As most will know by now, I am a huge music fan and buy an album or two or three pretty much every week, as well as a variety of singles and EPs. My iPhone’s primary purpose really is as a personal jukebox - with 50GB typically dedicated to MP3s. Because of the limited space available on the iPhone - max 64GB for the last three generations, I constantly need to chop and change my selections as I add new albums to my playlists - these constant updates seem to exacerbate the syncing and backup process somewhat.
Right from the earliest days of my iPhone ownership I have had issues with the iTunes <> iPhone sync - typically with the process freezing out at some stage during the number 1-7 steps and occasional corruptions occurring. Corruptions seems to occur on both apps backup / syncing as well as on music. there was a time when the same 2 apps were being copied to the phone for every single sync (for several months in a row) - even though neither had been updated recently.
Since iOS 7 was launched on September 18th 2013 - that is to say iTunes versions 11.1 onwards, the experience has been an unmitigated disaster for me. There’s pages and pages of user complaints / notes about music and playlist syncing errors on the various Apple support forums. The issue has been so serious for me that in the last few months I have had to reset and restore my phone to factory settings a dozen times, half of the time needing to set up the phone from scratch as the backup was not restoring properly. I find that a lot of fitness and dance instructors - who use the playlist function extensively are having the same issues. It’s not just a matter of the playlists not copying across properly, but frequently during a sync some existing tracks / songs can get corrupted somehow and are no longer available for playback - the only way to fix that really is to restore the device completely - both very frustrating and time consuming. I’m still getting random freezes and the ’update’ icon continuing to cycle on my iPhone on occasion even after decoupling from iTunes.
Most recently I updated to iTunes 11.2 last Friday night, and all the music on my phone became corrupted as ’Other’ format. It took 6 restores to factory settings with two ’set up phone from new’ to finally get everything back in working order - it was Saturday night before my phone was back to normal - an almost complete 24 hours - each total restore takes at least 3 hours, and quite a bit more when having to re-organise from new.
It’s not just the haphazard syncing / connectivity / backup which majorly bugs me, but the workings of iTunes itself - which is at least a generation behind in how such an interface should function. I hate that I can’t pop up summary details from the listings, but need to click all the way in to a detail screen and then all the way back out again to navigate from item to item - very ponderous and quite ridiculous when compared to say how the Netflix interface works. Connectivity to the iTunes store almost always seems laggy too - producing quite an unsatisfactory experience all-round.
I hate how Apple rarely accepts that there is something wrong, and that the standard fix is to ’restore to factory settings’. I also get far too many ’Trust this computer?’ messages flashing up on my iPhone . It’s better now than it was, but still seems to pop up too often when syncing with my main iMac.
I have been sorely tempted to switch over to Android some days - but as someone involved in music, there are still too many apps which are only fully catered for on the Apple platforms.
Apple needs to improve its accountability and responsibility in the iTunes area - for instance listing known issues would be a nice start, and man-up and confess when new issues have been introduced, or old issues not yet fixed. It’s almost impossible to know what Apple is doing to resolve various issues. I always put off updating, as I pretty much know that I’m going to encounter some kind of disaster. When the iCloud auto-backup was introduced, the syncing was totally random and out of control and very prone to backup corruptions - I had to suspend that function almost immediately.
When viewing the ’On this phone’ tab on iTunes you can usually see which songs are corrupt / have not synced properly, but there is no process to repair / restore individual tracks - all you can do is run the whole sync process again, which can often break more than it fixes.
I have pretty much zero confidence in the sync / backup process and I don’t trust the updates either. Too much of what Apple seems to do these days is cosmetic and superficial. They’re already losing out in music to Spotify and Television to Netflix - if they don’t buck up their ideas soon, iTunes will become about as relevant as Blockbusters!