editors_letter_tablet_f1-242x300[1] On our sister blog Appletell, Ed McKell reports on the way that his iPad apps have, over time, started taking longer and longer, until lately he started the backup before he went to bed and it still was only 2/3 done when he got up seven hours later!

McKell learned from research in forums that others were having similar (pardon the pun) issues caused by magazine apps, and decided to experiment with deleting the Wired magazine app which was storing 3GB of back issues, to see if it had any effect. To his surprise, without the Wired app his iPad backup only took half an hour.

Several other magazine apps have been mentioned as well, so it is not specific to Wired or Zinio, but is a common problem amongst apps that use large files to store their data. This is different from apps that have lots of data in very small files. I still have lots of data in my other apps (8.8GB to be exact) and a large amount of that is divided up between games that are large apps and file storage apps like Good Reader, but the smaller files stored in those apps are not causing the same problems.

McKell pledges to continue his research and update the article if anything changes after iOS 4.2 is available.

So we can add to the article I posted yesterday yet another reason that iPad magazine apps are not thrilling iPad users. Wonder if iOS 4.2 will bring any improvements?


  1. Thank you for this. I could not imagine why my iPad was taking so long to back up, fortunately not as long as the writer with his Wired subscription, but enough to go do something else while it is happening. I have National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler from Zinio on mine and was unaware that this was happening. Now I have turned off the backup for the Zinio magazines since they may be re-downloaded any time, if lost or deleted. Both of these are gorgeous on the iPad, by the way, and have some video with them as well which adds to the size of the files.

  2. This is a pretty old problem that has been covered extensively on many forums. There are many so-called workarounds being suggested but none that work, as far as I know. I wrote my own summary of everything I tried to get around this issue, just to vent my frustrations – http://www.prepressure.com/blog/to-backup-delete-all-your-data-first

    I hope iOS 4 fixes the issue. On the other hand I am not exactly looking forward the upgrade simply because the upgrade process will only be possible after doing a back-up/sync which may take up 24 hours.

  3. Only a percentage of the PC users running iTunes on Windows suffer from this problem. On Mac it doesn’t even exist. It is not a universal issue but if you happen to have the slow sync problem, it is very annoying and there is no real solution for it …yet.

  4. @laurens:
    Not true that long backup times don’t exist for Mac users. I am one, and until I read this and realized that there was an option to NOT back up Zinio magazines, my backups were taking a long time. It is the file sizes of the magazines, not the operating system, which is causing the problem. So now I have Zinio set not to back up the magazines, and backup times are way shorter. There is no need to back up Zinio magazines because if you delete them, you can re-download them when you wish. I do not know what the situation is with Wired and other publications, i.e., if it is possible to have them not back up.

  5. The whole IDEA of allowing iTunes to backup your device is both flawed and unnecessary for most users. Most people sync to a calendar and contact app that is “in the cloud”, all of our digital books and such are also there, and all of the apps and music are safely in ITunes. I can comlete wipe my iPad with a beta os install, and be back and running in no time. I just have to remember to copy off the few local only things like pictures first that i may have saved from emails (which are also still nthe gmail cloud anyway). And recovering from a backup is ALWAYS a bad idea, performance wise.

    There is a little program called backup switch (I think) that let’s you completely turn off this unnecessary and annoying iTunes feature. I did it years ago 🙂

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