Updates on the App Store: Pick a Number, Any Number.

See if you can find what’s wrong in the pictures below. The first is from iTunes on my Mac:

The next is from my iPhone:

Do you see it? Can you guess? It takes a sharp eye, but I’m sure my readers can figure it out. And while you’re at it, exactly how many updates do I have anyway? Is it three? Six? 16? The mind boggles…

This is not the first time these counts have disagreed. In fact, whenever I have updates they never seem to agree. But I must admit to being surprised at seeing 16 updates listed. Heck, I recognize four of them as having been download and synced/installed to the iPhone only yesterday!

I used to think there was a simple pattern here. That maybe whether you originally downloaded an app on the iPhone or Mac might have some bearing on the discrepancy. Or perhaps if you didn’t sync it by a certain time, resulting in potential timing issues between the various downloads and installations.

After today’s mess, however, I’m inclined to think this is a more involved bug. On the other hand, there’s every indication that Apple did release quite a few updates today. They also released an update to iTunes (7.7.1) that I’ve installed. Maybe those two events have something to do with this especially large discrepancy.

I went through each App in iTunes, doing a ‘Get Info’ and checking its version against the 16 alleged updates. Of those, seven were in fact newer versions. Seven, meaning even the number on the iTunes Applications badge (six) was wrong. Sheesh. Meanwhile, the iPhone’s three updates were also part of the seven above.

I download and installed all three the iPhone listed, and downloaded all seven on the Mac (even though this included the three on the iPhone). Then I synced the iPhone to install them all from iTunes. After the sync, iTunes and the iPhone agreed all my apps were up to date — despite only updating seven of the 16 apps it had just told me needed updating.

It remains to be seen if this will do any good. I wonder how many updates it will think I need tomorrow…

7 thoughts on “Updates on the App Store: Pick a Number, Any Number.

  1. Julian,

    Yes, I always keep the Mac and iPhone in sync. Further, I didn’t even get in to the times where the same app is listed more than once on the update screen. Strange stuff.

  2. Is every app on your Mac, on your iPhone as well?

    If not, there’s your answer.

  3. I don’t have much to say other than this happens to me also.

    It’s obviously a bug of some sort, but the sheer number of problems, bugs, etc., we have had to deal with lately from Apple is just getting way out of hand IMO.

    I can’t see as how Apple can *ever* solve it’s syncing problems until all the computers sync on the same schedule (some do it every minute, some every few seconds, some fifteen minutes etc.). I am no ace programmer, but it seems that simple logic would preclude anything staying in sync when different parts of the system poll at different times.

    Although I am not a programmer, I do have a rather high IQ though and have worked in tech (specifically Apple tech) for many years now, and I still cannot figure out the sync system that Apple has put in place. My iPod regularly has about ten or twelve mail folders listed on it (besides “in” and “out”), that I don’t want to be there, but no matter how many times I tell each computer to not save things like junk folders and drafts online, and to *not* sync those folders It still does it.

    I don’t feel, as a customer, that I really have any control over my syncing at all. Seriously.

    How is Mobileme supposed to help you out if you can’t control it? it seems like the only way it works at all is to accept all the defaults, store *everything* online and just do what Apple says.

    Silly me, I thought that an IMAP client was supposed to allow one to chose which folders are synced and which are not, and I thought the purpose of mobile access to ones data was to make things easier. Now I am stuck “managing” this overly complicated broken system trying to make it do what I want. 😉

  4. can report similar behaviour across my itunes / iphone.

    further i downloaded updates in itunes did a sync … and after syncing the iphone still says it needs the update which i installed manually on iphone as well

  5. TheMoitah,

    Yes, iPhone and iMac side by side on the same WiFi network.

    Incidentally, an App (even an update) isn’t checked for size until you OK the installation. Only then do you get a message that states it’s too large for the cell network, and requires WiFi. So its size has no bearing on the iPhone or iTunes telling you it needs an update.

  6. Maybe the reason is that the iPhone can only update large applications on Wifi, and not 3G or Edge, and that’s why it doesn’t show the applications it actually can’t update…

    Did you do this test on Wifi ?

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