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Backups (a reminder)

March 18, 2017 Comments off

I am posting this again, because I keep getting requests for help from users who simply aren’t backing up their data (you know who you are).

Let’s say your device is wiped. If you care about your data, how are you going to get it back? When did you last back it up and where is your backup stored? If the answer to these questions is “not recently” or “on my device”, your data is simply NOT protected, perhaps gone forever. You alone are responsible for ensuring that your data is safely backed up and stored off your device. This applies across every device and app you own and care about, not just my apps.

The following is a repeat post …

“My son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter has somehow deleted your app from my iPhone/iPad. I restored it from the AppStore but all my data is gone. Can you help get it back?”

“I have been having problems with my iPhone/iPad. I took it to the Apple Store and they reset it. When I restored my purchases, my app data is gone. Can you help … etc”.

Surprisingly these are fairly common support requests (certainly once per month), and sadly for these users the answer is not always good news.

Apple’s iTunes backup(s) might help, but they are somewhat unreliable (IMHO). What’s more, since they only store a single backup per device(!), chances are your data is already gone. This is why I added backup support to each of my apps very early on (2010, if not 2009).

If you haven’t ever used this simple feature, then you are seriously at risk of losing your data. Yet using it is trivial …

Account Tracker Pro supports automatic backups – turn on iCloud (or Dropbox) in the settings (*), set the backup frequency (daily, weekly … etc) and you are all set.

Account Tracker (for iOS) supports manual backups with reminders. Turn on iCloud (or Dropbox) in the settings (*), set the frequency and when the reminder fires, you can back up with a single tap (well ok, three in total).

Meter Readings and Hill Lists support automatic backups too. Turn it on in the settings, and if your data changes (e.g. you add a reading or an ascent), a new backup is made when you close the app, keeping the three most recent.

If you aren’t using backups at the moment and (I assume) you value your data, PLEASE turn this feature on ASAP.

* note that backing up alone will not protect you from either of the scenarios mentioned at the top. You need to make sure your backups are exported off your device, either to iCloud, Dropbox or (e.g.) by email.

Meter Readings 5.1 now available

April 18, 2017 Leave a comment

mricon57 This update is necessary to migrate to some new APIs from Dropbox, as the old ones are being permanently disabled at the end of June 2017!

If you are currently using the Apps folder to store your backup files, you shouldn’t notice any difference. However if you are using the Root (i.e. top level) folder, you will need to re-link the app to Dropbox to continue using their service. Unfortunately files cannot be migrated automatically, but this is very easy to do from a computer. Please see my support site or get in touch if you need help.

If you think the torch functionality is not working, chances are you have disabled access to the camera in your device’s privacy settings (this is set per app). I now detect this and warn about it on the Settings screen.

Note that you now require iOS 8 or above. Older versions (of iOS and my app) will continue to work, but you will no longer get updates.

Dropbox migration – more details

April 18, 2017 Leave a comment

dropboxFurther to my previous post about changes to Dropbox support, the APIs I have been using until now are being deprecated at the end of June 2017. To continue using Dropbox after this date, you will need to update each of my apps to the following versions …

  • Meter Readings v5.1 (now available)
  • Account Tracker and Account Tracker PRO v5.3 (May)
  • Hill Lists v5.2 (towards the end of June as I am waiting for the next database update)

If you are not using Dropbox in my apps, there is nothing to do and you can ignore this post. 🙂

If you are stuck or don’t quite understand what I am saying here, please get in touch!

Root vs Apps Folder

As a reminder there are (or were!) two levels of access to Dropbox, the Root (or top level) folder, or a subfolder called Apps.

The Apps folder was introduced by Dropbox many years ago to clean up storing files in your Dropbox space, especially when you might be using dozens (if not 100s) of apps.

There is a subfolder below the Apps folder for each app, in my case Account Tracker, Account Tracker Pro, Hill Lists or Meter Readings.

Re-Linking the App to Dropbox

If you currently use Dropbox and have linked my existing app to the Apps folder, things should continue to work, even syncing in Account Tracker and Account Tracker PRO.

However if you are using the Root (or top level) Dropbox folder, you will see a warning when you first run the new app. You will need to re-link the app to Dropbox. This is done from the Settings screen in my app.

Copying your Backup Files (Mac)

After you update and re-link the app to Dropbox, if you go to the Backups screen, your files will appear to be missing. This is because the app can no longer see your old folder to copy your files automatically (a Dropbox limitation). To copy your files manually, I would recommend using Finder on your Mac.

Navigate to your old folder (either the top level Dropbox folder, or possibly a sub folder called AccountTracker, HillLists or MeterReadings), select all of your backups files by Command clicking each one, then type Command c (at the same time) to copy.

Now navigate to your Apps folder, then one of Account Tracker, Account Tracker Pro, Hill Lists or Meter Readings. Type Command v to paste (i.e. copy) your selected files.

Once done, the updated app should be able to see your files again from the Backups screen. Once you have confirmed this (please check carefully!), you can remove your old folder and files.

Copying your Backup Files (Windows and iOS)

If you are using Windows, the process is more or less the same. Use File Explorer instead of Finder, and use the Ctrl key instead of the Command key.

You can also use the Dropbox (iOS) app to copy your files, however it looks like you would need to do this one at a time. Using a computer is far easier.

A Final Word on Syncing in Account Tracker

If you are using Account Tracker or Account Tracker PRO, and you are syncing over Dropbox, this should continue to work but only if you are using the Apps folder.

If you are using the Root (or top level) folder, simply disable syncing, follow the migration steps above, then re-enable syncing.

