SmugMug iOS App: suddenly lost site/folder passwords and cache

Martin1Martin1 Registered Users Posts: 7 Big grins
SmugMug iOS App (version 3.4.6) is suddenly forgetting the following data:
- site viewing password
- folder password
- all offline image data
- offline album settings

This is very annoying, because the passwords are difficult to remember. Imagine your favorite E-Mail App would loose your password and cached emails suddenly. Would you be happy with that?

Furthermore it is cumbersome to turn on offline mode again for these many albums. Unfortunately it is impossible to set offline mode for a folder and everything the folder contains (filed a feature request for the SmugMug iOS App).

I don't know exactly for what reason the SmugMug iOS App is forgetting the above mentioned data. It's not only after an iOS upgrade. It is happening suddenly for no reason visible to me. Maybe after changes in your cloud setup?

Anyway, please improve your iOS App so it will never forget the above mentioned data. I see that problem again and again after some weeks at three iOS devices having plenty of free memory.
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Comments

  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,744 Many Grins

    Hi Martin,
    We’ve heard a few other reports of the offline content getting lost but so far nobody has been able to provide us with some clarifying details. I’d love it if you could help us out a little more...

    1) for passwords, are you trying to access your own photos or someone else’s? As an owner you should never be prompted for passwords.

    2) for offline content, when you say “forgotten” - what exactly do you mean. If you’re in airplane mode or without internet the photos don’t load? There’s no offline icon underneath the thumbnails? The gallery is no longer set to be accessible offline (it should have green text if it’s still on).

    3) for “offline settings” could you elaborate on what you mean by this? We don’t currently have a feature that saves settings offline.

    4) for offline photos, how recently did you confirm that the photos were available offline for that device? I’ve noticed when I upgrade devices I have to go back to the gallery for them to “download”, but once I’ve done that, they’ve always been available.

    5) for offline photos, did you update or replace any of the the photos recently?

    6) could you share more details about your devices? Which ones, the operating system AJ’s how much free memory you have, and how much offlinencontent you have (the SmugMug settings should show you) (I know you said you had plenty but a few more details may help. I also know you said you were using 3.4.6 of the app).

    For what it’d worth, I have several gigabytes marked offline on both my personal and test devices and I haven’t seen them lose their offline. It’s one of the most useful features of the app and I’d love to make sure it’s working properly.

    (Nothing on the servers should be impacting the feature. Offline content is stored locally on the device and our servers aren’t aware of that)

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Martin1Martin1 Registered Users Posts: 7 Big grins
    Hi Aaron,

    thanks for the fast and detailed reply. I'll do my best to provide further clarification and details.
    1)
    I'm *not* logged in at the SmugMug iOS app. I'm *following* myself or my friends are *following* me without being logged in at the SmugMug iOS app. My site is protected by a "Site Viewing Password". And one folder is protected by a "Folder Password".
    (I know there are other ways to control sharing but this is not the topic here.)
    2)
    When user wants to access the site he is following, he is asked for the "Site Viewing Password". This should happen only the first time, after the app is installed fresh or the device is wiped or the cache is cleared using the button in the app settings. But in our case the prompt for the "Site Viewing Password" shows up again suddenly after some weeks. Don't know why.

    At the same time the "Available offline content" is lost, saying 0 MB. I can see this in the Settings dialog of the App. But nobody pressed the button to Clear the Cache in the settings dialog. It happens suddenly for no obvious reason.

    When user types the "Site viewing password" again, he can see the folders. Afterwords the prompt for folder password has to be answered again.
    Now user can enter the folder and the albums in it. The setting "Access These Photos Offline" for the albums is no longer green. It had been green before.

    3) "Offline setting" is my not very exact wording. The setting "Access These Photos Offline" == "on" is stored locally at the device in my opinion for every album. This setting is lost, when the cache and the passwords are lost.

    4) The offline photos have a small checkmark symbol in the lower right corner. The offline albums have that checkmark in the upper right corner.

