iCloud syncs -question about how it works

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07 Jul, 2013 05:04 PM

This is my first foray into needing to sync up data on a desktop and mobile devise via iCloud. Before, all I've done is deposit files to the iCloud that both could access-- acting as a file cabinet.

With this app, I assume that I store cards on Mac, on the iPod, and on the iCloud. I run the sync to make sure they all have the same cards.

But the important part is scheduling of the cards. In this respect, I'm not sure how the apps work to schedule, nor how the syncs work to match up that scheduling.

Question: If I leave the iCloud Sync switch set to ON on the desktop, is it automatically syncing with the cloud on its own in the background? If so, is it running this background sync every time a new card becomes due per its scheduling or on some kind of timed basis (ie, every hour)? Likewise, are the answers to the preceding questions the same in regards to the iPod and mobile app?

Is it best practice to turn the switch back to off after each sync until it is time to study on that desktop or ipod again?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by drewmccormack on 08 Jul, 2013 08:12 AM

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    The sync should automatically happen in the background. You should not turn the sync off regularly. That would actually be quite a bad situation, leading to lots of data transfer.
    You just turn it on, and it syncs in the background as needed. It can do this quite often, for example, when something is rescheduled, or when you create a new note, but it is not something you should think about yourself.

    Scheduling happens the same way on all devices, and they should end up syncing your progress regardless of where you study the slideshow. It is different to the older version in that respect.

    Kind regards,

  2. 2 Posted by zeppo on 08 Jul, 2013 12:50 PM

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    Thanks. This may explain the occasional lags in response I get when I tap and option or swipe a card, as it may not response immediately while that background sync is going.

  3. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 08 Jul, 2013 01:19 PM.

  4. zeppo re-opened this discussion on 13 Jul, 2013 04:08 PM

  5. 3 Posted by zeppo on 13 Jul, 2013 04:08 PM

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    If ideally you are to set the iCloud Sync settings to "ON" on all devices (including mac), and the syncing occurs periodically and automatically on all devices, then how is this syncing scheduled? Is it set to occur every so many minutes? Or does it set to occur after certain types of activity on each device?

    I wish there were a more "detailed" description of how scheduling of dues notes and syncing across devises occurs. Here are some questions I have.

    I finished a Custom Slideshow of all due notes on my iPod. Afterwards, there were zero showing due on that devise. Yet I had my mac app running for a number of minutes, and it showed 185 notes due. The mac also reflected an additional card in the total number of cards because I created a card earlier on the desktop (within a scheduled stack). Since creating that card, I have shut the desktop app down completely and have restarted, and since that restart, have also shut the iPod app down completely, reopened, and have seen the sync running on my iPod. Yet the due notes on the iPod still showed zero. Maybe five minutes later, I noticed the iPod app finally did match the due note count of the mac, but the total card count was still missing the new card that I had created on the mac.

    So scheduled due notes is syncing, but not the actual content of notes. Is the syncing of content scheduled to happen on a different time table than the syncing of scheduled due notes?.

  6. Support Staff 4 Posted by drewmccormack on 14 Jul, 2013 02:44 AM

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    Syncing will usually happen a minute of so after the file is transferred by iCloud. We don't have much control over how long the transfer takes.

    Scheduling usually happens once a day, when you first wake your device.

    The scheduling and note content should transfer together. Perhaps the scheduling happened before the note was made.


  7. 5 Posted by zeppo on 14 Jul, 2013 05:12 AM

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    Well, my iPod's scheduling updated and changed from zero to 229 notes. However, total notes did not change and stands at 5572. On the desktop app, the scheduled notes updated from zero to 230 notes, with total notes at 5573. The card I created using the desktop app is the difference in the scheduled and total notes between the desktop and the iPod. The sync is not working in getting not only the new note to the iPod, but also some edits on other cards I did as well.

    I'm going to edit a card and add a card using the iPod and see if the work syncs to the iCloud and the mac.

    By the way, I have a suspicion that the issues with my iPod crashing might have to do with either the fact that the previous day's Due Notes had not been studied when the scheduling for the next day updated, OR, that the Custom Slideshow of the previous days Due Notes had not been completed when next day scheduling occurred.

  8. 6 Posted by zeppo on 14 Jul, 2013 02:55 PM

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    The test card and teat edit of pre-existing card that I made with the iPod did end up syncing over to the mac.

