Questions about using sync'd Mac and iPad

boreham's Avatar

boreham

15 Oct, 2021 08:07 AM

Can I ask the wonderful experts here some questions that affect my future equipment buying. The context is that I currently have two computers and an iPad, which gives great peace of mind about a computer failure. I am thinking of only having one computer and an iPad, depending on the answers to the questions below.

Hypothetical situation:-

I am happily using Moneydance on a MacBook and a sync'd iPad.

One day the computer dies suddenly.

I carry on using Moneydance on the iPad. (Because I have three sets of accounts it would be necessary to disconnect/reconnect from Dropbox to be able to keep updating all three).

After a month (say) I get a replacement MacBook and install Moneydance on it.

Questions:-

  1. If I set up the new MacBook from a backup of the old one, and turn on sync, would it pickup the missing month, or would the restored backup overwrite the latest syncstore, and the missing month would be lost?

  2. If I did not restore a backup to new MacBook, would new MacBook detect the Dropbox syncstores and have all the missing month's transactions on it?

  3. In case 2, would the new MacBook also have all my 19 years of data, which was on the failed MacBook, but not the iPad of course? I think the answer would be yes, since I think the syncstores contain all data from which iPad picks what it can use.

  4. In cases 1 and 2, Would the new MacBook automatically be Primary?

  5. During that month with only the iPad, is there any way of making a Moneydance backup file. The whole iPad is backed up but that isn't quite the same.

Any other considerations I have missed?

Thanks very much.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Maddy on 15 Oct, 2021 10:43 AM

    Maddy's Avatar

    Hi,
    Thank you for contacting Moneydance support.

    Firstly, please note it will not be possible to rely on your iPad alone as this requires running the Mobile App and the Mobile App is not standalone (yet). The Moneydance mobile app is a free companion to the desktop version of Moneydance, as outlined here.

    In conclusion, the safest way to go about it would be Moving your data to the new computer before dismissing the older machine.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions or need more assistance.

    --
    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  2. 2 Posted by boreham on 15 Oct, 2021 11:01 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks OK that seems to settle matters.

    If the Computer dies, the mobile app on the iPad will NOT be able to record new transactions in the period between the computer dying and being replaced.

  3. 3 Posted by dwg on 15 Oct, 2021 08:33 PM

    dwg's Avatar

    Well technically it will but it can get messy getting everything back the way it needs to be.

    From a Moneydance backup it is not possible to restore a functional syncing setup - one of the things Moneydance backup does it disable syncing (for very good reasons). So it is necessary to setup the new system as a secondary system, break syncing, then convert it to a primary standalone system then re-setup syncing.

    It is technically possible to restore a functional syncing system from a system level backup, but you need to understand the system setup very well and have the new system setup the same as the old, it is something the experienced could try, and you still had better have a good backup tucked away.

    Even using the standard Moneydance approach given above you had still better have a good backup, the approach is not designed as a restore option but in general can often be successfully employed.

  4. 4 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 15 Oct, 2021 08:44 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    To add… yes you can setup a new computer from a sync copy. To do this you do file, new, open sync copy.

    BUT. It depends if your sync copy is good / whole. More recent versions of md sync all data but older versions didn’t. It’s quite a good idea to break syncing and set it up again so you know you have a good sync. But I would not rely on this, I would prefer a backup as dwg says.

  5. 5 Posted by boreham on 15 Oct, 2021 10:09 PM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks very much all for the replies. I think I have probably heard enough to know that using the iPad alone as a stop gap between machines is not a sound policy, is not supported and while it might work, is risky.

    Some specific points on the replies:

    Maddy wrote:
    "In conclusion, the safest way to go about it would be moving your data to the new computer before dismissing the older machine".

    My question is all about the scenario where my sole computer dies/is stolen/lost. If that happens an option would be to rush out and buy a new one, and restore from backup of the failed/lost one. The hypothetical one month with iPad alone was to allow time to obtain a replacement without pressure.

    dwg wrote:

    "From a Moneydance backup it is not possible to restore a functional syncing setup - one of the things Moneydance backup does it disable syncing (for very good reasons). So it is necessary to setup the new system as a secondary system, break syncing, then convert it to a primary standalone system then re-setup syncing".

    I think I can do those steps, if there was high confidence that my desired end result would be achieved, ie all my 19 years of data including the data from iPad-only month. My concern is that newly restored data would overwrite the sycnstore and the missing month would be lost.

    Stuarts reply:

    "BUT. It depends if your sync copy is good / whole. More recent versions of md sync all data but older versions didn’t".

