Cross-Platform Syncing: What, When, and How
Playapod supports syncing across multiple devices and platforms including Android, iOS, and Web. In order to enable syncing you need to create an account with a valid e-mail address. If you created an account with an e-mail and password then you’ll need to verify the e-mail to enable syncing. Opening the side menu in the Playapod app will display ‘Device syncing enabled’ if your account has been verified and syncing is enabled. Let’s discuss what, when, and how Playapod syncs as we continue to get lots of questions regarding this topic.
What it Syncs
- Subscriptions – All your active subscriptions are synced so when you login it will auto-subscribe to all your feeds. New subscriptions added on one device will be added to all other devices. If you unsubscribe to a feed and login on another device it will no longer subscribe to that feed. However, it will not automatically remove feeds from other devices as you might still be listening to the feed. You can go into settings, reset data, and login again to download only your active feeds. Resetting your local data will logout first so your existing sync data is fully maintained.
- Media Position, Progress History, and Bookmarks – The last media position, progress history (listen / skipped ranges to the second), and any bookmarks are synced on a full save. Full save occurs whenever you change tracks or minimize the media player. Local saves occur every 5 seconds so even if you kill the application (or in the rare case it crashes) this information will still be on device and ready to be synced.
- Favorites – Hearting your favorite subscriptions and individual media files are synced. Subscriptions are automatically grouped into a Favorites group and listed in an individual Favorites section. A custom group can manually be created around individual media files that have been favorited.
- Total Minutes – Total minutes listened per subscription is synced. This statistic is currently displayed to you in the My Subscription and Recommend views.
- Recently Listened Date – The most recent listened date is synced per subscription and used to mark older episodes as listened.
- Not Synced – Playapod does not currently sync downloaded files, custom groups, or app settings.
When it Syncs
- Full sync of all subscriptions occurs after logging in and every feed has been downloaded.
- Full sync of a specific feed occurs when subscribing to a new feed.
- Partial sync of recently listened media files occurs after refreshing all feeds. Refreshing of all feeds occurs automatically everyday or after manual refresh by pulling down on the My Subscriptions view. You can also select Refresh Feeds from the long-press menu popup on the All group.
- Partial sync occurs for media files that were recently played, however, Playapod waits until you change tracks or minimize the media player.
How it Syncs (for the techies)
- Registered users get a secure area in the cloud where sync data is stored. It looks like a typical folder/file system.
- Subscription feed URLs and media file URLs are hashed into a unique identifier that you can think of as a folder name.
- Subscription and media folders contain the meta data mentioned above in the ‘What it Syncs’ section.
- Media folders are not tied to subscription folders. That means if you have multiple feeds that point to the same media files then they will all sync the same data. We think that’s a pretty cool design.
- Sync data is securely stored and protected so other Playapod users cannot access.
- Syncing costs us money and we try to minimize our costs by only syncing when necessary.
- Syncing is free to you.
Will Syncing Always be Free?
Yes, we plan to always support free syncing! We may at some point offer a premium subscription for additional features such as the real-time syncing of data. This would allow you to have multiple devices up and see changes happen in real-time on both screens without refreshing. Real-time syncing would cost us a lot more money which is why it would need to be a paid feature. Is that something you would want? It’s not on the roadmap yet but let us know what you think of the idea in the comments below.
The Playapod team hopes the above information fully explains the mystery of Playapod syncing as it’s currently designed. We’ll continue to make improvements to syncing which is why we sometimes force Playapod users to upgrade. It’s for good reason and usually helps reduce our costs while adding additional features. Let us know what you think in the comments below.