Tag Archives: apps

iOS 8.x Apps Not Updating in App Store

Please refrain from making “This didn’t work for me.” comments since this is not a sure-fire solution. It was one that solved the issue for MY device (which, for the record, is an iPad mini 2 running iOS 8.3 on jailbreak) so I figure I’d share this.

About 2 days ago, all the buttons for the apps waiting to be updated in the App Store flickered from Update to Open the moment I switched to the Updates screen. Some Google searching yielded results that suggested to move to another menu, turn off wifi, return to Updates and quickly tap on the Update button next to an app immediately before it changed back to Open.

While this did work, the apps refused to update; the usual circle with a blue square in the middle that should have appeared just ended up as an empty circle that wouldn’t move. To make matters worse, after I closed the App Store and re-opened it, the apps showed they were updated. However, looking at their version number in iFile (a file manager app for jailbroken devices) showed that no update actually occurred. :/

Other suggestions like turn on automatic updates, log out and log back in either App Store or iCloud, rebooting the device all DID NOT WORK.

What did work was changing the system language to another language and then back to English. It’s crazy, I know, but I verified the version number of the app I selected to test after the update and it was correct (re: most recent version).

Settings menu in iOS 8.3

See also: https://koukoupuffs.net/2014/10/12/problem-apps-on-ios-app-store-wont-update/ and its comments from other users for potential solutions if the above doesn’t work for you.

Temporary Workaround for the Problem of Apps Opening Instead of Updating on iOS App Store

Edit on Oct 14th, 2014: Please don’t comment on this post with “I have this problem as well”-type statements. It’s known that a lot of users are experiencing this. Thanks.

Update on Oct 16th, 2014: I originally posted that this problem affects multiple firmware versions but it seems to be a problem with any devices still using iOS 7.x. I’ve corrected that in my post. I also added some information dispelling stupid rumours and misinformation about being charged to update apps using the workaround.

Update on Feb 19th, 2015: I’ve been meaning to mention this and it’s probably NOT something people want to read but I no longer have this problem after updating to iOS 8.1.

