Mac App review: BackOff - regain those 7 hours waiting for iPad to backup

back off apple ipad sync
BackOff for Mac and PC
This is going to be a quick post more out of frustration rather than necessity. I woke up at 5am this morning for many reasons: 1) our cats needed access to their litter box which I remembered was accidentally closed last night, 2) our newborn baby needed a diaper changed, and 3) the iPad iOS 4 update had finally arrived! Already bummed that I missed the release yesterday (this is what happens when you get a baby, I suppose), I wanted to get a jump start on the day by beginning what I presumed would be a long and drawn out update process. Little did I know that I would be sitting here 7 hours later staring at the same silly progress bar, measuring the millimeters of movement hour by hour. There had to be another way...

My Hero: BackOff

A quick Google search for "iPad slow backup" will reveal that I'm not the only one experiencing abnormally long backup times, though I feel that every new Apple update comes with an onslaught of complaints regarding this issue. I feel I was quite patient in waiting 7 hours, and I tried a few tips which included disconnecting/reconnecting the USB, the wireless, and sprinkling magic dust on the device. 

Finally, I pulled the plug (literally), and installed an application on the Macbook called BackOff whose sole purpose is to tell Apple that backups are not welcome at the moment. I started the program, turned off backups, and plugged the iPad back in for another attempt at updating. 

Sure enough, the program worked like a charm, and in less than a minute, I was already further along in the update process than I had been in over 7 hours. The iPad firmware was finally being updated, and only until I reached the 90% mark on the iPad did I encounter a potential stall. This frozen behavior was also noted in a recent post, but I chose to wait it out (what's a short lunch break when compared to a entire morning?) My patience was rewarded when iTunes told me that the iPad sync was complete, and I quickly checked the iPad settings to find that 4.2.1 was indeed installed. 

Having witnessed the speed of sync without a backup, I enthusiastically recommend BackOff as a solution for those experiencing sluggish updates. I understand the need to backup periodically, and I will commit an overnight in the future to complete the process, but I want a way to bypass the lengthy procedure every time I sync, and I certainly don't care to spend hours waiting for an update ever again.  BackOff is available for free on Mac and PC from DigiDNA.
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jot said…
Check to see if virus protection is interfereing with backup. I have had this happen on my windows pc when backing up my iPad. When I disable virus protection and firewall, it works fine.

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