Thursday, May 27, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Extracting Data From an Old iOS App Broken by iOS 14.5

Adam Engst:

I didn’t want any of the new features, so I dismissed the upgrade notice. The app didn’t nag me to upgrade again that I remember, so I kept using it with no problems, apparently for years. Until, that is, Apple released iOS 14.5, which somehow prevented Momento—now called Momento Classic—from launching. Uh oh.


When I downloaded the current version of Momento and tried to import data from Momento Classic, I got the same error dialog as when I tried to launch Momento Classic under iOS 14.5. Presumably, the new version needs to communicate directly with the old version to import data.

One of the downsides of iOS is the lack of flexibility to deal with situations like this. You can’t revert your device to an earlier version of iOS. You can’t download files from an iCloud backup. Engst was able to use a third-party app to extract the database file from a local backup, but he wasn’t able to copy it back to the iPhone to import it into the app.


Update (2021-06-05): Adam Engst:

After I published this article (but before it appeared in a TidBITS issue, after which we don’t make changes), Steve Nicolai left a comment saying that he had solved a similar issue with an old app refusing to launch under iOS 14.5 by offloading and reloading it. Initially, I read that as deleting and reinstalling. In a test with Momento Classic on my iPhone 11 Pro, I confirmed that he was correct, but deleting the app erased its data too. Data loss aside, this was a significant step forward, since it brought a previously inaccessible app back to life in situ.

Then Steve set me straight. He was referring to the process of offloading an app to save space, which you do in Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top to search for the app you want, tap Offload App, tap Offload App again in the prompt, and once it has been removed from your iPhone, tap Reinstall App. When I did that with the NME Digital app, it came back to life!


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