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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, accidentally or otherwise. 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.

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 or Family Sync upgrades.

If you have not enabled syncing on iOS, make sure you turn on iCloud or Dropbox in the settings (as appropriate) 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.

On the Mac …

If using iCloud, 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 your other devices.

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?

If using iCloud, 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 using Dropbox, chances are you have not linked the app to the same Dropbox account as you are using on iOS.

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 using iCloud and 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.

Hill Lists 5.1 now available

March 3, 2017 Comments off

hlicon57 Updated to version 15.4 of the Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH), a routine update with three significant Marilyn relocations and a few promotions (HuMPS, Nuttalls, Simms and Synges).

When showing a map of surrounding hills, include the nearest 500 (hills) rather than those within an 80 km/50 mile radius. The latter is not so good in flat areas!

When tapping on a climbed hill (i.e. one with a green pin), the date(s) and number of ascents may be shown.

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.

ATB Viewer 5.2.2 now available

March 3, 2017 Comments off


Bug fixes and minor changes. Plus keeping the app inline with the full version of Account Tracker to be released on Sunday!

A Week In Review

February 25, 2017 Comments off

atmac-64x64 Last Sunday afternoon, I finally had everything lined up and submitted Account Tracker for Mac to Apple for review.

On the Monday morning, I was being paranoid and decided I needed to add one more security feature, so I rejected my own submission. I added support for automatically backing up your data in the background, just in case a bug on the Mac corrupts your database and the changes are synced back to iOS. The Mac app can export these backups back to iOS over AirDrop. Phew!

I resubmitted the app on Tuesday evening at 9:40pm (GMT). It went into review at 11:29pm (surprisingly quickly), but I woke up on Wednesday to a rejection notification! The app violated one of Apple’s rules around iCloud.

I quickly added an alternative launch option to let users view a backup file, a bit like ATB Viewer, however I fully expect most (all?) users to enable syncing instead.

iTunes was down (or very slow!) on Wednesday evening, so it took until Thursday morning (7:13am) to re-submit my new app. It went into review at 6:43pm and by 11:06pm it was approved. Result!

Despite the setback, caused entirely by me not fully reading what is and isn’t allowed, I was impressed with the very quick turnarounds by Apple. A few years ago, each submission and review would have taken 1-3 weeks!

So there we are, Account Tracker for Mac is ready to be released. I have a few minor things to do in preparation, so I plan to do this next weekend.

Sorry for the delay.