Update on September 20th, 2015: I had a similar problem a few days ago where I just couldn’t update but instead of a useless Update button, everything was showing “Open”. I wrote about how I solved it in this post: http://wp.me/p1PZkv-1LO

~~~~~~

I am a victim of the mysterious anti-update problem that seems to affect iDevices — jailbroken or non-jailbroken — running any version of iOS 7 where tapping on the Update button from the Updates page will simply open the application. The Update All button is also greyed out despite the fact that I never turned on Automatic Updates.

Continue reading Temporary Workaround for the Problem of Apps Opening Instead of Updating on iOS App Store

Reviews of some iOS and/or Android apps~

Updated October 18th, 2014: Added a screencap of a review of Terra Battle and an revised review of Fable Age.

Updated September 4th, 2014: Added reviews for Manor Fable and Little Raiders: Robin’s Revenge. 😀

I guess I’ll make this post a repository for reviews that I submit to the App Store and Google Play. For some reason, they don’t always appear. I suppose they could have been rejected but when I see stupid useless 5-star reviews like “Because Kairosoft.” are accepted then I wonder why mine aren’t? Maybe it’s because I’m too honest and write down what I really think of the app?

Please note that I’m not linking to the pages of any of these apps on either iOS or Android stores unless they’re worthy of attention. 😛

Fable Age
Rating: star-ont

Terra Battle
Rating: star-ontstar-ontstar-ontstar-ontstar-ont

(Submitted to iTunes Canada)

A review of Terra Battle and a revised review of Fable Age
Click to see full version.

Hidden Object – Manor Fable
Rating: star-ontstar-ontstar-ont

(Submitted to Amazon Appstore)
This game is terrible to attempt to play through in one sitting. I’m on level 63 on Story mode and only 82% done. The problem with Manor Fable is that it reuses the same few scenaries. The only differences are the placement of some objects and the type of challenge you’re presented with when searching for them. For example, the game may just provide you with silhouettes of the items or write them out in text.

There’s also a match 3 puzzle mini game that serves to add to whatever plot the game has. Honestly, I just want to play the meat of it so I skip through all the dialogue scenes and the diary snippets you obtain from the mini game. I believe I would have cared about it more if the game brought back the story with more frequency instead of having the player randomly go through the same places repeatedly in between “cut scenes”. (Poor sleuths?)

Little Raiders: Robin’s Revenge
Rating: star-ontstar-ontstar-ont

(Submitted to iOS App Store)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that lengthy timers and “penalties” (re: units being knocked out means equipment breaking unless you have Unbreakable ones) exist to lure people into buying Ambers. In fact, growing the damn tree can take a while without them. At least there’s a ton of missions that’ll let you grind for materials and silver so there’s no need to restock those with premium currency.

Aside from the IAP trap, the game suffers from random crashes which loses game progression data when you load it again, a frustratingly annoying Wishing Well (I get way more weapons than shields and backpacks), and you can only invite Facebook friends? Kind of limiting the pool there.

GAMEPLAY TIP: For fun, I grew my tree through premium currency as you can buy them through the merchant and built facilities based on objectives not related to the “story”/map nodes. DO NOT DO THAT. If you have 2 Storage Warehouses and a Tavern, you will not have room for later facilities that you obtain through blueprints because the merchant will eventually run out of stock on Acorns.

Knights N Squires
Rating: star-ont

(Submitted to Google Play)
This game is seriously for little children or people with extremely low standards when it comes to defining a fun game. Knights N Squires is MIND NUMBING; you run down a single path from left to right slashing away at enemies. Sometimes you’ll throw in a block or a skill. There’s even an AUTO PLAY option cuz the game play is THAT simple. All the staples of freemium crap are here too like daily login bonuses, bringing along “friends” to help, lottery draws for allies, rare materials for upgrades, etc. There’s nothing innovative or interesting. Just cute packaging and a waste of time.

Star Trek Trexels
Rating: star-ont

(Submitted to iTunes Canada)
This should seriously be renamed Star Trek Notifications because that’s pretty much how it’s to be played …. UNLESS you have tons of money to spend on Dilithium Crystals so you can instantly finish everything. Otherwise, you’ll just be waiting and waiting AND waiting for facilities to finish building or upgrading, crew to finish retrieving artifacts or training, and probes to complete their scans of planets. So the natural way to play this is to assign crew to places and start construction on everything that you can and then exit the game. Once you receive notification(s) that something is done, THEN you can continue playing. What a joke!

Whatever happened to keeping players ACTIVELY engaged in a game? The only active thing you can do is shoot debris to replenish Command, Research, and Energy points. You may occasionally get Dilithium as well but the return on this mini shooting game is so small that it’ll take eons to build up stock that way.

