iCloud sync issues

This topic contains 12 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Sam Moffatt 3 months ago.

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  • June 11, 2019 at 10:20 AM #35054

    Dean Harris

    I’ve been having numerous sync issues w/ iCloud iOS devices lately. Is anyone else having issues w/ the sync process not working or just hanging?

    I make a change on my iPad and either I have to “force’ a sync or the sync just hangs (spinning wheel in status bar). The changes never make it to my iPhone or visa-versa. Changes used to happen automatically, but that’s no longer the case. And if I manually sync, sometimes it syncs, and other times it just hangs.

    I’ve tried disabling/re-enabling the sync on both devices several times, signing in/out of iCloud, but this appears to be a temporary fix only. It’s also not just one problematic database, but across every database.

    June 11, 2019 at 4:23 PM #35055

    Tom Banks

    I’ve been having these issues, too. I just now re-read the manual and watched the Vimeo tutorial about iCloud sync to make sure I was doing it right. I’ve also tried the same fixes Dean Harris mentions, but they didn’t work for me either. In every document where I try to enable iCloud sync, the wheel just spins. That’s from my desktop iMac. When I try to enable iCloud sync from an iOS device, I get the inappropriate alert, “Are you sure you wish to disable iCloud sync?” The options shown are “Disable Sync” and “No”. This DISable alert is despite the fact I had clicked on the button to ENable the sync. I should add that Nearby sync works fine on all devices. And my iCloud is signed in and my files there work as they should.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Tom Banks.
    June 12, 2019 at 1:54 AM #35061


    I think this may be an issue with having had Nearby Sync enabled and enabling iCloud sync without first disabling Nearby sync by removing the devices on the Nearby sync screen.

    Can you check to make sure that if you have any devices listed on the Nearby sync screen that you remove them and then enable iCloud sync? Also try enabling iCloud sync and then disabling it right away. Then enable it again.

    June 12, 2019 at 6:30 AM #35064

    Tom Banks

    Thanks for your involvement, Brendan. Following the suggestion, I deleted Nearby sync to all three iOS devices from a document on the Mac, then also deleted Nearby sync devices from that same document on the iOS devices. Then I clicked Enable iCloud sync on the Mac. The wheel spun with no end. Then I tapped the Enable iCloud on the iOS devices. I got that same reversed alert asking whether I wanted to DIS-able. Then, on all devices, the wheel spun merrily away. This it was not possible to toggle Enable and Disable. Finally, I re-established Nearby sync on all, which still works. But sync via iCloud would be much more convenient.

    June 13, 2019 at 7:44 AM #35065

    Tom Banks

    I’ve been working more on this problem. Let me mention what I’ve found so far in case that’s a clue for Brendan or Dean.

    I’ve been checking out the sync of every document of mine listed on the directory window of TF that appears on the iMac. That directory includes a useful note of the type of sync being used with that document. I haven’t exhausted the list in my checking of sync yet. The picture that is emerging, however, is that documents I originally set up to sync via iCloud and have left that way still do sync properly via iCloud. But documents that I changed from iCloud sync to Nearby sync will not change back to iCloud sync.

    Thus with documents whose syncing I changed I appear to be stuck. I definitely don’t want to recreate them anew. And (as I mentioned earlier) I have tried deleting the Nearby connections, but the iCloud sync just hung. Is there another way to purge the sync settings and start them over? Or another solution?

    June 13, 2019 at 8:35 AM #35066

    Dean Harris

    Thanks for all the feedback. Unfortunately, I haven’t used Nearby Sync in years. So, I doubt this scenario applies to me.

    In my case, what I’ve found to be the most problematic, are Notes and subtle changes tend to hang or not sync at all. The Notes in question are not that lengthy, so I doubt that’s the issue, but the wheel just spins and spins and the changes aren’t carried over. And subtle property changes (such as labels) often tend to be ignored unless I also make a significant value change as well.

    It’s frustrating because I will often clean up my forms on my iPad and then days later view the same forms on my phone and think to myself, “I thought I changed that?”… and I did, it just never carried over.

    Not sure if that info helps are not, but that’s been my experience. And my fear is, it’s going to become even more relevant when iPad OS is introduced.

    June 13, 2019 at 12:24 PM #35069

    Tom Banks

    What seems to have worked for me is to (in effect) copy a Nearby sync document and make the new copy (which arrives with no sync selected) into iCloud sync. The details:
    1. Open the document I want to purge of sync problems.
    2. Export the records to CSV or Excel.
    3. Create a new document (changing the name).
    4. Import the records from the spreadsheet file. All the field types will be default to Text, but they can be changed, either in the Import setup or after in the Form/Fields tab.
    5. In Preferences, select iCloud sync. Whereas that selection just spun the wheel on the old document, the new one works just like in the Vimeo video. The new document quickly appears on other devices.

