Tuesday, August 3, 2010

iPod Tip Of The Day: How To Troubleshoot An App

I’ve always been happy with my music purchases from iTunes, and up til now, with my App purchases also. About a month ago I purchased and downloaded Raging Thunder 2, a racing game for my Touch. I had searched long and hard for games that would work on a 2nd gen touch running 2.2, as a large percentage of the games and Apps available in iTunes these days are designed for devices running OS 3 or later. I’ve been tempted to upgrade, but I’m of the mind that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

My fear is that both the 2nd gen Touch and the Apps I currently have were all developed for OS 2. There's been a lot of hardware upgrades to the Touch since the 2nd gen, and both OS 3 and 4 were developed essentially for a different device. Why should I take the risk of having a buggy, flakey iPod when it already performs like a champ? Nah, I've been burnt to many times by their upgrades. When OS 3 first came out there were all sorts of posts about Wi-Fi strength and battery life going down on 2nd gens that had been upgraded. Seemed the processor just wasn’t up to all the new tasks, which is probably why they replaced it in the 3rd gen devices.

OS 2.2 has been a solid version, and I’ve been quite happy with my Touch just the way it is. Sure, I’d like to unlock the Bluetooth capabilities, and also be able to play games head to head without having to pass the iPod back and forth, but these are small things I can live without, so for now I just look for Apps that are rated to run on 2.2, but they’re getting harder and harder to find. I saw on the product description for Raging Thunder 2 that it ran on devices running 2.2 or later, so I paid the 5 dollars and downloaded it.

It appeared to load correctly, but once installed, it wouldn't start. Just a brief black screen, and then I’m dumped back at the desktop. Since purchasing it, I’ve sent 2 messages to the manufacturer, reported the problem to Apple by clicking the report a problem link in my receipt, plus every time I try to open the App, the Touch wants to know if I'd like a bug report sent to Apple. The message says that someone from Apple will look it over and get right back to me. No sir, not true. It's now been a month and I haven't had a single response from either Polarbit or Apple. Guess I'm out 5 bucks, but it's not the monetary loss that bugs me the most, it's the lack of response. The App store and the manufacturer should at least acknowledge my complaints. My emails have been very polite and chock full of details, plus they have the bug reports, so I’m sure they know exactly what the issue is. Instead, I have to scour their knowledge base, and then try a long list of “maybe this will fix it” solutions. Oh joy.

There’s a 90% chance that my problem is either a bad download or a bad install, and Apple does let you download things again that you’ve already paid for. You just need to delete the App from your iPod, and also from iTunes, then you go to the App store and select it for purchase again. iTunes will prompt you that you already own it, and ask you if you’d like a replacement copy for free. Click here for the full procedure for troubleshooting/reloading an App.

The instructions also say that you should upgrade to the latest version of iTunes and the latest OS before you try to download it again. As I said before, I’m not interested in OS 4, but I am going to upgrade iTunes from 8.02.20 to 9.2.1. We have version 9 on both my laptop and my wife’s iMac, so I know its stable, plus 9 has a nice sharing feature. Once all of our machines are running 9 we’ll be able to move purchases between all authorized computers, which will save a lot of hassle.

Of course, before you upgrade, you should always sync your iPods and do an iTunes backup, just in case…

Man, this is turning into a huge project! It would be soooo much better if either Apple or Polarbit would confirm what I need to do, but it’s a self service world these days, so I better get started. I’ll let you know how I make out.

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