Honestly, I don’t dislike the game THAT much to give it a 1-star rating. However, what I DO loathe is developers asking for 5-star ratings to inflate the app’s ranking at the store making it seem like it’s something worthy to be checked out. You want 5 stars? You EARN it, buddy.

The primary method of playing Trexel: relying on the notifications window!
The primary method of playing Trexel: relying on the notifications window!

Pocket Wizard: Magic Fantasy!
Rating: star-ont

(Submitted to Google Play)

This one's in the form of an image because I wanted to show the developer shrugging off my critique.
This one’s in the form of an image because I wanted to show the developer shrugging off my critique.

 

AppFeed.net: Monitoring Apps You want to Purchase

It may be that I’m not looking hard enough but I’ve yet to find any “window shopping” Android app that have a wishlist or watch list that’s capable of sending notifications when price changes occur. This particular feature is a staple of AppShopper which, unfortunately, will most likely forever remain an iOS-only application.

I suppose the mentality is that the majority of apps are less than $5 so the chances of someone NOT purchasing something right away is sort of rare. After all, who would chuck a 99-cent app into a wishlist instead of instantly hitting the Buy button?

The answer? Me. And probably a lot of other Android users too.

Throwing $1 at something I may not potentially like shouldn’t be a big deal, right? It’s still money though and I’d much rather be able to try out an app first before agreeing to being billed for it. There’s also another side to it where if it’s not anything I really want right away, I’ll just wait until it goes on sale. 😛

Yeah, I guess it simply boils down to me being cheap and loving free stuff.

Anyway, AppFeed.net is my only known way for keeping me in the loop about any changes on my Play Store wishlist. It’s Web-based (although there IS an app that’s currently in the beta stages) and incredibly simple to use! Just log in with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account and once you’re logged in, you can put whatever you want to be alerted on — even if the  app isn’t on your wishlist — by adding them to your Application list. The process can feel a bit tedious if you happen to have a long list of items since it requires you to manually copy and paste the store page URL of each app.

My AppFeed applications list
I only had 9 items so the whole copy and paste URL process wasn’t too bad.

If there’s one thing that’s lacking about AppFeed, it’s the fact that you can’t choose to have notifications via e-mail; only RSS feeds are available and don’t expect this to change any time soon. (The link leads you to an entry at the creator’s blog where he provides a method to get e-mail notifications.) These feeds are the way to keep abreast of any changes that may occur for the apps you want to monitor. There are several RSS feeds to choose from in the My feeds section. Once you select the one you want, it can be added to Google Reader or any RSS client.

The Dos and Don’ts of Seeking and Giving Reviews on the App and Google Play Stores

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece not some actual guide. 😛

—————

I’m certain I’m not the only person that’s annoyed at coming across useless reviews on the App Store and Google Play Store; you know, the ones that just read “5 stars! Instabuy!” or “This game is really fun!” or “Boring”. Is it really that difficult to give some constructive criticism or elaborate why you think the game is fun? I’m not sure about most folks but when I’m looking for opinions or any justification for purchasing an app, I want to some proper details. The chance of me getting something due to 10,000 5-star ratings and a bunch of reviews that consist mostly of “Great!” isn’t very high but I must admit that the high rating WILL get me to at least read the app description and take a look at the screenshots.

Yeah, I know there are sites dedicated to reviewing apps but why should I have to deliberately go to one of those when there’s a bloody section under each product information page dedicated to USER REVIEWS? A good review doesn’t have to comprise of  1,000 words. A simple list of pros and cons would do the trick. Honestly, I think  the section should be renamed to “USER COMMENTS” like on YouTube because that’s pretty much what they’re like.

What’s funny is that you’ll most likely get the stupid, pointless single-word reviews and such on apps where the developers ask for a review; especially if they offer some sort of incentive in return. Yes, there are developers that will BRIBE users to give them a 5-star or positive review. In fact, let’s get into the whole dos and don’ts now:

Developer Dos

  • Ask for a review after the user uses the app a few times

    Some devs honestly want feedback which is great because it’s an indication that they actually care what people think about their products. And it’s really great when the request for a review appears after using the app multiple times or an extended period of time. Why? Well, you’d most likely be familiar with it enough to write something meaningful that will help developers understand the needs and wants of their users to improve their works.  As well, you’d end up assisting fellow iOS and/or Android users to make the decision of whether or not they should install the application. After all, that’s the purpose of reviews, yes?

