Backups

IMG_4207 The backups feature is essentially a more reliable way of backing up and exporting your data than iTunes itself. Should the worst happen, it is very easy to import and restore this data.

To make a backup, select Backup Now and an entry will be added to the list of files displayed. Backups are shown most recent first, and the date and time they were made is included in their names …

atYYYYMMDD@HHMMSS.atb

By selecting a backup you can export it by email or restore it. Selecting restore checks that the backup is valid, then it prompts you to install it. You can cancel at this stage, otherwise select Install and the backup will be restored. To delete a backup, swipe across it from left to right and select Delete.

Periodically you should get your backups off your device. There are many ways to do this: export by email (mentioned above), export by AirDrop, iTunes file sharing, iCloud or Dropbox.

To export a backup to a nearby devices using AirDrop, select it and choose Export by AirDrop. Choose a device and the file will be copied, prompting you to open my app/restore it.

To use iTunes, connect your device to your computer then select it under Devices in the left hand pane. At the top of the screen you will see tabs for Summary, Info … etc – select the Apps tab, scroll down to the File Sharing section and select Accounts. You will then see a list of your backup files on your device, from which you can copy them to your computer, or upload new files. If you have copied new files to your device, select the Refresh button at the top left of the screen to refresh the list of files.

If you have a Dropbox account and have enabled this in the settings, the list of files will also include those in your Dropbox folder. Selecting and restoring such a file will first copy it from Dropbox onto your device. In addition, all new backups are automatically copied to Dropbox, making it very easy to share your settings and data between devices.

If iCloud is enabled in the settings, the list of files will also include those in your iCloud folder. Like Dropbox, all new backups are automatically copied to iCloud. If both iCloud and Dropbox are enabled together, you can switch between the two at the top of the screen. For new backups, iCloud will be used in preference.

Note that backup files are shown in either red or black. Red means they are (probably) not exported from your device. It is REALLY IMPORTANT to periodically export these files off your device, otherwise you risk losing your data (e.g. if you lose your phone or it requires a factory reset). The easiest way to do this is to enable iCloud or Dropbox as explained above.

Importing Transactions

If you have a record of previous transactions you have made, perhaps in a spreadsheet or from another app, you can import these as a CSV file. This needs to have one row per transaction with NO header row, and they should ideally be in date order (oldest first). There should be exactly eight columns as follows:

  • account name – this must match the exact name of an account you have already created in the app (e.g. Mastercard)
  • date – this needs to be in the format dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm:ss. You can leave out the :ss, or simply use dd/mm/yyyy if you like, as long as all rows in the CSV file are the same
  • details – the details field of the transaction (e.g. payee); can be left blank
  • category – the transaction category; can be left blank
  • notes – any notes to add to the transaction; can be left blank
  • cheque/check number; can be left blank
  • amount – the amount in the currency of the account; for spending this should be negative
  • reconciled – either Y or N, indicating whether or not the transaction has been reconciled

A sample row might read …

Mastercard,28/05/2010 09:00:00,Apple,Gadgets,iPad,,-429.00,Y

For transfer transactions, simply replace the details column with the other account name enclosed in [], e.g. [Visa]. A negative (or 0) amount is a transfer from column 1 to column 3, a positive amount from column 3 to column 1. You can also import transfer transactions as two separate rows – see my support page for more details.

Note, if your region uses a comma as your currency separator, the amount needs to be included in quotes, e.g. “-429,00”.

Once you have a CSV file in the right format, use iTunes file sharing, iCloud or Dropbox to get this onto your device. Then select the file and choose Import CSV File. Alternatively you can simply email the file to yourself, select the attachment and choose to open it in my app.