    5) Yes, the contents of the albums with offline checkmark are changing sometimes! (I'm using Lightroom 6.13 with Official SmugMug PublishService plugin 3.1.6 with SmartGalleries with jfriedl's MetaData-Wrangler ... and sometimes I trigger a publish.)
    Of course some photos are added, some are removed, some are modified (content or metadata). Furthermore the order of albums in a folder might change, because they are sorted by "last modified".
    Do you think all these updates could "confuse" the SmugMug iOS App caching and cause the problems? Maybe there is some correlation between certain album updates and loss of SmugMug App cache.

    6) Two iPads 2018 with 128 GB Mem, one iPhone 6 with 64 GB Mem. Problems on all these devices. The iPads have 100 GB free memory. SumMug App available offline content at iPad currently is 3,09GB for 3947 photos in 14 albums.

    I'd love it too if issue could be found and fixed. Don't hesitate to ask further questions. Is there some hidden debug logging mode I could turn on in the app?
  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,744 Many Grins

    Thanks for the super detailed response @Martin1! This will be super helpful as we try to reproduce the issue. It's especially handy for me to know that the app is actually losing the setting (not just the photos). Having the gallery appear as if it was never marked for Offline sounds like it might lead us to the resolution. I'm passing along to the team now!

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • AlanGAlanG UKRegistered Users Posts: 4 Big grins
    Hi
    I have a similar issue i think to Martin. I set up an area for my clients to view their photos. These are protected by a password. the settings for the folders are: visibility - public, access - people with password. The client is using an IPAD and the smugmug app. they access the photos the first time ok. but within a couple of weeks they have to reenter the password. This is becoming more frustrating, especially for those customers who require to access many different areas. I feel that there must be something set up incorrectly. can you help? it also happens on two different iPads.
    Many thanks
    Alan
  • AllenAllen "tweak 'til it squeaks" St. Louis, MoRegistered Users Posts: 9,816 Major grins

    Passwords are saved in your cache and automatically removed after some time.

    Al - Just a volunteer here having fun
    My Website | My Blog
  • Martin1Martin1 Registered Users Posts: 7 Big grins

    @Allen said:
    Passwords are saved in your cache and automatically removed after some time.

    Yes, same observation here, but what is "some" time? Would be nice to hear something from SmugMug Product Team.
    In my opinion this is a bug, not a feature.

    @AlanG said:
    Hi
    I have a similar issue i think to Martin. I set up an area for my clients to view their photos. These are protected by a password. the settings for the folders are: visibility - public, access - people with password. The client is using an IPAD and the smugmug app. they access the photos the first time ok. but within a couple of weeks they have to reenter the password. This is becoming more frustrating, especially for those customers who require to access many different areas. I feel that there must be something set up incorrectly. can you help? it also happens on two different iPads.
    Many thanks
    Alan

    Yes, this is frustrating. Furthermore it is frustrating to suddenly lose the offline image cache data, without any reason. This is even more frustrating, because SmugMug iOS app is unable to download in background. The SmugMug support gave me the funny recommendation to dim down the display and turn off screen lock, while SmugMug iOS App is running in foreground. This is somehow strange. Today we have iOS operating system being able to handle background processing for third party apps, but SmugMug team apparently is not willing to implement this in SmugMug iOS App.

    I had submitted feature requests one year ago, but can't see any improvements in SmugMug iOS App software development.

    Of course I'm running the newest version available.

    Best regards,
    Martin

  • AlanGAlanG UKRegistered Users Posts: 4 Big grins
    Thank you for your responses. It looks like the cache is automatically deleted after 30 days from my limited testing. IMO they should not be deleted. Does anyone know if you can disable the automatic deleting of specific entries in the cache?
    Kind regards
    Alan
  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,744 Many Grins
    edited February 11, 2020

    @AlanG said:
    I have a similar issue i think to Martin. I set up an area for my clients to view their photos. These are protected by a password. the settings for the folders are: visibility - public, access - people with password. The client is using an IPAD and the smugmug app. they access the photos the first time ok. but within a couple of weeks they have to reenter the password. This is becoming more frustrating, especially for those customers who require to access many different areas. I feel that there must be something set up incorrectly. can you help? it also happens on two different iPads.