Developer Don’ts

  • Ask for a review right after you run the app for the first time

    You’re probably laughing at this but this actually happened. It’s hard to tell with this screenshot of Armageddon on Stick Guy but I kid you not that, before you can even hit Start, this bloody window pops up:

    Before you can even start playing the game ...
    PLEASE REVIEW IT … even before you play it!

    Yeah, I can see the “Review Later” button but how could they honestly hope that the “application satisfied” me when I didn’t even have the chance to play the game? No one can magically form an opinion before experiencing the product. Obviously, these guys didn’t grasp the concept of properly timing the request.

  • Ask for a 5-star rating

    Companies do this to inflate their ranking on the app stores, thus allowing them to be “featured apps” and also have more visibility on the apps charts. Besides, highly ranked apps are most likely to be downloaded/purchased. Com2uS USED to do this but have since gotten smart and changed their spiel to something like “Your positive reviews will keep us motivated!”. I think a lot of freemium-loving devs still pointedly ask for the 5 stars though.

    Yes, there WILL be people that actually like an app and will gladly rate it full stars. I realize that. But there’s also a fact that many users are just doing it because it’s specifically petitioning you to do so.

  • Ask for a positive/5-star rating in exchange for perks

    This is another example of rank inflation but this method is even more effective because the user gets something in return like virtual money to use in their games. You’ll find that many game developers that create games with in-app purchases practice this. And sadly, it works. The result, however, is the User Reviews section being flooded with inane and shallow insights like “Very good game! I like it!”. Some may mean it, most of them probably don’t and are only writing one for the goodies they get in exchange. Here’s an example of an honest review from this bribe tactic (which wasn’t written by me):

    I just wanted the coins
    “I just wanted the cash”

User Dos

  • Write critiques

    User reviews aren’t meant for praising the hell out of developers. If there’s something genuinely disrupting your enjoyment of the app, mention it. Chances are, there are other users like you and would like to know about the issue.

  • Edit reviews

    Opinions and experiences can change the more you use an app so one should consider modifying an existing review. For example, I’ve seen instances where people leave a review about bugs only to revise them later on after an update fixes the problems. It’s great that fellow users do this because sometimes, the change logs don’t have any information or just provide a generic “bug fix” statement.

    However, I wish more revisions would happen with those apps where the review request happens way too early like  in some roleplaying games. I mean, 5 minutes into it and you’re asking me to review it? Unless the total gameplay actually lasts 5 minutes and I’ve experienced all that it could offer, I refuse to write anything about it. Can you imagine professional reviewers basing their reviews on a few minutes of using an app? It just doesn’t make any sense.

User Don’ts

  • Submit absolutely unhelpful reviews

    “This sucks.”

    “dddddddddd”

    “This company always makes the best apps! 5 stars!”

    “I’m giving 5 stars even and I didn’t even start it!”

    “Yay!”

    “This game is good.”

    I think these account for a good majority of reviews in existence on every single app store. Notice how uninformative those quotes are? Yeah, I made them up on the spot but if I wanted to, I can probably dig up a few of these EXACT reviews from both the App Store and Google Play Store. About the “dddddddddd”, something like this usually comes about from those bribe type review requests. It’s a simple case of “Well, I can’t think of what to write/can’t be bothered to write something but I NEED to write something because I want those coins/points/diamonds/cash/gems since I can’t just rate it 5 stars”. (Actually, in a lot cases, you don’t even NEED to rate OR write anything. Just switch back to the game and the payment will be there. Also, you writing something into the review/comments field is not mandatory at either Store.)

  • “Add me”/Just leaving your referral code

    This relates to those semi-social/social games like Rage of Bahamut where the player providing the referral code and the player entering it will both benefit in-game in some way. I suppose it could be seen as helping out a new user but come on, there are A LOT of message forums dedicated to mobile games and there’s a good possibility that the developers have a forum for the game too. Do the code listing on those instead.

I suppose I should add some sort of conclusion. Basically, I wrote this up just to vent some of the frustrations I have regarding developers exploiting the review system and users just being dumb. When it comes to rating an app, reviews are OPTIONAL on BOTH the App Store and Google Play Store so if you don’t have anything marginally useful to say, just select the number of stars you want to give an app and, for the love of God, don’t write anything. If you have to, be honest and provide some information that other users can walk away with. For instance, if you really like something, explain why.

