If your iPad crashes do you lose your Apps?

The holidays and a whirlwind of other November – December happenings put my blogging on hold, however the work has moved forward. I experienced my first iPad wrinkle; my iPad refused to sync. It is difficult to determine what caused the problem, since there were two possible mitigating circumstances:
A – Memory too full.
My iPad had been giving me error messages for about a week prior telling me that I was critically low on memory and had to delete something
B – iTunes versions not updated.
At the time I was attempting to transfer my iTunes account from my netbook to my desktop. I had successfully loaded my iTunes account onto my desktop however when I tried to sync I was informed that I did not have the latest version of iTunes and needed to download this version onto my iPad. When I tried to do so the error message genie told me that I hadn’t yet saved my purchased books to my iTunes account. Once I had done that, the sync began but then stopped mid stream and gave me the error message that the device could not be read.

Was it possible that there was a buffer required to sync that my poor stuffed to the brim iPad just couldn’t handle since it was so low on memory? Was this happening because I was trying to sync to a new computer? Was this related to the upgrade in iTunes versions? Was this due to last night’s full moon?

To make matters worse all of this was happening as I tried to do a quick sync before packing my iPad on my way to jump in the car for a four hour drive where I would be facilitating an Arts Educator 2.0 meeting with my collaborative inquiry group. Did I mention the five inches of snow that had delayed my travel plans and left the driveway blocked by about 18 inches from the snowplow’s attempts to free our street?

Snow bound and iPad bound, I began with internet research checking out the forums. There are many possible causes for this problem, ranging from incompatible versions of iTunes to a faulty download of music or an ap.

The desktop did have me upgrade iTunes, was it possible that my desktop was operating under the newer iTunes version and my iPad lagged behind?

In addition, it seems that there were some problems with the iTunes version 9.1.075 which I had been using previously; especially when persons attempted to sync their iPhones. iPads behave a lot like iPhones in many ways and this was my first sync since downloading this newer version; could this be what was wrong?

No matter what the cause however, the answer was the same. A reset was clearly in order, but what data and aps would I lose? Forum posts were divided. Half assured me that resetting to factory settings definitely wiped all of your aps, half assured me they were preserved. I shoveled snow and ruminated, then finally packed the iPad as it was with a netbook to cover my bases and set off for my meeting, no longer snow bound but still iPad bound.

While at the meeting, advice from my colleagues at Arts Ed 2.0 reassured me that I wouldn’t lose my aps, and also affirmed that I had no choice but to reset the iPad. Luckily, prior to the big freeze I had downloaded the Dropbox app. I set about backing up memos etc. that I would likely lose. Then I connected the iPad to my netbook and attempted to access my iTunes account and sync using my netbook. The same message to restore appeared. With confidence I chose the option of restoring the iPad to factory settings only to see:

Curses! Foiled again! My iPad and I limped through the meeting, unable to download aps when my group shared their discoveries and unable to save recordings on my beloved Soundnote app.

Once I returned to my home base I tackled the problem once more. Reasoning that either circumstance A. “iPad memory too full” or B. “iTunes version not updated” had caused the problem, I mercilessly deleted whatever ap I could from my iPad after first taking screen shots and emailing them to myself. That should take care of circumstance “A”!

Next I tackled “B” by syncing the iPad with my desktop (as opposed to my netbook). This time I when I pushed “restore to factory settings” it worked. I was blessed with a bare naked iPad again. Miracle of miracles- the sync retrieved all of my purchased iBooks; but none of my aps. I hadn’t synced them correctly and none were in my iTunes account on my hard drive.

Back to the forums- where I found reassurance that I was on the right track in an article entitled “Update Temporarily Killed my iPad!” , still no conclusive answer to my burning question: If your iPad crashes do you lose your Aps?

After more unsuccessful and inconclusive hunting, I did what I should have done all along. I wrote to Apple for help. Within about an hour I received an email reassuring me that all was well and providing the following answer. If your iPad crashes and you haven’t been current in syncing your aps you still can retrieve them!

Dear Cory,

My name is Matt with the iTunes Store Customer Support and I will be more than happy to help you with your issue today. I understand that you are missing some of your apps. I know how eager you must be to get this resolved. You can redownload applications you have previously purchased from the App Store to your computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without incurring additional charges. If you are unable to find your application in the App Store, it may have been removed and no longer available for download. Please note that certain in app purchases cannot be downloaded again for free. For more information, please read:

iTunes Store: About in app purchases

To learn how to redownload previously purchased applications, please refer to the steps in this article:

How to redownload purchased apps from the App Store

If you have difficulty downloading any applications, please reply to let me know or consult this article:

Troubleshooting applications purchased from the App Store

If you have any more questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reply to this email.


iTunes Store Customer Support


Thank you Matt and Apple for such great service and a definitive answer! If your iPad crashes, even if you haven’t kept current on syncing – you don’t lose your apps!


About Cory Wilkerson

Cory is a Free Lance Arts Education Consultant working with Arts Ed 2.0 and Project Manager for State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education.
This entry was posted in iPad crash, Troubleshooting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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