Syncing iOS Apps with a different computer
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: My computer crashed. I want to be able to sync my iPod touch with my PC again. However, I am afraid of losing all my levels on Tiny Towers and other games when I start syncing. Is there a way to back up my apps and sync my old game progresses without losing any of the data?
A: When you connect your iPod touch a new computer or a new iTunes library it will ask you whether or not you want to replace the content that is already on your device with the content in your library.
You can simply click “Cancel” here to prevent this from happening and your iPod touch will remain connected to your computer without actually synchronizing any information with your library. Alternatively, if your computer has already been authorized for the same iTunes Store account that was used to purchase the apps and media content on your iPod touch, you will also see a “Transfer Purchases” option that can be used to copy this information from your iPod touch back to your iTunes library. This copies the raw applications and any purchased media content such as music and videos, but does not copy any application data; your application data is instead included in any backups made by iTunes or iCloud.
If your new computer is not already authorized for your iTunes Store account you can do this by selecting Authorize Computer from the Store menu in iTunes. You can also initiate the transfer of purchases by selecting the appropriate option from the iTunes File menu while your iPod touch is connected.
Unless you already have all of your applications in your iTunes library, you should take advantage of the “Transfer Purchases” option to copy this information over from your iPod touch. Performing a device backup to iTunes as part of this process is also highly recommended, as this will include your application data which can be restored from this backup just in case something goes wrong. See Backing up apps from an iPod touch for more information.
The key point is that as long as the applications themselves exist in your iTunes library, you can re-enable the “Sync Apps” feature without losing any of your application data as long as you ensure that the same apps are still selected for synchronization to your device.
When you first enable “Sync Apps” iTunes actually presents you with a somewhat scary warning dialog implying that iTunes is going to erase and reinstall all of your applications:
In reality what happens here, however, is that iTunes does a simple reconciliation to compare what’s already on your device with what’s selected for synchronization from your iTunes library. Anything that is already in both places is simply left alone and marked as “synced” while apps that are de-selected (or don’t exist in iTunes at all) will be removed, and any new apps that are selected will be added.
The catch here, of course, is that the apps must still be selected for synchronization to your device. If you enable the “Sync Apps” option with no apps selected, iTunes will go ahead and remove all of the apps on your device in order to match what you’ve selected (e.g. nothing).
You can go ahead and choose “Sync Apps” from the dialog box—nothing actually happens here until you click “Apply” so you can then go through the list and make sure that all of the apps that are actually ON your device are still selected in iTunes. When you click the “Apply” button, iTunes will simply go through a sync process matching up what’s already there and leaving it alone, after which the “Sync Apps” option will remain enabled.
The final result is that the apps on your device will match whatever is selected in iTunes, however no data is removed from your device in the process as long as the apps remain selected for synchronization.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1
- New details about Apple Watch Nike+ exclusives, availability
- Apple’s website hints at possible Apple Pay launch in Germany
- ConnectSense Smart Outlet adds power monitoring, reduces price
- Automatic releases new Automatic Lite version of car monitoring accessory
- Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta
- iOS dev finds unimplemented one-handed keyboard in iOS code
- Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers
- Apple partners with builders to include HomeKit-enabled devices in new homes
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Speck Presidio and Tech21 Evo Tactical for iPhone 7
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps