Last week we received a report via email of a problem where a customer had lost some changes they made in HomeRoutines. We also saw an recent app store review where someone had seen a similar issue. Here at Wunderbear we take bugs, particularly anything which can cause data loss, very, very seriously. It breaks our geeky little hearts to see someone report a problem like this! So we sat down with a vat of tea to try and sort things out.
HomeRoutines takes great care when saving data, even keeping the previous version of your data around in the case of problems. But a couple of versions of HomeRoutines ago we tweaked the saving process, where your changes are written to the flash memory, so that we didn’t save so often. This helps with battery life, and performance (especially on older devices). But we went too far. Things still worked perfectly as long as everything went as expected, but on mobile devices strange stuff can happen. Batteries run flat unexpectedly, the OS can terminate apps in odd states, and sometimes you just hit a weird bug. When these unexpected things happened, it could cause changes not to be persisted. We think the problem is very rare, but any amount of data loss is not OK.
So we’ve just released version 1.8.3 of HomeRoutines. It improves the saving system so that changes should never be lost, even if the worst happens.
Having said all that, it’s pretty easy to lose your data for any iPhone app by accidentally unchecking the app in the iTunes, and the iTunes backup doesn’t often help, because it’s replaced at every sync. This is why we added the local backup feature back in version 1.5, then made it better in version 1.8 by letting you copy the HomeRoutines data file directly from iTunes. However, manual backup is still a hassle. Stay tuned for some much better solution coming real soon now.