[RESOLVED] Backup won’t complete

Hi all,

I’m having trouble with the backups not completing in my app. I’m soon to upgrade my phone, but without a backup, I’m worried I’ll lose my data.

Backups had previously been working, but I noticed that they had stopped working. I kept my phone plugged in and stopped it going to sleep overnight but still without success. I toggled the backup switch which then told me it had deleted all the existing backups, which was a shock. And since then it still gives me a message about “first backup incomplete”

Will I be able to switch to a new phone? Is the data stored in iCloud? Also, how can I make the backups complete?


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Hi Cameron! I recommend doing the same again - plugging your phone in, leaving Arc in the foreground with screen auto lock turned off, and with a reliable wifi connection.

For moving to a new phone, it’s safe to do so as long as your current phone has iOS’s normal iCloud backups turned on, and set up the new phone by restoring it from iCloud backup during the phone’s setup process, as normal. Arc’s databases are also backed up as part of the phone’s built in iCloud backups system (and also in iTunes backups).

Arc’s own separate backup system is a redundant system, to give extra protection. Having more than one backup destination is an important fundamental of backup systems.

And Arc’s own backups have the extra benefit that they can survive the app being deleted. With normal iPhone iCloud backups, if you delete an app, it’s backed up settings and data is also removed from the iCloud backups. But deleting Arc doesn’t delete Arc’s own backups. So those redundant backups give that extra layer of protection.

But back on topic of how to get the backup finished in a more timely fashion: yeah, what you did last time was the right approach. Arc runs the backups while the app is in the foreground and plugged in to power and connected to wifi. So giving the app more time like that will help the backups catch up again.

I’ve moved this discussion to the Known Issues category, because it comes up a lot.

I should also mention that I’m working on replacing the backup system with a new one, that’s iCloud Drive based instead of iCloud CloudKit based. The new system allows me to better manage the size of the backups, to make sure they take up much less iCloud storage space. And also allows me to structure the backups so that they can be done much faster than is possible with the current iCloud CloudKit based system.

Building the new backup system unfortunately is taking my time away from working on Arc Mini and Arc v4, which sucks. But it has to be done - this slow backups issue, along with the “backups are too big” issue, needs to be resolved. Arc v4 will only make the backups even larger, because of all the new features in v4, so it’s something that should be got done first, before v4 goes out into the wild.


Matt, I tried keeping the phone awake and plugged a few times and nothing worked. I even reinstalled my iOS (that’s how much Arc app means to me), tried it again with all the latest updates, still no go.

Tho, briefly, I noticed it saying ‘backing up…’ when I first started it after the reinstall. But then it went away.

Tho I think there’s other stuff going on messing this up, as this iCloud backup stopped when the app tried to update its database. which hasn’t completed (but i’ll post that separately).

Hi @cschick!

Arc’s database(s) on your phone are very large - often larger than 1 GB. And the backups in CloudKit (iCloud) can be considerably larger - as large as 20 GB or more! Which means the backups can take a very long time to finish, the first time the setting is turned on.

As long as your phone is plugged in to power, connected to wifi, and you aren’t travelling at the time, Arc will automatically start and continue the backups when the app is in the foreground. The backups will also be automatically started by iOS when the app is in the background, although iOS doesn’t do this often enough nor allow the backups to run long enough in the background, hence Arc also starting the backups automatically itself when the app is in the foreground.

It’s best not to fiddle with reinstalling anything - Arc doesn’t get into “broken” states, it just gets held back by iOS’s energy restrictions. So turning things on/off, reinstalling things, etc, won’t tend to help, and can often set you back to the start rather than helping to move forward.

The best path forward, if you want the backups to finish as quickly as possible, is to plug the phone in to power, make sure you’re connected to reliable wifi, turn off screen auto lock in your phone’s Settings -> Display & Brightness -> and set Auto Lock to Never, then leave Arc in the foreground overnight. That will give Arc many hours to get as much of the backups done as possible.

Depending on how far behind the backups are, it may take several nights for them to catch up, using this method. Which is why I’m building a new backup system that doesn’t rely on iCloud CloudKit! (It’s not fast enough, and uses up too much iCloud storage space).

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Yeah, tried all that stuff. Let’s see if we can lick the dB updating hang - methinks that’s holding everything up. Sending you email on that, next.