How To Sync Strip Data Across Multiple Devices

2011-10-09 20:00:00 -0400

A thing that is confusing some new customers of Strip is that replicating your data is not something that iTunes will accomplish when you sync your device. You can’t simply sync two iPhones with Strip to the same copy of iTunes in order to get the data on the two exchanged. Instead you have to avail yourself of sync features we’ve built into the apps, and they can be used in several scenarios, which we’ll discuss below.


When we originally published Strip for iOS in 2008 (then it was iPhoneOS), it was stand-alone software which presented two pressing problems. The only option for backing up your data was to use the iTunes backup feature while keeping your fingers crossed, and there was no way to share or replicate your Strip database with another device (e.g. have your passwords on both your iPhone and your iPod Touch or iPad). We needed to solve these problems before we’d have the chance to build a full desktop port for Mac and Windows, so we created the free utility Strip Sync as our backup and replication solution. In the time that’s passed we’ve finished our ports of Strip for Windows and OS X, and they will eventually replace Strip Sync, which will be discontinued. Strip for Windows and OS X handles data replication in exactly the same way as Strip Sync, so we will only refer to Strip in the rest of this article.

Please note: copies of Strip that you wish to keep in sync must share the same password.

Desktop WiFi

Desktop WiFi sync is controlled by the mobile devices connecting to the desktop. All you should need to do on the desktop side is log in to Strip and leave the app running, it will advertise the sync service on your local WiFi network and await connections. With Strip running on your desktop, you initiate sync by launching Strip on your iOS device, selecting your computer on the sync screen, and tapping a button to start the operation.

These are the basic steps:

  • Launch Strip on your desktop and login, leave it running
  • Launch Strip for iOS on your iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad
  • Tap on the sync tab
  • Make sure Operation is set to Sync (not Overwrite or Restore)
  • Make sure mode is set to Desktop WiFi
  • Tap the Computer setting
  • Select your desktop from the list of computers
  • Tap the Start Sync button

When you sync, you are not simply creating a backup (although the effect with the initial sync is similar to a backup), you are creating and maintaining a replica of your data. All changes on your iPhone are sent to the desktop, and all changes known to the desktop are passed to the iPhone. You can then initiate the same process from another iOS device (e.g. iPad) and the process is repeated—changes from both the desktop and your iPhone are passed to the iPad, and changes from the iPad are sent back to the desktop.

The network connection itself is a simple, unencrypted TCP connection. The encrypted database files are exchanged over this connection after successful completion of HMAC authentication.

It’s important to use the basic, default sync operation, which exchanges all changes on each end of the sync. Overwrite and Restore operations are available, but they should be used rarely, only for restoring lost or corrupted copies of Strip. When a device is over-written, any changes local to that device are lost.

Our sync service is a network-based one, it assumes the user has a WiFi network, and that both the mobile device(s) and the desktop computer are on that same network and can communicate freely. While this works for the large majority of our customers, it is unfortunately not always the case with a lot of home networking setups. There exists such a plethora of networking devices and configurations that it’s impossible for us to recommend settings that will always work. If you end up having trouble, do get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to help you adjust things as necessary. Meanwhile, we’re working on providing new means of sync to do an end-run around home networking, such as the Dropbox Sync covered below.

Dropbox Sync

Starting with Strip for OS X 1.2.0 and Strip for iOS 1.6.0, support for sync via Dropbox is available. On the first sync to Dropbox, Strip creates an encrypted replica of your data and stores it in your Dropbox account. No encrypted data is stored in plain-text or decrypted in your Dropbox account. On every subsequent attempt to sync, Strip downloads a copy of the encrypted replica, exchanges all changes between the replica and your local database, and then replaces the copy out on Dropbox with the updated replica.

These are the basic steps to sync with Dropbox in Strip for iOS:

  • Launch Strip for iOS on your iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad
  • Tap on the sync tab
  • Set the Operation row to “Sync”, Not Overwrite or Restore!
  • Set the Mode row to “Dropbox”
  • Tap on the Account row to sign in to your Dropbox account
  • Tap the Start Sync button

Similar to WiFi sync, the replica on Dropbox serves as an intermediary between your devices, including the desktop. In direct contrast to our WiFi/Network sync above, you don’t need Strip on your desktop to keep your iOS devices in sync. In addition, if you are thwarted by home networking troubles, you’ll find Dropbox sync a breeze. This is because almost all modern routers and firewalls allow your computer to initiate unfettered connections to remote machines on the Internet over HTTPS.

Syncing with Dropbox for Strip for OS X is quite easy:

  • Launch Strip on your Mac and log in
  • Go to the Sync menu and select “Sync with Dropbox” (Shift+Command+D)

Note: Sync with Dropbox requires that your various instances of Strip share the same password. Strip uses HTTPS to communicate with Dropbox over the Dropbox API, it does not make any unencrypted connections to Dropbox.

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