Cannot back-up iPad apps to Windows 10 laptop

Discussion in 'iTunes Forum' started by alexh110, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. alexh110

    alexh110
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    Hi all.

    I need some advice on copying iPad Air apps to my Windows 10 laptop.

    Sometimes new versions of apps can contain fatal bugs, or irritating new features that I don't like.
    For that reason I'd like to make back-ups of the apps currently stored on my iPad, so I have the option to roll them back to the previous version.

    In the past I've done this by syncing my iPad to the laptop with iTunes; or using the "transfer purchases" option from the iPad menu pulldown.
    Unfortunately it's no longer working. I've spent hours trying to force iTunes to perform this function, and it refuses to comply!
    It copies everything else to the laptop: music, books, pdf's, films and TV programmes; but for some reason will not copy the apps.

    iTunes will also copy apps in the other direction, from the laptop to the iPad: so I just don't understand what I'm doing wrong!

    I don't wish to make a full iPad back-up to the laptop; just want to back-up the ipa files, so I can rollback individual apps after they've been updated.
     
  2. scifan57

    scifan57
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    #2 scifan57, Dec 26, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  3. alexh110

    alexh110
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    Sorry I should've said, I'm using an earlier version of iTunes from 2016: so that's not the source of the problem.
    In fact I've chosen not to update iTunes so I can continue to manage all my Apple media, including music, apps and books, under the same piece of software.
     
  4. scifan57

    scifan57
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    Which iOS version is your iPad currently on? Devices on iOS 12 need at least iTunes 12.8 to connect to iTunes on your computer.
     
    #4 scifan57, Dec 26, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  5. alexh110

    alexh110
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    It's running iOS 9.1.

    I did a bit more digging, and it seems the issue is caused by something called "app thinning" (which I'd never heard of).
    I found this line buried deep with Apple's knowledgebase, in a place noone would ever think to look:

    "Note that with the introduction of app thinning in iOS 9 your device may no longer contain a complete version of each app, so app transfer from device to library is disabled"

    To confuse people even more, they still allow iTunes to copy apps to your library from Apple devices running earlier versions of iOS!
    So my iPhone (which is still running iOS 7), and my iPad 2 (which is running iOS 8) can back-up their apps to a Windows laptop; but my iPad Air cannot.

    Would it be too much to ask for iTunes to bring up a dialogue box to explain all this to users when they try to sync their iOS 9 devices? Then I could've avoided wasting several days trying to work out why iTunes appeared to have a bug that only affected my iPad Air!

    Instead Apple have removed a very useful feature without telling anyone! Simply for the minimal benefit of a tiny reduction in the amount of memory used by apps on Apple devices.

    So now if you update an app, and the new version is unstable, your only option is to stop using the app altogether!
    This happened to me recently with Instagram, and I had stop using it for over a month until a new version was released!

    Shame on you Apple!
     
  6. scifan57

    scifan57
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    You can download apps directly to the app library from the iOS App Store in iTunes on your computer. This would avoid the issues associated with app thinning.
     
  7. scifan57

    scifan57
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    BTW, if a newly updated app is unstable or doesn’t work properly it’s the fault of the app developer not Apple.
     
  8. scifan57

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    In regards to a pop up box letting iOS 9 users that app thinning will prevent transferring apps between iTunes and their iOS devices, mention was made at the time. Only around 5% of users are still on iOS 9 or earlier and are using a version of iTunes on their computers that is several years out of date.
     
    #8 scifan57, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  9. alexh110

    alexh110
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    I think most people have never heard of app thinning; but I will use the workaround you suggested.
    Ofcourse it's more time consuming, because I have to download each app from the store individually.

    N.B. The best place to mention app thinning would've been from within iTunes itself, via a dialogue box that comes up when you first connect an iOS 9 device.
    That way you could be sure all your consumers would've seen it.
    Otherwise people like me will assume the software's broken, and waste a lot of time on unecessary troubleshooting measures.
     
    #9 alexh110, Dec 28, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018

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