    I only use latest versions of everything so limitations of old versions wouldn't apply.

    "But I would not rely on this, I would prefer a backup as dwg says"

    Naturally but I wouldn't have a backup which included the missing month.....unless I could restore the last backup from the lost machine, turn on sync and it would pick up the missing month from the syncstore......my original question 1.

    Since the situation is not forced on me I will either keep two machines, or accept that I would have to get a replacement quickly if one died/was stolen.

    Thanks again.

  6. 6 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 16 Oct, 2021 08:04 AM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    Daily backups are your best bet. In fact, why not backup to Dropbox or something like this? Then your backups will be safe in the cloud?

    You can also test anytime…. File / new / open sync copy as a test. When you are done, just file/open the original file.

    (Not support, just a fellow user)

  7. 7 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 08:23 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks Stuart, yes I already backup more frequently than daily, with backup location on Dropbox. But that won't be any help in the scenario I was exploring, unless you can tell me different.

    The problem would be that if I didn't replace the failed mac immediately but carried on just using the iPad for new transactions, the backups on Dropbox will be out of date, unless:
    either:
    -there is some way of creating a backup from the iPad (my original question 5)

    Or
    -when I restored the month old backup and turned on sync the new mac picked up the new transactions made on the iPad. (My original question 2).

    I am ready to give up on this idea unless you think I am misunderstanding. Thanks for all the inputs.

  8. 8 Posted by dwg on 16 Oct, 2021 08:37 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    -there is some way of creating a backup from the iPad (my original question 5)

    There is no way I know of to create a Moneydance Backup on a mobile device

    -when I restored the month old backup and turned on sync the new mac picked up the new transactions made on the iPad. (My original question 2).

    This cannot be done because the restored backup cannot connect to the original synced data. This is by designed as a backup has to be able to recover from a variety of issues, for example if it did what you wanted and there was corrupted data the corrupted data would overwrite the good in the backup.

    The only way to potentially use the syncing data is to install Moneydance on a machine then use the File New Opened synced data to build a secondary system from the dropbox data. To do it properly you then need to turn this newly created secondary system into a primary then rebuild the syncing relationship up from this.

  9. 9 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 09:20 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks dwg.

    I understand about syncing being disabled after a restore from back up, but is it not possible to turn on sync when the restore is completed?

    My questions were about what then happened.

    Either the restored Mac would create a new syncstore which would overwrite the existing one (which contains the missing month)
    or it would find and use the syncstore on Dropbox, and the missing month would be synced to the new Mac.

    Sorry to keep on with the questions!

  10. 10 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 09:22 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    dwg wrote
    The only way to potentially use the syncing data is to install Moneydance on a machine then use the File New Opened synced data to build a secondary system from the dropbox data. To do it properly you then need to turn this newly created secondary system into a primary then rebuild the syncing relationship up from this.

    As I said before I think I would be able to do these steps....but would it work? This sounds like the answer I was hoping for.

  11. 11 Posted by dwg on 16 Oct, 2021 09:55 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    Yes it should work and has been done successfully in the past, but at this level of use it is considered a Disaster Recovery technique, so it does not have a 100% guarantee.

  12. 12 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 10:08 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks very much dwg.

    As I said I don't think I want to rely on it working, so will either continue using two Macs or accept that if I go down to one Mac I would need to replace it quickly and restore form back up to maintain continuity of Moneydance data.

    There are a lot of other reasons for having two Macs. This is only one factor in the situation.

    Thanks again

  13. 13 Posted by dwg on 16 Oct, 2021 10:14 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    The bottom line is that currently mobile devices are considered companion devices only, and in my view it is best to treat them as such.

  14. 14 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 10:23 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    Yes. One of the drums I have beaten a few times via feature requests is for a full fat Moneydance available for iPad.

    A couple of years ago I flirted with Moneywiz which has fully syncing full versions on iPad and Mac, but I am too rooted in Moneydance to make this switch, and went back to Moneydance after a month. As iPads capability continues increasing and some people stop using computers MD may start losing customers without an iPad version.

  15. 15 Posted by dwg on 16 Oct, 2021 10:29 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    Alas without Java on IOS and Android it requires a rewrite of Moneydance for these platforms, not a small undertaken to do this.

  16. 16 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 10:35 AM

    boreham's Avatar

    I can see that is a big issue.

    The last time I asked was here:

    https://infinitekind.tenderapp.com/discussions/suggestions/13704-da...

    The reply is not very encouraging, in the light of what you say.

