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Data Sync

Starting with MyStuff2 5.0 you can have your data automatically synced between your own iOS devices using iCloud. This lets you see your data on all of your devices running MyStuff2.

With MyStuff2 5.5 you can also share a database with other users of MyStuff2.

Data sync is done through your iCloud account. You must be signed into your iCloud account on your iOS device and iCloud Drive must be enabled. If you do not have an iCloud acount you can create one, for free, on Apple's website at http://www.apple.com/icloud/.

iCloud is initially free but if your storage needs go beyond 5GB, Apple will charge you a monthly fee. Keep in mind that many other features of your iOS device may be using your iCloud account, not just MyStuff2.

Please note that all synced data stored in iCloud are encrypted using industry standard AES 256 encryption algorithms. The encryption is done in MyStuff2 on your iOS device before being sent to iCloud.

How do I setup an iCloud account?

In order to use automatic data sync in MyStuff2, you must first obtain an iCloud account. Then you need to setup that account in MyStuff2.

If you do not already have an iCloud account, please visit the Apple iCloud website and sign up for an account. An account is free and will provide enough storage for typical MyStuff2 usage. If your usage needs are large enough you may need to pay a monthly fee for more storage space in your iCloud account.

Once you have an iCloud account, you must setup iCloud on your iOS device (if not already done). Run the Settings app on your iOS device. Scroll down and select iCloud. If needed, log into your iCloud account.

Once you are logged into your iCloud account, make sure the iCloud Drive option is enabled. Without this option enabled you will not be able to sync your data in MyStuff2.

Tap on iCloud Drive. On the iCloud Drive screen, ensure iCloud Drive is enabled. Then scroll down to the list of apps and make sure MyStuff2 is enabled.

Once you are logged into your iCloud account and you have enabled iCloud Drive for MyStuff2, you need to setup MyStuff2 to use iCloud. Run MyStuff2 and go to the Tools screen then the Databases screen. The Databases screen has two sections. One for your databases and another for your server accounts.

There are two possible iCloud accounts you can add. One is iCloud Private and the other is iCloud Shared. You use the iCloud Private server account for a database you wish to share only with your own iOS devices. You use the iCloud Shared server account for a database you wish to share with other users of MyStuff2.

Depending on how you initially setup MyStuff2 when you ran it the first time, one or both of these server accounts may already be in place. If not and you wish to add one or both of them, you can add them by doing the following. Tap the Edit button on the Databases screen and then tap on Add Server Account. Select the type of account. Give the new account a name and save the new account. Tap the Done button on the Databases screen once you have finished adding the needed account.

Make sure it says "Current iCloud account" or it shows your name under the name of the iCloud server account. If it says "Not Logged In" then iCloud is not setup correctly. Go back through the above instructions and the Settings app and make sure everything is setup correctly. If MyStuff2 still shows "Not Logged In" for the iCloud server account, try force-quitting MyStuff2 and restarting it. If MyStuff2 still shows "Not Logged In" for the iCloud server account, try deleting and readding the iCloud server account.

Once the iCloud server account is in place, you can now setup one or more of your databases to sync via iCloud.

How do I sync a database between my own iOS devices?

The first requirement is to setup iCloud on each iOS device and add the iCloud Private account in MyStuff2. If you have not setup iCloud with MyStuff2 yet, please see the above question and enable iCloud and add the iCloud Private server account. Make sure each device is using the same iCloud account.

To sync an existing database tap the Edit button on the Databases screen. Then tap on the database you wish to sync. This brings up the Edit Database screen. The Account value should show a value of None at the moment indicating that it is a local (unshared) database. Tap on Account and choose the iCloud Private server account. Tap Save on the Edit Database screen.

You will now be asked to confirm that you wish to convert the local database to a shared database. Tap Yes to sync the database. At this point the database will be synced with the associated iCloud account. This process can take anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes depending on how much data, pictures, and item attachments are in the database. During this initial sync the database will be read-only. It is best to leave MyStuff2 running and active until the sync process completes. This means you should not let the screen turn off or use any other app. If you only leave MyStuff2 for a minute or two and come back then it should be OK. If you do leave MyStuff2 for more than a couple of miutes, the sync will likely be interrupted and the sync process will start over when you return to MyStuff2. This means it will take longer to complete.

Tap Done on the Database screen. Note that a synced database shows a lot more information than a local database on the Databases screen.

The synced database can now be accessed on any other iOS device running MyStuff2 as long as the other copy (copies) of MyStuff2 are setup with the same iCloud account. Please note that the other copies of MyStuff2 must also complete an initial sync of the newly shared database. Again, MyStuff2 should be kept running and active while this process completes.

Now any changes you make in one copy of the synced database will appear automatically on the other devices syncing the same database.

How do I stop syncing a database?

