When I complained on Twitter about a 2 hour iPhone sync, Giz reader Brandon Lusk told me I was lucky. He had a much longer sync, sometimes over 6 hours. I called bullshit. And so, he provided me with two videos, time-lapsed; this one is over 8 hours. That's a full night of sleep. That's a full day of high school. That's longer than it takes to fly cross country, or drive from SF to Los Angeles. After seeing this video, I stopped complaining and tried to figure out what caused Brandon's problem with him.
To troubleshoot the problem, he restored his phone from scratch, but even after reinstalling 7.7.1 iTunes and 2.0.2 firmware in his never-jailbreaked iPhone 3G, the sync is unbearably long. We even tried syncing on an Air and an iMac and used another cable. The only outstanding set of data Brandon had is that he loads 74 apps to his phone. And he says that by adding apps one at a time, his sync/backup time slowly goes up—so it's not a single buggy app ruining the process.
Now, I'm sure Brandon's case is an exceptionally complicated problem. He still has an iTunes error message pop up when he syncs, for example. And even when we both load up 50 apps on our phones, his sync is much longer at 4 hours. This is clearly not a normal example, but that doesn't mean it's not real, and it doesn't mean it isn't related to the big problem many have been suffering from since firmware 2.00 hit. Maybe Brandon can be our poster boy for the eternal sync/backup problem. Or, until Apple fixes it, we can watch this video every time we complain about the iPhone's sync times and we can feel like it could have been worse. Like 8 hours' worth of worse. But damn if that video doesn't make you happy when it's finally done with the transfer.
Both machines running 10.5.4 and iTunes 7.7.1 (but again, this started on 7.7)
Air is a day 1 1.6GHZ, 80GB and the iMac is a 2.8GHZ 4GB RAM 320GB HDD
When I started, I had
997.1 MB of music (163 songs, all .m4a files, except 27 .m4p)
93.6 MB of photos
No movies or TV shows
47 MB video (all video podcasts)
Contacts, calendar synced to MobileMe
3 other IMAP email accounts
74 apps (a lot, I know, but certainly not as many as you could possibly have)
The sync added
No movies or TV shows
3.5 GB of video (99 podcasts, and this part only took about 10 minutes, as you can see in the video)
6 app updates (2 of which were not installed because of an error)
No new apps
The backup folder produced this time weighs in at 9,771 items and 848.1 GB
It doesn't matter if the app updates error or not, my last sync was 6:49 with 4 app updates, all of which were successful.
Since 2.0, backup and sync has been very long, but not to this extent. Usually 1.5 - 2 hours.
It started getting this bad about a month ago, right before iTunes 7.7.1 came out, an app crashed mid install via Wi-Fi app store, crashing the phone to the Apple logo but not booting all the way.
When it crashed like that, I put it in DFU mode and restored from backup, immediately had the same problem.
Back to DFU mode and restored with fresh firmware—instead of crashing daily, it did it every few days, requiring DFU mode and fresh download of firmware.
Did a complete wipe from within the phone, installed fresh firmware again, and started from scratch. New iTunes installation (removing support files first, empty trash, reboot, then reinstall) new firmware download.
Since then, no more Apple logo of death, and very few app crashes in general, but still excruciating backup/sync times.
If I skip the backup (I'm inclined to do that these days, since they are usually corrupted, even with a fresh copy on the desktop) it still takes at least 2-3 hours to sync.
It's been such a long time
I think I should be goin', yeah
And time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rollin'
Sail on, on a distant highway
I've got to keep on chasin' a dream
I've gotta be on my way
Wish there was something I could say.
Well I'm takin' my time, I'm just movin' along
You'll forget about me after I've been gone
And I take what I find, I don't want no more
It's just outside of your front door.
It's been such a long time. It's been such a long time.
Well I get so lonely when I am without you
But in my mind, deep in my mind,
I can't forget about you
Good times, and faces that remind me
I'm tryin' to forget your name and leave it all behind me
You're comin' back to find me.