Why USB Syncing Needs to End

If I had to pick one thing to complain about on the iPad it would be the syncing mechanism. I rarely sync my iPad because I don’t have time to wait for it to finish – I need to use it, or I am at the office (my iTunes library stays on an external drive at home). The same goes for my iPhone – what a pain to take the time and sync it.

It is not the actually syncing of content that takes the longest either, it is the ‘backing up iPad/iPhone’ part that is horrendously long. Let’s say I download a new album on my Mac and I want to sync that over to my iPad and iPhone – I have to plug them each in and wait for the back up and then the sync. If I download a song in the morning when I first wake up and try to sync this music to both my iPhone and iPad at the same time I will barely have enough time to pack up and leave. This is 2010 – we should not have to wait that long.

  • iPad Sync Time: 1 13:49 minutes for the total sync, of which 10:33 minutes was for just the backup.
  • iPhone 4: 5 minutes
  • iPod nano 2 : 46 seconds.

At the very least Apple could allow us to disable the backing up portion of the sync, but they don’t. You can click the ‘x’ when you see the backup part start to skip it, but then errors pop-up and sometimes it will cancel the entire sync (annoying).

Of course for my setup I only have to sync the media portions (photos, music, videos) as everything else is either wireless (contacts and calendars) or I download straight to the iPad/iPhone (apps and their updates). I can understand not wanting to allow Wi-Fi syncing of movies (given how large they are) but why can’t we wirelessly sync music and photos. Each file is small enough that if the sync was interrupted it could easily be resumed.

Sure this may not speed up the syncing speed, but at least I could sit on my couch and use the iPad wirelessly – as it was intended. Even now I can’t use either device while syncing – which is just absurd. How can we not surf the web while data is being loaded onto the device – they are certainly powerful enough to do this.

The Ideal

Ideally we would be able to set our mobile devices to sync wirelessly with our computers / media servers while they are charging. In this scenario say I am going to sleep and I throw my iPad and iPhone on the charger – at this point the device would wait 30 minutes and then start syncing all data before finally performing a backup.

Then in the morning if I wanted to load more songs the device would recognize that I have a current backup (made within the last 24 hours lets say) and would quickly sync all new media over Wi-Fi. Thus the syncing done while I am awake is only what I want to sync (setup in settings) and most all the other data is recent within the last 24 hours.

I don’t want to be too demanding, but given that I labeled this portion of my rant ‘ideal’ it would only be natural for me to want Apple to implement a “Back to my Mac” feature that allowed syncing over the WAN (Wide Area Network).

Where Is It?

One company already has such awesome technology: Dropbox. Everything is in sync and I never notice it syncing. So the technology is out there and can move large chunks of data quickly – why the hell don’t we have it on mobile devices yet?

  1. This is a normal sync that I do about once a week. It includes a full backup, transferring of recently updated apps, putting on new photos and podcasts.
  2. original
Originally posted for members on: July 13, 2010
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