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Erase and Sync, Strange iOS Data Management

Updated on June 23, 2014

There are numerous hardcore Apple fans and I am also one of them. We have a certain affinity to the brand that makes us overlook any big or small issue the product has, infact we can also blindly fight to prove the product is superior. But attimes something bugs us so much that even we have to agree, yes there is something wrong here.

Here I am very specifically talking about iTunes, I hate the so called ‘erase and sync’ to the core. By any chance if you have to use a second computer (not the computer you regularly sync on) to get some new music on your iPhone, the software simply asks to erase your old data, why? I really don’t get the logic behind this, why erase my old data if due to some reason I have to use a different computer or a different iTunes library. Recently I landed in this problem as I wanted songs from my friend’s computer and I didn’t want to let go the songs I listen to on my iPhone. Despite of choosing “Manually manage music and videos”, the moment I clicked on Apply, a pop up comes saying “erase and sync”. If we read across the web, there are forums expressing their hatred towards this and this issue seems to be a bigger problem for iPhone only compared to other iOS devices. Apple has totally made the whole thing of adding and deleting the content from iPhone extremely complicated. Other OS score big here; life doesn’t become difficult when you want to add songs to the device you carry along. Also, Apple has different rules when its iTunes Store purchased content, it lets you copy your iTunes Store purchases directly from an iPod to the computer but for rest of the obtained data rule is different i.e. erase and sync. Too biased, infact biased to the limit of irritating a user.


To get over this well known problem, there are third party solutions and some shortcuts which I found in many forums. Well in this time of consolidation, Apple seems to be taking a different route; different software for different purpose. Zenoveer gives a solution to this by using keyboard commands. He says while connecting the device to computer, press and hold ctrl and shift keys together, this stops iPod from auto synching. Haven’t tried, but do share your experience if you do. Another method shared by Hustle Hard says after selecting “Manually manage music and videos” and click apply. After all oks to the pop ups, just before the syncing starts, unplug the iPhone and wait till it syncs and plug back to add music.Agin haven’t tried this too. Other third party solutions are installing software that gives you folder like access to data, music etc inside your iPhone so that you can transfer data to your computer and then post syncing drag and drop selected content to add it back to your iPhone. There are some negatives to this too, when you transfer data from your iPhone to PC it gets saved by the crazy names iOS device had used while they were on phone. Some of the third party solutions are TunesGo by Wondershare (which I have used, works well), iexplorer, Xilisoft, SyniOS and more. Good thing is they all have their free trial versions which you can try before you choose which one to buy.

I somewhat link this to a bad experience leading to unhappy customers which leads to customer churn. In the world of extreme competition where luckily Apple already has an edge over others due to its brand value, Apple needs to fix this issue to retain as many customers it can. Apple besides working on other solutions needs to really work on this issue and make the whole experience user friendly.

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