    Are your customers using the SmugMug iOS app, or are they browsing in Safari?

    Allen's comment refers to if they're using Safari. All users remain logged in for 30 days when using Safari by design. Beyond 30 days they will be required to re-log in for security purposes (and also because most browsers automatically clear cookies after 30 days).

    In the SmugMug iOS app, users should remain logged in indefinitely. If your clients are finding themselves logged out of the app, we'd love to help troubleshoot as that is unexpected.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,744 Many Grins
    edited February 11, 2020

    @Martin1 said:
    Furthermore it is frustrating to suddenly lose the offline image cache data, without any reason.

    We're seeing this occur on extremely rare occasions but have confirmed it happens. Because it's extremely rare it's been difficult for us to track down. It bit me once and drove me bonkers, so we're definitely looking to squash it. But the rarity of the issue is making it take much longer to find than we'd like.

    @Martin1 said:
    This is even more frustrating, because SmugMug iOS app is unable to download in background. Today we have iOS operating system being able to handle background processing for third party apps, but SmugMug team apparently is not willing to implement this in SmugMug iOS App.

    I had submitted feature requests one year ago, but can't see any improvements in SmugMug iOS App software development.

    The iOS team has released 7 versions of the iOS app in the last 3 months, with releases coming every few weeks. You can now organize your photos in the app, auto-upload your entire camera roll (and keep it updated), set additional gallery settings (like enabling downloading), and we've added support for Default Presets. The iOS app has also been updated several times to continuously expand on the auto-upload functionality so that it's easier for you to use and ensures it keeps your photos safe more frequently.

    We're not a huge team with hundreds of engineers working on the iOS app but our team is extremely dedicated and passionate about growing the app as all of you spend more and more time on your phones and tablets. We can't get to everything all at once and are currently focused on refining auto-upload, allowing you to organize your folders/galleries (not just your photos), edit your photos' titles/captions/keywords, and buy your own photos.

    We are absolutely willing and have already begun to implement background processing into the SmugMug iOS app. The Auto-Upload functionality, for example, will upload photos in the background without requiring the app to be launched. More functionality can be added to run in the background as time goes on. We're also hoping Apple will continue to evolve their background processing, as right now they're not giving apps much background time. Unlike our computers which can run multiple actions in the background, iOS and iPadOS are only allowing us to process about a hundred photos a night while the app is in the background. Leaving the app in the foreground will always ensure the tasks can complete.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • AlanGAlanG UKRegistered Users Posts: 4 Big grins
    Apologies as i don't know how to replicate the text of @leftquark
    My customers are using the IOS App on a iPad. Therefore why are the passwords being reset? They are not using safari.
    cheers
  • AlanGAlanG UKRegistered Users Posts: 4 Big grins

    Update:
    over the pst 4 weeks i have been accessing certain folders on the iPad and each week it has been fine until this week. This is week 4. As stated earlier i am not using Safari. What is happening?
    Appreciate comments to date but this is frustrating!
    many thanks
    Alan

  • Martin1Martin1 Registered Users Posts: 7 Big grins

    For me the most important use-case for SmugMug iOS App is to show photos offline at iPad. This is failing sometimes.

    Yesterday @AlanG reported he has lost SmugMug iOS App cache after 4 weeks. So I checked this at our side:

    I have to confirm that we've lost again nearly all offline images at iPad (with newest version of SmugMug iOS App and newest iOS).
    Available offline content is only 700 MB now, had been 9,39 GB before! Re-downloading is working slowly now.

    One year after reporting that problem it is frustrating to see it unsolved.

    Don't know if this issue is really rare, maybe the issue is not recognized, understood and reported by many users. The current size of the offline content is not easy to find in the app menu:
    See "Settings">>"App Settings">>"Available offline content" menu.

    Maybe that issue is driven by some change in SmugMug cloud backend. As far as I know relocations sometimes happen ordinarily in cloud native environments, maybe SmugMug iOS App is clearing the cache in case of some relocation in the cloud.

    Don't know if issue is related to iOS being updated. This should not clear SmugMug App cache.

