After another one of those fairly long pauses, we have another somewhat major JuicePhone update ready for you, version 2.3. In this release, we’re introducing a brand new feature called mirroring.
Extracting a backup can be very helpful, but if you just want to look at the content of a single file with mountains of other data in your backup, waiting for all those files to copy can become extremely cumbersome. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just access the backup’s contents without actually extracting and copying everything out of it? Well, that’s exactly what you can do with mirroring! As opposed to duplicating the backup files in the normal extraction process, this feature only creates links for every included file, which makes the extraction process faster and saves a lot of disk space at the same time. You can choose between using “soft” and “hard” links (more info on that inside JuicePhone’s Preferences). However, you have to be a little careful— if you make changes to any files in a mirrored backup, they are actually applied to the backup itself, not just a copy of it. Also, if iTunes creates a newer backup of the device, the contents of already-existing files will be updated, but new files won’t be added to the mirrored backup. For completing such a simple task as mentioned in the beginning, this shouldn’t be a problem though, so we’re confident that mirroring will make handling backups more convenient for many of you.
We’ve received multiple requests for adding the ability to modify backups. We certainly haven’t forgotten about this, and mirrored backups are a step in that direction as well. Of course, we’re still far away from offering an easy, foolproof way to modify and (re-)assemble backups, since you can neither add nor delete files by accessing a mirrored backup, and iTunes may refuse to restore certain modified mirrored files, but the feature could possibly help you achieve some of your personal goals ;). As for a genuine modification feature, we aren’t completely sure yet how to technically implement this as an automatic, safe, and user-friendly process. In addition, we’re working on another project at the moment that we hope to release together with iOS 5.
Speaking of which, a second, relatively invisible, but nonetheless important feature of JuicePhone 2.3 is full iOS 5 compability. Like in every major iOS release in the past, Apple once again made some changes to the format of their backups. Thankfully, we are members of the iPhone Developer Program and therefore have access to pre-release builds of the new software, and we were able to figure out how that new backup format works. We’ve streamlined the decoding process for both iOS 4 and iOS 5 backups, and removed some performance bottlenecks while we were at it. So, as soon as you take the plunge and update your devices, JuicePhone will be set to do its job — as usual. (Please note that as of now, we were only able to test backups from iOS 5 beta 2, but we strongly doubt that Apple will make further changes regarding backups.)
All in all, we hope you’ll find some of the new features useful. Also, happy Independence Day to our American audience!