  17. 17 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 16 Oct, 2021 01:49 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    PS - FYI - There is a procedure whereby you can restore a .moneydancearchive file and retain the Sync settings.. In essence the file is actually a ZIP file.. It can be manually unzipped and then the dataset opened in MD as normal.. As the sync settings are preserved, then Sync would immediately fire up. This comes with BIG WARNINGS.... You have to know that this is what you intended to do, else you may have issues syncing data you didn't want to and then potentially updating the sync data in ways not intended.... This is why the std restore resets the sync settings upon restore... So, only attempt this if you really know what you are doing.....!

  18. 18 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 01:58 PM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks Stuart. Would that mean that if I did that (instead of a normal restore) the new Mac would pick up the missing month from the syncstore?

    I think I won't risk putting myself in this situation, but interested to understand.

  19. 19 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 16 Oct, 2021 03:03 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    Yup it should.... Your restore should recognise that its sync data is older than the Dropbox sync data and apply the more recent changes..... But as I say, only technically capable / advanced users should try this....!

  20. 20 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 16 Oct, 2021 03:12 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    Clarification... When you say "(instead of a normal restore)", do you mean a normal Time Machine restore.... or do you mean the MD File/Restore from backup..?

    So, if you are talking about Mac Time Machine, or other similar backup/restore, then you can forget all of the above, and just restore, and it will pickup and start syncing again...

    If you are talking about MD File/Restore from backup, then my comments above about unzip apply... It's this process where the normal MD restore wipes out the Sync settings....

    (not support, just a fellow user)

  21. 21 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 03:38 PM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks very much Stuart.

    Can I just confirm my understanding of the two situations in your last post:

    Case 1. "So, if you are talking about Mac Time Machine, or other similar backup/restore, then you can forget all of the above, and just restore, and it will pickup and start syncing again..."

    and

    Case 2. "If you are talking about MD File/Restore from backup, then my comments above about unzip apply... It's this process where the normal MD restore wipes out the Sync settings...."

    Case 1 is what I would want to do. This would be use the unzip moneydancearchive file/open dataset, and sync would find the latest current .moneydancesync file, with the missing month's transactions. Why did you say "then you can forget all the above, and just restore" in that sentence?

    Case 2 is the normal File > Restore from Backup....which would wipe out the latest .moneydancesync file with a new one and the missing month would be lost.

    (I feel I may have these two the wrong way round, but the second one, which mentions the unzip method also says it would wipe out the Sync settings)

    I take note of the "only technically capable / advanced users should try this....!" comment.

  22. 22 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 16 Oct, 2021 04:12 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    Case1: Time Machine restore.... You would not even have to touch or unzip a .moneydancearchive file.... You would just restore your xxxx.moneydance folder/dataset and away you go... It would pick up and carry on syncing... Unless you are restoring an MD backup from the TimeMachine backup - in this case you are on case2 below...

    Case2: MD File/Restore from Backup does not actually wipe out sync data... that would still be there... BUT - this restored dataset could not see the old sync data... It would want to set up a new sync relationship....

  23. 23 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 04:22 PM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks again.

    So I would use a moneydancearchive file from my Dropbox backups, I would unzip it and open the dataset on the new computer, then syncing would connect with the existing latest .moneydancesync file and my missing month's data would be there.

  24. 24 Posted by Stuart Beesley ... on 16 Oct, 2021 04:51 PM

    Stuart Beesley - JUST A FELLOW USER and Toolbox ‘guy’'s Avatar

    Assuming your dropbox backups are from the MD auto backup or File/Export backup that would create xxxx.moneydancearchive file(s) in Dropbox (you need to set up your preferences to do this)... then YES - That's the theory... Up to you if you want to go down that route

  25. 25 Posted by boreham on 16 Oct, 2021 05:03 PM

    boreham's Avatar

    Thanks.
    Yes, my auto backups are set in Prefs to go to a folder on my Dropbox.
    As I said, I am inclined at the moment to stay with two computers (for lots of reasons) so I would not need to go down this route. Still mulling though. Good to know about the option. If I did at some point make use of it, and it went pear-shaped, the worst that would happen is that I would have to input the missing months transactions manually. Laborious but not prohibitive.
    Thanks again.

  26. Maddy closed this discussion on 26 Oct, 2021 09:50 AM.

Comments are currently closed for this discussion. You can start a new one.

Keyboard shortcuts

Generic

? Show this help
ESC Blurs the current field

Comment Form

r Focus the comment reply box
^ + ↩ Submit the comment

You can use Command ⌘ instead of Control ^ on Mac