Restoring an iOS back up does not restore folders, home screen layouts but there’s a possible solution??

This was cross-posted from my Tumblr blog at http://phonering.tumblr.com/

THE PROBLEM

While the folders are definitely backed up, they won’t show up when you’re restoring from a back up because the third party apps themselves need to be available on the device for that to happen.

After all, folders only exist when you put two apps together and yes, backing up a device DOES NOT mean backing up those applications you purchased from the App Store.

(You will notice that if you placed the default apps that came with your device into folders, THOSE folders will show up after a restoration because those particular apps came with your iPhone/iPod touch/iPad.)

Third party applications are stored in the iTunes library and are actually backed up each time you sync your device with iTunes.  In Windows 7, their default location should be C:\Users\[your username]\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Mobile Applications.  (Please don’t ask me about where files are on an XP or Vista system or a Mac. I don’t own a Mac and while I DO have iTunes on my XP partition, my primary library is with Windows 7. And no, I don’t have Vista on any of my computers.)

Now, when you choose do a back up — that is, in iTunes Windows, right clicking on the name of your device and selecting Back Up — the following will be saved (taken from http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1766):

  • Contacts* and Contact Favorites (regularly sync contacts to a computer or cloud service such as MobileMe to back them up).
  • App Store Application data (except the Application itself, its tmp and Caches folder).
  • Application settings, preferences, and data.
  • Autofill for webpages.
  • CalDAV and subscribed calendar accounts.
  • Calendar accounts.
  • Calendar events.
  • Call history.
  • Camera Roll (Photos, screenshots, images saved, and videos taken. Videos greater than 2 GB are backed up with iOS 4.0 and later.)
    Note: For devices without a camera, Camera Roll is called Saved Photos.
  • In-app purchases.
  • Keychain (this includes email account passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, and passwords you enter into websites and some other applications. If you encrypt the backup with iOS 4 and later, the keychain information is transferred to the new device. With an unencrypted backup, the keychain can only be restored to the same iPhone or iPod touch. If you are restoring to a new device with an unencrypted backup, you will need to enter these passwords again.)
  • List of External Sync Sources (Mobile Me, Exchange ActiveSync).
  • Location service preferences for apps and websites you have allowed to use your location.
  • Mail accounts (mail messages are not backed up).
  • Managed Configurations/Profiles. When restoring a backup to a different device, all settings related to the configuration profiles will not be restored (accounts, restrictions, or anything else that can be specified through a configuration profile). Note that accounts and settings that are not associated with a configuration profile will still be restored.
  • Map bookmarks, recent searches, and the current location displayed in Maps.
  • Microsoft Exchange account configurations.
  • Network settings (saved wifi spots, VPN settings, network preferences).
  • Nike + iPod saved workouts and settings.
  • Notes.
  • Offline web application cache/database.
  • Paired Bluetooth devices (which can only be used if restored to the same phone that did the backup).
  • Safari bookmarks, cookies, history, offline data, and currently open pages.
  • Saved suggestion corrections (these are saved automatically as you reject suggested corrections).
  • SMS and MMS (pictures and video) messages.
  • Trusted hosts that have certificates that cannot be verified.
  • Voice memos.
  • Voicemail token (This is not the Voicemail password, but is used for validation when connecting. This is only restored to a phone with the same phone number on the SIM card).
  • Wallpapers.
  • Web clips.
  • YouTube bookmarks and history.

Back up data in Windows 7 is found in C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

So then, how does one get folders back onto the home screens again? A thread at the Apple forums suggests to restore the device from the same back up data twice in a row.

THE SOLUTION?

To do this, choose “Restore from Backup …” from the context menu (i.e. right click over your device name in iTunes), select the back up folder, let iTunes do its thing but when it starts to sync with your device, cancel it.

Once that’s done, repeat the restoration process again by selecting to restore the exact same back up data. This time, however, let the syncing finish.

Yes, in iTunes, the layout of the home screens is going to look all strange, with some of the folders you created seemingly missing and most of your apps thrown across multiple screens.  Heck, it was showing me *14* home screens — 3 more than the allotted amount. 😛

In the end though, my iPod touch 4G (running iOS 4.3.5) was completely restored (well, I’ve yet to try the apps and such but the folders, apps, and home screens certainly LOOK correct).

Now I’m just worried that my next sync is going to cause iTunes to throw the bizarre 14 home screens onto my touch because it’s still showing me the craziness. ^^;