    So far, no problems—except that I don’t think photos are imported, and layouts other than the default disappear! But for me the access to iCloud sync is worth it. I’m impressed by how quickly and cleanly it goes.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Tom Banks.
    June 13, 2019 at 1:27 PM #35071

    Tom Banks

    Disregard the erroneous posting that I am deleting here.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Tom Banks.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Tom Banks.
    June 13, 2019 at 7:53 PM #35078


    @tom, you could try creating a new document and use the Export Tap Forms Archive function to export your forms as a .tfarc file. Then import the .tfarc files into your new document. Then setup iCloud sync there and see how that goes. That should leave out any remnants of Nearby sync in the new document.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Brendan.
    June 14, 2019 at 11:22 AM #35086

    Tom Banks

    Thank you Brendan! This worked exactly as needed.

    June 15, 2019 at 4:18 PM #35104

    Dean Harris

    Thanks guys, I really appreciate all the feedback. But at this point I’m pretty much done. No mater what I do, iCloud sync no longer syncs reliably. And truth be told, I’ve been spending more time trying to fix inconsistancy issues than building and using the tool. I even quit using the desktop version altogether thinking that may be part of the problem. If nothing else, it’s one less componenent to interfere.

    Below is recent example of a very simple change that should have been picked up by iCloud.

    I modified an existing pick list in my movie database to also include television ratings.

    1. Modified pick list name from “MPAA Rating” to “MPAA/TV Rating” – Basically, a three-character change. Nothing too intensive here.
    2. I then added four new values to the list.
    3. Notice the last upload time vs. the actual time of the change.

    Not only should this have been picked up, but if I force a sync using the button above, it just spins and spins with the message “Sync sending”. If I completely remove the sync from both my iPad and iPhone and re-add it… it works… until the next time.

    Notes to consider:
    1. I verified the database keys match on both devices.
    2. I tried Disabling/Reenabling iCloud Sync on both devices – short term fix only.
    3. I tried signing in/back out of iCloud (which is a PITA), again, on both devices.
    4. I tried getting a “good” sync, then deleting it from iCloud, in case something was corrupted somehow.
    5. This is happening to ALL my databases, not just one.
    6. Both devices are running the latest iOS version.
    7. If “create” a totally new field and/or pick a value from a pick list, suddenly it picks up the recent changes. However, depending on how old they are, it may skip something from last week that was never synced over in the first place. This is where the insanity comes in.

    I’m at a loss. But I really think this is an issue between Tap Forms and iCloud. Because it’s not just one database.


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    June 17, 2019 at 12:08 PM #35106

    Dean Harris

    Update: Not sure if this helps, but it appears the app is having trouble uploading to iCloud from my iPad only. Downloads to the iPad seem to happen instantly (if there are pending changes that were made on my iPhone). And downloads AND uploads work both ways on my iPhone (providing I can get the iPad to sync). It just seems to hang if I make changes on my iPad Pro. Strange.

    June 17, 2019 at 10:50 PM #35108

    Sam Moffatt

    Could you use the CouchDB based sync instead? I’ve shifted everything over as soon as it was available but this requires setting up a CouchDB server. I have an iMac at home that is always on and I run as my CouchDB server but this does mean that when I’m not at home my changes don’t get automatically sync’d from my devices like they would with iCloud.

    One other thing I’ve been wondering about for a while now is if there is much interest for having a TapForms specific hosted CouchDB set up. Pay as you go, probably one dollar per gigabyte stored per month (most used storage for the month; probably a minimum of $5/month to deal with CC fees and the like), set up with a standard SSL certificate and georeplicated backups. For the most part I rely on my own internal network and VPN into it but I’ve been wondering about setting this up more formally and then seeing if there is external interest.

    A feature that I’d like to see if I can get interest in is being able to provide more uniform support for backups. I have my own scripts that I run internally that do two different sorts of backups (one is like Time Machine and another tries to get every single change). Backups would be charged on a similar cost per gigabyte used model though I wouldn’t want to launch that until there was a user interface for it that doesn’t exist right now. I’ve already used my backup system to restore a field script that was thoughtlessly nuked so I know it works but I’d be looking to build a UI around this. These backups are brick level backups that backup individual records which means you can restore a single entity in Tap Forms (such as a record, a field, a script or even a form) without having to bring the entire Tap Forms document along.

    Is there any interest in that?

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