    Don't know if issue is related to heavy gallery changes introduced by end user.
    I'm a heavy user with large galleries, some with large display size. And I'm feeding the SmugMug cloud from Lightroom Classic using your gorgeous plugin. This leads to any kind changes: bulk upload, metadata change of existing photo, replacement of existing photo, add photo, delete photo, ...
    SmugMug cloud is not my primary photo storage, Lightroom classic is my primary photo storage.

    Thank you @leftquark for your detailed response. I understand your team is improving the SmugMug iOS app with many new features, which might be important for many other users. But for me the most important use-case is to have a reliable way to show photos offline, with choice of resolution. SmugMug ecosystem could do a good job for that.

    I understand it is very difficult to track down the problem, which might depend on certain timing conditions.

  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,744 Many Grins

    As far as we can tell, it's not any form of user interaction that is causing the offline content to be forgotten. None of the offline information is stored in a "cloud" -- it's all locally on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. The team is continuing to poke at it, since it's also driving us nuts.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • spuccispucci Los Gatos, CARegistered Users Posts: 3 Big grins
    I’m an iOS developer and had a shot in the dark: I presume you’re setting the “do not back up” attribute on the offline files since they can in theory be downloaded from the server. I wonder if Apple is deleting such files periodically, such as over an iOS upgrade, but only if they haven’t been accessed in a while? Have you checked with Apple on this? In my case I’m nowhere near the limit of my 256G iPad and never had been, so it’s not just that they delete the files when the device is in danger of running out of storage.
  • spuccispucci Los Gatos, CARegistered Users Posts: 3 Big grins
    Also I should say that in my case it does *not* lose the offline status of the albums, nor does it lose my stored password, but it loses the files themselves.
  • spuccispucci Los Gatos, CARegistered Users Posts: 3 Big grins
    Also like Martin1 I’m using Lightroom Classic to upload all my photos, in case that matters somehow. But in my case I’m 90% sure the files have disappeared without my interacting with the LR plugin.
  • Martin1Martin1 Registered Users Posts: 7 Big grins
    edited June 15, 2020

    @spucci said:
    I’m an iOS developer and had a shot in the dark: I presume you’re setting the “do not back up” attribute on the offline files since they can in theory be downloaded from the server. I wonder if Apple is deleting such files periodically, such as over an iOS upgrade, but only if they haven’t been accessed in a while? Have you checked with Apple on this? In my case I’m nowhere near the limit of my 256G iPad and never had been, so it’s not just that they delete the files when the device is in danger of running out of storage.

    Thank you very much @spucci for sharing that interesting advice. Maybe Apple is doing some strange housekeeping for that kind of data, under certain circumstances, if it is tagged less important (do not backup attribute). Perhaps Apple does not allow an app to hold more than e.g.1/4 of device memory, if it is tagged with "do not backup" (unimportant).

    @leftquark , can please comment on this?

    @spucci said:
    Also I should say that in my case it does not lose the offline status of the albums, nor does it lose my stored password, but it loses the files themselves.

    Some year ago I lost the album offline status too, but with current version offline status remains stable, but offline images continue to disappear sometimes (watch-out for total size of offline images in SmugMug app).
    This is not related to serious shortage of memory at iPad.

  • leftquarkleftquark Former SmugMug Product Team Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,744 Many Grins
    edited June 19, 2020

    Before I left SmugMug, the team was investigating it here and there. We'd look into it, find a few new pieces of info, but not be able to get to the root cause. I'd recommend emailing the Heroes every time you run into it so it pings the team - maybe something new surfaces.

    We knew it's not related to shortage of memory. It just seems that the app "loses knowledge" that the photos exist. It also appears that the photos aren't actually removed. When I lose my offline photos, iOS still tells me that the app is taking up Gigabytes of space, and when going into SmugMug app settings, it also thinks it's taking up gigabytes of space. But for whatever reason the app loses its ability to see those files and has to re-download them. The team didn't have a good explanation for that and it was hard to debug since we couldn't force it to happen while we're running debug utilities.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
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