverlast
Game Center/OpenFeint/Plus+/[insert arbitrary game network, online character or multiplayer account here]: Ayjona
06-08-2011, 10:14 AM
#6
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Italy
Posts: 2,850
Having the very same problem, I hope that Apple change this policy or at least let us choose to retain data on iCloud (in those 'free' 5 Gb) on app delete.

I was optimistic about that, seeing some shots from OS5 where you get the app Kb occupation AND the APPDATA occupation (so Apple CAN separate appdata from the app, if willing).

This could be good for 2 main reasons:

1) I have tons of games I already have finished that I keep on my iPhone 'just in case' (like a wonderful update that make me willing to go back to the game). I have almost 10 Gigs of those games...and sometimes I struggle to update big apps because I run out of space.
I would gladily get rid of everything if I could reinstall those later keeping my savegames.
I was optimistic seeing the app purchase history (AT LAST!!!) but recent iCloud news weren't that good.
BTW, I NEVER understood why developers do not put savegames in the 'accessible from iTunes' part of the app...like many app where you can put file in it (like Goodreader).
At least we could extract manually the savegames before deleting an app.

2) More than 1 iOS device.
I'm waiting to buy an iPad for my wife (and myself) till Apple sync the same appdata between devices. Like...I'm playing a game on my iPad...then I RESUME playing it on my iPhone.
The lack of sync is really detrimental to being a multy iOS device gamer (or generally app user).

I'm really hoping iCloud will be adopted by every dev and solve these problems, but seeing it requires at least an app update (was hoping OS5 sync appdata by default without any intervention nor new api), tonight I'll delete 10 gigs of apps...
06-08-2011, 10:29 AM
#7
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 1,502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitta View Post

1) I have tons of games I already have finished that I keep on my iPhone 'just in case' (like a wonderful update that make me willing to go back to the game). I have almost 10 Gigs of those games...and sometimes I struggle to update big apps because I run out of space.
I would gladily get rid of everything if I could reinstall those later keeping my savegames.
I was optimistic seeing the app purchase history (AT LAST!!!) but recent iCloud news weren't that good.
BTW, I NEVER understood why developers do not put savegames in the 'accessible from iTunes' part of the app...like many app where you can put file in it (like Goodreader).
At least we could extract manually the savegames before deleting an app.
If it means that much to you, you could download iphone backup extractor, and iphone explorer, both free software, no jailbreak required. The first will extract singe game saves from you latest itunes backup into folders. The latter will open you idevice like a hard drive while plugged in, and you can overwrite a game folder with the extracted one with the backup. Might be able to pull up the thread were another member gave the full details.

But having to install third party software for a game save is too much. I did it to get some save from a few idevices into my new touch when I got it, but I don't use them anymore.

Currently Playing: Pocket RPG, Tentacle Wars, Oh My Heroes, Minigore 2, Mini Motor Racing, Eufloria, Swordigo
06-08-2011, 10:38 AM
#8
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Italy
Posts: 2,850
Quote:
Originally Posted by injuwarrior View Post
If it means that much to you, you could download iphone backup extractor, and iphone explorer, both free software, no jailbreak required. The first will extract singe game saves from you latest itunes backup into folders. The latter will open you idevice like a hard drive while plugged in, and you can overwrite a game folder with the extracted one with the backup. Might be able to pull up the thread were another member gave the full details.

But having to install third party software for a game save is too much. I did it to get some save from a few idevices into my new touch when I got it, but I don't use them anymore.
Thank you!
I did use Phone Explorer in the past, but it keeps disconnecting like after 30 seconds, so I was able to save 3-4 gamesaves before getting bothered (I read it's a common problem, but I didn't search a lot).
I didn't knew backup extractor, I'll try it (before deleting the games).

And yes...probably all this it's a bit over the top for the pourpose (and shouldn't be).

Anyway, thank you for the input!!!
06-08-2011, 10:54 AM
#9
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 10,963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayjona View Post
It does not seem like we will be able to, unfortunately. Removing an app from your device under iOS 5 removes all the app-specific custom files (savegames, documents, etc) from the iCloud (in addition to removing them from your device in the traditional manner). While this might seem incredibly peculiar, it is, unfortunately, consistent with Apple's history of unwillingness to let us choose to retain app-specific data upon removing an app.
A possible recipe for disaster! It had better ask if you want to remove (like Game Center apps do) or you will...

1) Install game on iPhone, play, sync with cloud
2) Install game on iPad, sync with cloud, play
3) Decide you like the game better on your iPad, delete off the iPhone to save space
4) *POOF* goes your iCloud data, until you sync with your iPad...

I hate not being able to discretely save app data. Mega Props to games like The Quest which let you copy saves via iTunes File Sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickFalk View Post
Squids!?

Worst idea ever!
06-08-2011, 11:12 AM
#10
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayjona View Post
It seems like Apple never intended the iCloud to be permanent storage for save files and documents.
I was thinking this during the presentation. Almost everything they said about the iCloud hinted at it being more of a transportation device than anything else. It tranfers documents to and from various locations, only storing them temporarily in order to aid the ease of the transfer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by injuwarrior View Post
. It seems like apple wants to make us think most of their customers have an ipod, ipad, iphone, and a Mac. Icloud is starting to look so much less appealing now. I really don't ever see myself owning more than one idevice and one mac at a time.
What more could they do? They've already specifically stated the iCloud works with PCs (rather obviously as iTunes is available on Windows), so which other devices do you propose they support? Even if they wanted to support the likes of Android who's to say Google would allow it? The best Apple can do is make things as easy as possible for their customers, and as a business that's the one exact thing they should be doing.

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