iPad Mini 4
#356 Henry, Sunday, 22 April 2018 1:37 PM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: apple ipad)

I have been using a 64 gig iPad Air (first generation) for a long time. It's been great. I've been really happy with it. But lately, it has seemed a little slow. And I'm going on a trip soon, and the iPad Air is a little large and unwieldy. I tried Anne's iPad Mini and it seemed okay. The screen is a little small and I'll need glasses to see it properly, but my eyes recently downgraded and I need glasses to see the iPad Air now, so going to the smaller size iPad would be okay. I decided to switch to an iPad Mini. I prevaricated, and looked at trade-ins and other options.

Finally yesterday, I took the plunge. I did a full password backup onto my MacBook Air. Then we went to the Apple Store and did the deal.

Trade In And Purchase

First step was the trade-in of my existing iPad Air. The Apple guy tested it, made sure it worked and was in good condition, made sure I owned it, and then offered me $120 for it. Good enough. The Apple website had indicated $130 some of the time, and $120 some of the time, so I was prepared to take $120. The advantage is that I don't have to make the effort to sell it on the open market. I might have got a bit more money, but this way I don't have to deal with Craigslist people or potential eBay cheats, and the deal happens immediately. So I accepted the offer.

The next step was getting the new device. I got a 128 gig iPad Mini 4. With Anne's educational discount, and the $120 off, it came to $412 after tax was applied. That's a good enough deal.

They switched the SIM Card from my iPad Air to the iPad Mini and my cellular connection came up immediately. Then we erased the iPad Air and they took it away. I was sad to see it go. It was a great device and had given great service. It worked perfectly.

And then we were done. The old iPad was gone, I had the new iPad Mini in my hands, and all that was left to do was get it restored. Although I was excited to get home and get the restore process started, Anne was not. So we had a cup of coffee and took our time. I did fiddle with the Mini. I got it started, and got my Apple ID into it. The iPad Mini 4 has fingerprints, so I set up my fingerprint. I also switched to a six-digit passcode. My setup on the iPhone is to use the passcode to get in to the iPhone and then use fingerprints inside it. I set the Mini up the same way.

Restore From Backup

Finally, the ordeal of coffee was over, and we went home. I started the restore from the backup. It refused. I had to upgrade the Mini to iOS 11.3 first. I went through the upgrade process and that took a long time. Then I did the restore. It worked. Mostly.

The apps were not saved with the backup. The data from the apps was mostly saved. After the restore, the apps had to be loaded from the app store. That took hours. The icons were in the right place, but they were grayed out. Some icons remained a pattern, and when I tapped them I was told that the app had been deleted from the App Store and was no longer available to me. Only thing I could do was delete them. I lost about six apps, mostly older games. They had been upgraded to 64 bit, but since that appocalypse, they had been abandoned.

I lost a lot of games in the big appocalypse when iOS forced the 64 bit change. Good thing I still have an old iPad 2 that can't be upgraded to 64 bit. I still have all the old apps on it, and I play them on it. It was worth $0 as a trade-in, so I kept it. I have an old iPad and a new iPad. Anne has an old iPad Mini 1, and a new iPad Mini 4. Her old one is worth $60 as a trade-in, but it's worth more to Anne to be able to play the older abandoned games.

I found that the new fingerprint and six digit passcode remained through the restore. I was curious about that, and now I know. So some settings remain through a restore.

A lot of apps required resetting and entering passwords. Apple Pay and my primary credit card wanted the CV code again. A lot of apps wanted the password entered but would then allow me to switch to touch id and fingerprint.

Bad Apps With Data

Some apps were really crappy and threw away all data. The two apps that irritated me the most were ComicFlow and iBooks.

ComicFlow is a comics reader. It threw everything away during the restore. My other comics reader - Chunky - preserved all its comics. These aren't subscription comics, these are scanned and preserved comics that I load into the apps. On the other hand, it's very easy to get comics back into ComicFlow in bulk, and I have loaded all the Sandman back in, and it's up and running again. Next time I upgrade, I must note that I must check ComicFlow.

iBooks (not to be trusted)

The big offender is iBooks. I knew it would happen, but I hoped it wouldn't. My hopes were dashed. I have had this happen before, so I should have been prepared.

iBooks assumes that all the files in it have come from the Apple Book Store, or you have them loaded into iTunes. And it assumes that after an upgrade you can load them all back again. So after a backup and restore, it throws away all books inside it and you are expected to reload them.

After the last time this happened to me, couple of years ago, I stopped using iBooks to read books. I use Marvin, which is a trustworthy app that will preserve the books inside it through a backup/restore, and GoodReader for PDFs. GoodReader also preserves its PDFs through a backup/restore. I will no longer read books in iBooks because of this inherent untrustworthiness. However, I had started using one facet of iBooks. When I am browsing, I sometimes come across articles I want to preserve. Once upon a time, I would save the link. But after thirty years of Internetting, you come to learn that links don't last forever. Blogs move, articles get deleted, articles get locked behind paywalls, websites just go away. If I want to preserve an article, I had started using an iPad feature in Safari. If you load the article in Safari, then tap on the export symbol, you can save the article to iBooks as a PDF. I had been doing this. I had hundreds of PDFs saved. They didn't exist in the Apple Store, they didn't exist in iTunes. They only existed in iBooks. And after the upgrade, they didn't exist at all.

When I started doing this "save to iBooks as PDF", it was hard to get these PDFs out of iBooks. I experimented a lot and eventually found two ways I could get the PDFs out of iBooks. First, I could email each of them out, one by one. I started doing that, but what a tedious task. That soon got abandoned.

Then I bought iExplorer, a Mac program that will let you pull some data out of your iPad. It's not bad, but the interface is a bit rough and it will shove the files wherever it can. I had made several backups of these PDFs. The latest backup I made put all the PDFs in with the Aplications on my Mac. That was a struggle to move them out. I have no idea what I did wrong. I should have made another backup with iExplorer before I traded in the iPad Air. Lesson learnt.

Readdle PDF Converter

So that finishes it for me. I won't use iBook at all ever again. It is inherently untrustworthy. I have recently bought an app called Readdle PDF Converter and it does much the same thing, but will export the PDF to Dropbox. So it's easier to get the PDFs out of the iPad. It's not as easy to create the PDFs.

With Safari, you can load a page then go to Reader View, and all the navigation and ads are stripped out and you get left with the core article. Then you can save as PDF to iBooks. That creates very clean article-only PDFs. The Readdle PDF Converter won't do that. If you are in Reader View, it will save the original page with all horrible junk attached. Their help pages show that you can strip it out by selecting only the text you want and then saving that as PDF. It works well enough.

I did go back to my latest backup of the PDFs but between what the Mac does as aliases and what is missing, I think I have lost them all.


So now I have my iPad Mini 4 all set up. I have an enormous amount of spare space, so I can load it up with more books and comics. It is slightly faster than my iPad Air was. The screen quality is about the same, I think. It's smaller and will travel much better. I have ordered an inCase soft case for it, just like the ones I have for the iPad 2 and the iPad Air. Everything is set up the way I want, it's working really well. I expect to get years of service out of it. The only downer is that the battery doesn't last as long. Physically smaller battery, I presume. I use

And best of all, I can now play Civilization VI on it. That wouldn't play on the older iPad Air.

All in all, very happy with my purchase.