    But the mac edits and new card still have not made it to the iPod.

    The sync is not working both ways.

    I have 226 cards due on the mac. I hate studying on the desktop, so I will try to get through a custom slideshow of All Due Notes on the iPod, and then once done, do a manual update of scheduling (cram method as you describe it) and hope that the due notes aren't so many. If they aren't a lot, I'll then study them on the mac and do a sync and see if then it sends the mac edits to the iPod.

  9. 7 Posted by zeppo on 14 Jul, 2013 05:35 PM

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    Well, I finished studying on the iPod. The mac synced and showed only one note due, which of course was the note I created earlier on the mac that didn't transfer to the iPod. So this made it easy to test things out as planned. I studied the note in a slide show on the mac. Then allowed both to sync. Still no transfer of the card created on the mac. Then I force updated all due notes on the mac, afterwards showing 13 cards due. Allowed the mac to sync and the iPod to sync. 13 cards now showing due on the iPod, but still no transfer of the card created on the mac. I wouldn't think that it should matter whether the card is due or not for it to transfer, but figured I'd try it anyway.

    There are no instructions on how to initially sync up the devises to the cloud for the first time in terms of answering the pop up question as to whether to keep the data on the mac/ipod or on the cloud. I answered according to which had the most current information when I originally did this. I trust that there is nothing in that answer that means that all future automatic syncs will perform the same way.

  10. Support Staff 8 Posted by drewmccormack on 15 Jul, 2013 01:37 AM

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    I had a similar problem to this on my own Mac recently. It occurred when I was testing, and continually turning the sync off and on. I think iCloud gets overwhelmed with all the changes and locks up.

    The fix I found was to not only reset Mental Case, but to delete the data for iCloud on the mac, and let it regenerate it from the server.

    First, turn iCloud off on all devices in the mental case app.

    Then, follow the link at the bottom of this post:

    Look for the section of deleting the Ubiquity folder, and do that. Restart the mac.

    Then proceed with number 6 from the link above, turning on sync in MC on the Mac first, waiting, and then doing the devices.

    The upload should go fast because most data is already in iCloud.

    Your instinct over which data to keep was correct I would say. Turn on Mac first, and on the devices, choose to keep the data from iCloud. Wait for transfers to complete before doing the next device.

    If it works, don't switch the iCloud switch anymore. It puts a lot of strain on iCloud.

    Kind regards,

  11. 9 Posted by zeppo on 15 Jul, 2013 03:24 AM

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    I think I almost misread what you said. When I turn on the mac Cloud Sync, I assume it will ask me whether to keep the data from iCloud or the mac, and in this case, I choose the mac (the cloud won't have any data.) Then afterwards when I turn on the ipod, I tell it to keep the data from the cloud.

    From that point further, if everything is working, I can create a card on the iPod or the mac and that card should be transferred to the cloud, assuming I sync one to the cloud before switching to studying on the other.

  12. 10 Posted by zeppo on 15 Jul, 2013 03:45 AM

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    One thing I don't understand right of the bat. Following your advice above, the first thing I did is turn on my ipod , tapped cloud sync, and then watched until it said the data was fully updated Then I tapped to turn off the Sync via iCloud setting.

    Immediately it then reports about 190 MBs to upload. It starts gradually counting down this figure until it says once again "Cloud data is fully updated."

    Why when I turned of iCloud Sync does it apparently immediately do just that?

  13. Support Staff 11 Posted by drewmccormack on 15 Jul, 2013 03:52 AM

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    You shouldn't worry too much about that. There is some data transfer involved in turning off be sync.


  14. Support Staff 12 Posted by drewmccormack on 15 Jul, 2013 03:55 AM

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    You are right. If you want to keep all your data, when you turn on the iCloud sync on your mac, choose to keep the data from your mac. That replaces the data in iCloud with the data from your mac, and you will have your new note.

    Only do this when you start syncing. You don't need to keep turning syncing off and on again after that. Just leave it on.


  15. 13 Posted by zeppo on 15 Jul, 2013 04:34 AM

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    Ok, it worked as far as getting the mac data over to the iPod. Now I'll see how things go with the other issues. Things have been going better on it. Eventually the time will come again when I don't finish a Custom Slideshow of all Due Notes before midnight. Last time this happened, the crashing started about 8 minutes after midnight. I think that the scheduling update conflicts with the unfinished lesson-- but that is just a hypothesis. But having avoided this situation the last couple of days, I've also avoided the crashing.