Go to the Databases screen. Tap the Edit button and then tap on the database you wish to stop syncing. The Edit Database screen will appear. Tap on Account and choose None. Tap Save on the Edit Database screen.

You will be asked to confirm that you wish to stop sharing the database. Keep in mind that the database will be converted to a local (unshared) database on your current device and it will be completely removed from all other devices it was synced with.

How do I share a database with other users of MyStuff2?

The first requirement is to setup iCloud on each iOS device and add the iCloud Shared account in MyStuff2. If you have not setup iCloud with MyStuff2 yet, please see the above question and enable iCloud and add the iCloud Shared server account.

When adding the iCloud Shared account you will be asked to allow MyStuff2 to look you up by email. This is required to allow a database to be shared between different users of MyStuff2. If you don't allow this lookup, another user of MyStuff2 will not be able to share their database with you.

To share an existing database tap the Edit button on the Databases screen. Then tap on the database you wish to share. This brings up the Edit Database screen. The Account value should show a value of None at the moment indicating that it is a local (unshared) database. Tap on Account and choose the iCloud Shared server account. Tap Save on the Edit Database screen.

You will now be asked to confirm that you wish to convert the local database to a shared database. Tap Yes to share the database. At this point the database will be synced with iCloud. This process can take anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes depending on how much data, pictures, and item attachments are in the database. During this initial sync the database will be read-only. It is best to leave MyStuff2 running and active until the sync process completes. This means you should not let the screen turn off or use any other app. If you only leave MyStuff2 for a minute or two and come back then it should be OK. If you do leave MyStuff2 for more than a couple of miutes, the sync will likely be interrupted and the sync process will start over when you return to MyStuff2. This means it will take longer to complete.

Tap Done on the Database screen. Note that a shared database shows a lot more information than a local database on the Databases screen.

At this point the shared database will appear on any iOS device running MyStuff2 and logged into the same iCloud account. To share this database with other users of MyStuff2 using their own iCloud account you must now invite the user and then they must accept the invitation.

To invite one or more other MyStuff2 users to share your database, tap the circled icon to the right of the database. From the menu that appears, select Manage User Sharing. This brings up the User Management screen. Initially this will show just you as the owner of the database. Tap the + icon at the bottom to invite another user of MyStuff2. A list of existing MyStuff2 users found in your Contacts will appear. Tap on the user you wish to invite. See the next question if the user you wish to invite doesn't appear. After confirming that you wish to invite the user, the User Management screen will update showing that person under the Invited section. Once a person accepts your invitation, they will appear under the Accepted section. If the person declines your invitation, they will under the Declined section.

If you wish to invite a person to share your database but they don't have MyStuff2, you can tap the email icon at the bottom of the User Management screen. An email screen will appear already filled out with an appropriate subject and message body containing details about obtaining and installing MyStuff2. Enter one or more recipients for the email. You may also customize the message if you wish by adding personalized information to the start of the message. Then tap Send to send the message to the recipients.

Any changes made to a database by the ower or any accepted users will appear automatically for the other users sharing the same database.

Why doesn't a person I wish to invite to share my database appear in the list?

In order for a person to appear in the list of possible people to invite to share your database, all of the following conditions must be met:

  1. They must have an iCloud account.
  2. They must be signed into iCloud on their iOS device.
  3. iCloud Drive must be enabled in their iCloud settings on their iOS device.
  4. They must have MyStuff2 5.5 or later installed on their iOS device.
  5. They must have added the iCloud Shared server account in MyStuff2 on the Databases screen.
  6. They must have allowed MyStuff2 to lookup them up by email. If this was denied this can be enabled through the Settings app. Run Settings app and go to iCloud then iCloud Drive. Then tap on Look Me Up By Email. Enable MyStuff2.
  7. You must have the email address of the person you wish to invite in your contacts on your iOS device. The email should match the email address used for the person's iCloud account.
How do I stop sharing a database with other users I've invited?

If you wish to stop sharing a database with everyone you've invited then you can change the database's account from iCloud Shared to None. This will make it so the database only exists on your current copy of MyStuff2 and it will be removed from all other user's devices.

If you wish to remove access to just one or more people, you need to delete them from the User Management screen for the database. Tap the Edit button on the User Management screen then tap the delete icon next to any accepted user. You can also uninvite an invited user by tapping the delete icon next to any invited user.

How do I share only certain categories or items in a database?

This can't be done. Sharing is done at the database level.

How can I limit what other people can do to a database I shared with them?

Currently, all users of a shared database can make any changes to the database as the owner with the following exceptions:

  • Delete the database.
  • Restore a backup over the database.
  • Invite other users.

A future update to MyStuff2 should support the ability to limit what other users can do to the shared database.

What actually happens when I share a database?

