Upgrade macOS to continue syncing

What I did: opened Agenda at my old but good iMac Mid 2011 running macOS High Sierra Version 10.13.6

What happened: notes were not syncing. A pop up window showed up: Upgrade macOs to continue syncing - The latest version of Agenda requires a newer version of macOS than the one you have installed. Upgrade your copy of macOS in the System Preferences, and then install the latest version of Agenda to sync with other devices. When I go to General > Sync notes between devices > Select iCloud, that window pops up again

What I expected: to continue using Agenda with my notes synced across all my devices. I can’t update macOs on the App Store, I believe they stopped issuing new macOs’s to my computer years ago. I use Agenda on my notebook (brand new MacBook Pro) and iPhone, but I have this sturdy iMAc at my office that is central for my productivity. It would be a shame to have to abandon my beloved Agenda because one piece of my tech system is now unable to sync.

Sorry you are experiencing this, but we decided to stop supporting some older versions of macOS. Unfortunately, you are using a device which this affects adversely.

We didn’t take the decision lightly. Partially it is a question of being able to keep the app moving forward for most customers, who are on newer versions of macOS. It can become difficult to add new functions, and test them, on very old OSes. Apple sometimes even stop supporting tools for the oldest OSes, which makes it virtually impossible for us.

All I can say is that your version of Agenda will likely keep working for a while, but you would have to turn off sync, making it less useful.

Sorry I can’t offer a better solution.

Kind regards,

Thanks for your honest answer. Running a company involves making trade-offs, I know how these things go. Not only Agenda, but also Slack and some other important apps are also unavailable for my old computer right now. Wish you had some web-based solution to that, though. But hey, you guys from Agenda are a lesson for me of community building and direct/honest developer/customer communication.

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A web option is something we are interested in trying. Unfortunately, it falls quite outside our expertise as Apple-platform developers, so it is more of a stretch. Hopefully some day…

Kind regards,

Curious: will syncing with Dropbox instead still work in this case?

No, the problem is not the sync itself, it is that you can’t update Agenda on one device. That makes the data models incompatible between the two devices, so the two copies of Agenda will refuse to sync with each other in order to not corrupt your data.

oh, I see. It is unfortunate that the data model is somehow tied to the OS version.

It’s not tied to an OS version, it’s tied to the version of Agenda. Eg If we add a new feature, like drawings, older versions of Agenda can’t work with that, so they would ignore the drawings and they might be lost. For this reason, we make sure that Agenda only syncs with versions of the data model it already knows about.

A problem can arise if you have Agenda on an old device. If you aren’t able to update the OS of that device, and we release a version of Agenda that doesn’t run on that old OS anymore, you can’t update it on that device. That version then won’t sync up with the newer Agenda on other devices.

Hopefully that makes it clear what is going on.

I see. I would argue this is an indirect dependency, because the data model depends on the Agenda version, and the minimum requirements of Agenda can change when you update. I totally understand it is neither feasible nor meaningful to backport new data model versions to old Agenda versions. But it does rise the following questions for me:

What can a user do in this case? how can he/she downgrade a device like iOS to a version that is compatible with the older device?

Was this properly communicated? I also got (temporarily) locked out when one device updated the data model in the latest update, and another could not access it (and the version was not out yet in the App Store). I think these should be announced before and very clearly, so people can prepare; this breaks the path of least surprise.

Do you have a tool to rollback a data model upgrade, if it was made by accident?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do. This is mainly because Apple don’t provide a way to install older versions of an iOS app. So you can’t choose the older version.

The options are the you stop using the older device with Agenda, and just use the newer iOS version, or you turn off sync on the older device. The latter is not very useful, of course. It would only work as a sort of archive. You could export notes from that device, so maybe you could see it as a scratch pad.

Note that none of this is really specific to Agenda. Nearly all apps will at some point drop the oldest OSes. Some do it much more aggressively than we do. When this happens, anyone with a device that can upgrade the OS can do so. Those with really old devices may not be able to. This is a shame, but also the nature of our industry, which puts a usefulness date on most things.

Yes. We actually wanted to make this very explicit, so we started communicating it in the app itself in Agenda 14. People who were on an old OS which would be affected were warned with a dialog, which is the best way to get to people we know about. (Eg. a web site posting is unlikely to be seen by anyone.) Of course, it is no guarantee. You could miss the dialog because you aren’t using Agenda for a while on that device, or see it and just forget about it. It’s the best system we could think of, but not infallible.

Note that although we have updates that do require an update everywhere, because we have added a new feature that changes the data model, this is the first time we have changed the minimum OS requirements in the 5 years since Agenda came out. So it is quite rare. Standard updates can require that you update Agenda, but will not require an OS or device update. We try to announce this in the release notes, but a lot of people don’t read that of course.

We certainly have tools for this type of rollback, but they are not generally available. It would be something we would have to do for you if you were willing to send your data.

Thanks a lot for the detailed answer.

There are options, I think. All past versions of an application are still available in the App Store, as far as I know. Using a tool like iMazing it is possible to download and install an older version in a device, and even back up the IPA installer for future use.

totally understand. I was thinking something more proactive, since this is such a rare event. Like show a warning in devices that are going to be deprecated to be aware that it is the end of the road, and they would loose access to synced info.

Thanks, for me local backups will do the trick, but is good to know there is an alternative.