  16. 14 Posted by zeppo on 16 Jul, 2013 01:05 AM

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    Well, it ended up letting me study only 50 notes of slideshow for 100 due notes before crashing (shutting down). I sent the report when it prompted. I was able to get thru the remainder. I was able to get through the remainder without it shutting down on me, though it did have a lot of stuttering and occasional lag time in displaying the text of a prompt. I'm going to create a new test card on the mac and see if it has issues again, but not until I let it sync up for scheduling for a couple of days to see how it handles it.

    Aside from not transferring the cards created on the mac, it was running pretty well it seemed before I cleared the Ubiquity file. So maybe it just needs a few days to iron itself out. Though keep in mind, my library file is less than 200MB (about 5600, text only , two-faceted cards,)

  17. Support Staff 15 Posted by drewmccormack on 16 Jul, 2013 04:00 AM

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    Can you remind me what type of device you are testing on? Older devices have less memory and could shutdown if a background sync was taking too much.


  18. 16 Posted by zeppo on 16 Jul, 2013 11:03 AM

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    Apple MC544LL/A iPod Touch 32GB (4th Generation)

  19. 17 Posted by zeppo on 17 Jul, 2013 03:12 AM

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    No problem with shutdowns during the study of the remainder. Keyed a couple of edits of typos on notes using the desktop. Waited a little while to make sure desktop had time to sync to cloud first, then tapped icloud Sync on the iPod. The edits from the mac did make it to the iPod. So that's good. However, the due note count moved from zero to 98. Why would it have more due notes if they are only supposed to schedule once a day and the last scheduling took place after midnight about 22 hours ago? At that time, I remember I had ninety-something due notes. Rather than sync my last study session on the iPod over to the desktop, did it instead sync the desktop over to the iPod, so that all the cards I had just studied were now showing due again? I viewed the due notes, and that indeed seems to be the case. I don't recognize a single card among them that I didn't just study. Then I glance at the desktop and it says zero notes due? Huh? Something's messed up. So I keyed a test edit on a note using the iPod to see if it would sync over to the desktop. Then I shut down both programs completely and reopened to try to ensure some fresh syncs to the cloud. The sync occurred because the card with the test edit did make it over to the desktop. Yet the desktop still shows zero cards due (which should be the accurate count) and the iPod is still showing 98 (as if I never studied today).

    This seems to be opposite to the problem before. The edits to cards are syncing, but the due notes is messed up.

    So I added a whole new test card using the desktop because I knew it would schedule it as a due note right away, and I wanted to see if it would trigger some synchronization between desktop and iPod in the due note count. Nope. Now the desktop has one due note and the iPod increased by one to 99 due.

    Keeping at it, I chose to study all due notes on the desktop by choosing Study>New Slideshow>All Due Notes. After studying, the due note count went back to zero on the desktop. The due note count on the iPod went back to 98.

    I guess I'll see what happens when it schedules after midnight.

  20. Support Staff 18 Posted by drewmccormack on 17 Jul, 2013 07:42 AM

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    Argh. I think I know what has happened. Both devices scheduled and made the notes due. They also added these changes to the sync data.

    But you studied the notes on the iPod before the mac changes arrived. When you finished studying, the Mac received the slideshow changes and made the notes undue. But the iPod received the original changes from the Mac after the slideshow and made the notes due again.

    We thought this problem would be very rare, but it is more likely when iCloud is very slow transferring data.

    We will look to improve this. In the meantime, you might have to go through the due notes on the iPod and make them undue again to get things to sync up.


  21. 19 Posted by zeppo on 18 Jul, 2013 03:43 AM

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    i went through the previously studied slideshow once again, and this time it acknowledged my effort (so far) and then left me with only the new set of due notes that were scheduled after midnight early this morning. i studied those, and now I have no due notes. The desktop is in sync and shows zero due as well. So everything appears to be in order now. I will wait and see what happens with the due notes that are scheduled tomorrow. No further crashing by the way. I'll give it a couple of days of letting it schedule the existing cards, and then try throwing in some new stacks.

  22. drewmccormack closed this discussion on 18 Jul, 2013 05:06 AM.

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