If in doubt, please get in touch.

Changes to Dropbox support (coming soon)

March 18, 2017 Comments off

At the end of June 2017, Dropbox will be deprecating the (v1) APIs I use to interact with their service, i.e. listing folder contents, copying files to/from Dropbox … etc. I will therefore be making updates to each of my apps to migrate to their new (v2) APIs.

The main change is that they will no longer support a single app accessing both the root (top level) folder and the Apps (sub)folder, I would have to submit separate copies of my apps to support both. I have no plans to do this as it is overkill, so all users will be required to use the Apps folder instead. This is a much tidier way of organising your files, as a single Apps folder will contain sub-folders for each of your apps. It is the way to go!

There will be a little bit of disruption for users currently using Dropbox, especially those linked to the Root folder. More details will be posted when I migrate each app.

This change will also allow me to add Dropbox support to my Mac apps.

Account Tracker (PRO) 5.2.2 now available

March 14, 2017 Comments off

help Added support for syncing account and group deletions, i.e. these actions are now part of normal syncing. Note that if you are making radical changes to your data, I recommend that you disable syncing altogether, make the changes then set it up again.

Fixed an issue that caused the app to appear slow for a very small number of users.

Added a workaround for an iOS bug that caused PDF reports on the iPhone 7/7+ and iPad Pro 9.7″ to show as black rectangles (instead of the usual graphs).

Getting Started with Account Tracker for Mac

March 5, 2017 Comments off

atmac-64x64Account Tracker for Mac is not a standalone Mac app. It needs access to your data on iOS, and for that you need to be running Account Tracker PRO (for iOS), or the basic version of Account Tracker (iOS) if you previously bought the Personal Sync upgrade.

If you have not enabled iCloud syncing on iOS, make sure you turn on iCloud in the settings and then enable Syncing (just below it). An iOS device must be your PRIMARY sync device, clearly the one with your most up-to-date data.

Note that Dropbox or Family sync is not yet supported.

On the Mac …

Go to System Preferences then iCloud. Make sure you are logged in to the same account as on iOS, and that iCloud Drive is enabled. Under Options ensure that Account Tracker is there and enabled too.

Now run the app, and select Enable Syncing at the first prompt.  If you see a popup that says Step 2/5, your PRIMARY device is not yet visible to your Mac. This can sometimes take a minute or two (select retry periodically).

When you see the Step 3/5 popup, your PRIMARY is visible and your Mac has made itself known to iCloud.

Back on your PRIMARY (iOS) device …

Make sure Account Tracker (PRO) is running in the foreground (don’t let the screen go to sleep as that effectively closes the app too!). Eventually (after a minute or so) you will see the step 4/5 popup. You Mac has been seen and you can start the initial sync.

Back on your Mac …

Eventually (after a minute or so) the previous (step 3/5) popup is automatically dismissed and you will see step 5/5 where the initial sync has completed. You can then select OK to continue.

At this stage the Mac is set up and you will be prompted for your PIN (if enabled) or your data.

I recommend closing the app at this stage (Command-Q) as this causes the app to make an initial backup (behind the scenes).

Re-launch the app and you will simply be presented with the PIN entry screen (if enabled) or your data.

Stuck on Step 2/5?

Please check out the following …

1. On iOS, in the main settings app under iCloud, make a note of the account you are signed in to.
2. Check that iCloud Drive is ON and that Accounts or Accounts Pro is listed and enabled.
3. Under storage then manage storage then my app, check that your backup files and sync file(s) are listed. Make a note of the total storage used.
4. On your Mac, under System Preferences then iCloud, check you are using the same account as in 1.
5. Check that iCloud Drive is ON, and under Options that Account Tracker is listed and enabled.
6. Under Manage, click on my app and check that the total storage used is the same as in 3.

If all of these are ok, please get in touch.

Stuck on Step 3/5?

Your Mac can see your iOS device(s), but it is waiting for the initial sync. To start this, run Account Tracker (PRO) on iOS and wait for it to see your Mac (this is step 4/5). Don’t let your device go to sleep while waiting!

If step 4 never happens (or if it does but the step 3/5 popup never disappears), I suggest you cancel the Mac popup and close the app. Then disable syncing and iCloud (in my app, not in the settings app!) on all iOS devices and set up your primary device again (re-enable iCloud and turn on syncing).

If this doesn’t fix your issue, please get in touch.

User Guide …

The app itself should be fairly intuitive to use, however please do take the time to read the Help text (from the Help menu at the top of the screen). This is also repeated here.

Account Tracker for Mac now available

March 5, 2017 Comments off

atmac-64x64I am pleased to announced the general availability of Account Tracker for Mac (version 5.2.2).

It supports two-way syncing with your iOS app (initially over iCloud), letting you view, edit and manage your data on the bigger screen of your Mac. You can also add and bulk edit transactions and easily reconcile your accounts. Changes are automatically synced back to your iOS devices on close.

Note that this is NOT a standalone Mac app!  It doesn’t really do anything unless you have Account Tracker PRO (for iOS) acting as a PRIMARY (sync) device. The basic version of Account Tracker (iOS) will also work, but only if you previously bought the Personal Sync upgrade.

Before upgrading and setting it up (see my next post), I recommend making a new backup on iOS and exporting that off your device, e.g. by using iCloud (*), Dropbox or simply emailing it to yourself.

* if using automatic syncing in Account Tracker PRO, note that only your most recent backups are saved to iCloud. Better to email yourself a copy instead, so you always have a copy of your data before you started syncing to/from the Mac.