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Auto saving in Photo and Designer?

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Does anyone know if these apps will automatically save to the iCloud folder (or another place outside of the app) while you work? I have the location set to iCloud, but they do not seem to save or appear there until I manually hit the Save option in the drop down menu for each file in the gallery. Is there a way to make this happen automatically, like almost every other app I’ve used on iPad? It’s frustrating to think it has saved and then to find that it is not the latest version that is saved in iCloud. Maybe I’m missing a setting somewhere. Thanks. 

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No, there is no auto-save option, but until/unless you close the file it is still in the iPad's internal storage area reserved for use by the Affinity app, & will remain there even if you quit the app. Also, unless you clear the history while editing the file, all history is retained.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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I’m using Photo 1.6.8 and it definitely does have an autosave function. From the open screen tap the gear in the top right corner. It will open in the general preference page. The second preference from the top is “Autosave Interval” and it came set at 300. This is where I get lost. There is nothing on this page, nor in the help file, that indicates what 300 is.  At the bottom of the page is the “Save Location” preference. I have it set to “On My iPad”. Logic, to me, would dictate at the end of the “Autosave Interval” Photo would save the document to the “Save Location”, but it doesn’t. I understand Photo saves working documents in the application somewhere/some way, but the auto save function is a mystery to me. Maybe someone with Affinity will enlighten us on this subject.

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5 hours ago, Bennie said:

There is nothing on this page, nor in the help file, that indicates what 300 is.

The number determines how often in seconds a backup of the changes made in the current document are saved (so 300 is every 300 seconds or 5 minutes). This is not the same as a complete, stand-alone backup copy of the entire document, nor does it have anything to do with the Save Location preference.

It really should be named something more like "Auto-restore Save Interval" that does not suggest a complete, stand alone backup is saved.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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Thank you for the response R C-R. My best guess was that the 300 was seconds. A good guess, but it was only a guess. Affinity should be clear in the preference itself exactly what it is I am setting. Affinity is definitely autosaving the documents, but they are not making backups because an autosave is not a backup. Also, Affinity doesn't "suggest" that a complete, stand alone back is saved, they state precisely that in the help document. A backup of a computer file, or any file, is always a seperate copy or it isn't a backup. Wherever Affinity is saving these documents, if that area becomes corrupted, every document that I haven't specifically saved through use of the hamburger menu is history. And even if I saved those documents throught the hamburger menu, any changes I have made to those documents after that save are history because, there are no backups. I would suggest to Affinity that two things be done here: 1. Define the units used in the "Autosave Interval" preference so that anyone adjusting that preference knows exactly what they are setting. Preferably in minutes rather than seconds so no calculations are necessary. 2. Change the incorrect and misleading wording in the help document that attempts to explain what the "Autosave Interval" is, and does. Now, as far as the "Save Location" preference having nothing to do with the "Autosave Interval" preference, you are absolutely correct. And I don't think there is anything more counterintuitive than that.

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The seconds reference is MIA in Photo for iPad but is there in the Designer app.

The verbiage in both certainly is misleading -- it hints that the backup is not a stand alone one with the "may be restored" phrase instead of a more definitive "can be restored" one or something similar, but that isn't something most users will notice.

I am just guessing but I think the reason for this is because the restore feature (which is all it really is) is based on the serialization of the native Affinity file format -- as I understand it, instead of rewriting the entire document file each time it is saved, the changes made since the last save are added to the end of the file, in serial fashion, one after the other. At some point, the saved version & the changes are automatically rewritten to 'deserialize' & compact the file, but until that happens there is only the serialized version.

There are several benefits to doing it this way, one of the most important being it makes most saves to existing documents very quick (because only the changes need to be written to the end of the file) so these 'auto-saves' can occur in the background without causing any noticeable lags or stuttering during edits. On iPads that also extends battery run times a bit.

So basically, the misleadingly named "Autosave Interval" determines how often the serialized changes are saved, separate & apart from the last saved version. It does not make a complete copy, nor does it save it to the same location set by the Save Location" preference. Both are needed for the restore function to work (thus the "may be restored" waffle words in the help).

Anyway, trying to put all this (including anything I got wrong about how it all works) into the help topic, using language most users would understand or find useful, would be difficult, so my guess is they went with what is there now instead.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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Hey R C-R, thanks for the response and the technical information. You are obviously quite knowledgeable, and I appreciate your explanation and your opinion. Because of members like yourself I learn something new every time I open a thread on this forum.

8 hours ago, R C-R said:

The verbiage in both certainly is misleading -- it hints that the backup is not a stand alone one with the "may be restored" phrase instead of a more definitive "can be restored" one or something similar, but that isn't something most users will notice.

I agree it isn't something that most users will notice and is probably even a little on the trivial side as far as the big picture here. The help file they have included with Photo is actually quite in-depth and I'm very happy Affinity went to the time and trouble write it up and include it with the program. I'm enjoying learning about Affinity Photo as well as as using it. Best $20.00 I've spent in a very long time. Thanks again for your insight.

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