All databases in MyStuff2 are stored locally on your iOS device. When you choose to share a database, another copy of the data, pictures, and attachments are sent to iCloud. This data is then kept in sync between iCloud and all copies of MyStuff2 setup to share/sync the database.

When you make a data change in MyStuff2 on a given device, the changes are made locally and then the changes are sent to iCloud to update its copy of the data. As you use MyStuff2 on other devices (whether at the same time or later on), those devices are notified that there are changes and the updated data is downloaded to the other devices. The changes are then used to update the local copy of the data in MyStuff2.

Some of my data is out-of-sync. How do I get it back in sync?

As you can see from the discussion above about what happens when you share a database, data makes two trips. 1) From the original device used to make the change to iCloud, and 2) From iCloud to other copies of MyStuff2.

If either one of these two has a problem then your data will appear to be out-of-sync across your devices. MyStuff2 provides a few tools to help fix the problem if needed.

Fixing the data requires using the right tool on the right device. For the sake of this discussion, we will talk about a "source" device and "other" devices. The source device is the device used to enter data that isn't appearing on all of the other devices sharing the database. And the other devices are all of the other devices that should have received the data entered on the source device.

There are two possibilities: 1) Data entered on the source device does not appear on any of the other devices. 2) Data entered on the source device appears on some of the other devices but not all of the other devices.

For either situation, first make sure all devices are connected to the Internet so syncing can take place. And then be sure MyStuff2 has been given a chance to complete the sync process on all devices.

If the data entered on the source device does not appear on any of the other devices then run MyStuff2 on the source device and go to the Databases screen. Tap the circled icon to the right of the shared database. A menu will appear. Select "Update iCloud with Local". You will be asked to confirm the process. If you cofirm the action, MyStuff2 will then update iCloud so its copy of this database matches the copy in MyStuff2. This process may take some time to complete. Keep MyStuff2 running and active until this process completes. Once done, run MyStuff2 on the other devices and give them a chance to sync the changes. All devices should now show the same data for this database. If any of the other devices still doesn't have all of the correct data after completing this process, follow the steps in the next paragraph.

If the data entered on the source device appears properly on some devices but not others, then run MyStuff2 on each of the other devices not showing the correct data and go to the Databases screen. Tap the circled icon to the right of the shared database. A menu will appear. Select "Update Local with iCloud". You will be asked to confirm the process. If you cofirm the action, MyStuff2 will then update its local copy of the database with the contents of the data in iCloud. This process may take some time to complete. Keep MyStuff2 running and active until this process completes.

How do I avoid syncing over my cellular data plan?

MyStuff2 doesn't have direct support for WiFi-only data sync but you can setup your iOS device to prevent MyStuff2 (or any other app) from accessing data over a cellular connection.

Run the Settings app on your cellular iOS device. Then select Cellular. On the Cellular screen scroll down to the "Use Cellular Data For:" section. You will see a list of apps with a switch next to each one. Turn off the switch next to any app that you don't wish to use your cellular data plan to access data from the Internet.

Turning this off for MyStuff2 will ensure that data sync is only done when you have an active WiFi connection. And changes made to data while away from a WiFi connection will be synced once you get back to a WiFi connection.

Why is my database read-only?

There are times when a shared database will become read-only. You know a shared database is read-only when you see the following:

  • The cloud icon ☁ changes to the read-only icon ⊘ next to the database name on the Categories, Locations, Actions, and Tools screens.
  • The Edit button on most screens is disabled.
  • The + icon at the bottom of the item list screen is missing.
  • The Data Transfer screen doesn't have the Restore Data or Import Data options.
  • On the Databases screen, the database will have the 🚫 icon.

There are few reasons why a database is read-only. Below is a set of reasons and steps to take to resolve the issue.

You are not logged into your iCloud account
Go to the Databases screen and look at the iCloud account under the Server Accounts section. If it says "Not Logged In" between the account name and the status lights then you need to log into the account. Run the Settings app and select iCloud. Log into your account and ensure iCloud Drive is enabled. Return to MyStuff2. Once logged in the "Not Logged In" should change to show "Current iCloud account" and the shared databases associated with the account should have the text "Uknown" replaced with the account name.
The shared database is completing its initial sync
When you first share a database it must complete its initial sync before the database can be used again. The database should show some sort of status indicating that it is busy completing the sync. You need to keep MyStuff2 running and active (do not let the screen go dark) until the initial sync completes.
The shared database is in use by a newer version of MyStuff2
If MyStuff2 is updated to a newer version on one or more devices then any devices still using an older version of MyStuff2 may go into read-only mode. The database status will indicate "Newer Version". Simply update to the latest version of MyStuff2.

If none of those reasons seem to apply, please see the Where did the + button go? topic on the FAQ / Tutorials page.