Metadata cache keeps clearing!

Current Understanding of the Issue Surrounding Recurring Deletions of Infuse’s Metadata Cache

Part 2 (of 2): WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

(If you want to skip the disclaimers and further explanations, scroll down to where it says “FREE SPACE”.)

I should begin by making clear I’m an Infuse user like the rest of you; I don’t work for Firecore, I don’t have inside information, I don’t get to look at the source code, and I don’t even get a free Pro subscription (though that would be nice). I’m not here to make excuses for Firecore; nor am I here to blame users and tell them they’re “doing it wrong”.

Like the rest of you, I wish this wasn’t an issue that needed to be written about in the first place. But clearly it is; because the misinformation is strong.

I first came here, of course, because the mysterious metadata dumps were frequently happening to me. Other users provided much of the insight into why the issue I was occurring and things I could try to prevent it from happening again in the future.

  • Credit and thanks to @munpip214 for being the first to suggest that screensavers can take up a ton of space — on post #3(!); and first to suggest that users consider turning off screensaver downloads — on post #10.

  • Credit and thanks to @NC_Bullseye who early on discussed Apple’s poor decision-making regarding which cached items have priority when something must be deleted — hint: not Apple’s!

  • Credit and thanks to @MissLiz who later posted about the AppleTV not honestly calculating and displaying the true size of installed apps and the quantity of truly-free-space remaining on the device; and how daily downloads of screensavers can quickly fill up even 64GB devices and that Apple doesn’t provide a way for you to delete them; and who further suggested a few other threads to chase down.

  • Credit and thanks to @stimpy88 for “spirited conversation” :roll_eyes: (and researching and posting further information regarding Apple’s willingness to fill every spare MB of “free space” on the AppleTV with screensaver videos — and how they found there’s more than enough available — at just one video resolution — to fill an entire app-less and tvOS-less 64 GB model).

  • Credit and thanks to @Pmh for verifying how quickly video screensavers silently fill up an AppleTV; and to @TonyCLondon for the kind words and further confirmation; and likewise to @steve10 and @mcor77 and everyone else I may have missed— cheers!

These specific insights and suggestions (and those of others others) were very helpful, and led to an immediate easement of the frequency of my metadata being unceremoniously dumped from my two different AppleTV 4K boxes. They didn’t yet entirely solve the problem, however.

So as users continued discussing the issue, I started gathering up the most interesting theories while I continued experimenting and sharing my results as I mixed in my own subtle twists on previously discussed strategies.

Based on my own experience and feedback in this thread, these techniques seem to be continuing to help those who follow them; and that’s why I’m sharing them here.

Please don’t complain at me that you shouldn’t need to do all this to have Infuse work the way we all wish it did.

Go to the thread demanding Firecore allow us to save our metadata on the device or service of our choosing, and complain there instead (but also click the heart on the first post, because that’s the only metric that really matters).

Further complaints here that aren’t contributing anything of substance serve no function but to push further out of reach of newly arriving users these posts sharing both what the community has learned about why metadata erasures happen, and the proven helpful suggestions effected users ought to try on their own devices to reduce or eliminate occurrences of the issue going forward.

My hardware and library size:

As this seems to only be effecting users of AppleTV devices, I’ll stick to those. I’ve got non-beta InfusePro 7.5 (at time of writing) running on two 32GB first-generation (c. 2017) Apple 4K boxes, each running current (at time of writing) non-beta iOS software.

My devices index nearly 4,000 movies and 15,000 television episodes — content that resides on my local NAS. All my video content lives alongside personally selected or created movie, series, and season posters; plus movie and series fanart and episode thumbnail images. This provides for me a consistent aesthetic and permits quicker database rebuilds as Infuse doesn’t need to query TMDB for the artwork when it already exists on my server. The result is a metadata cache size somewhere between 4 and 5 GB in size.

  • [I should also note the only reason I’d be rebuilding my database is because I’ve either made big changes to the content or organization of my library; or I’ve bulk-renamed a large portion of the filenames in my collection because I iterated another improvement to my self-written bulk folder and media file renaming algorithm as I further evolve its abilities (as in, for example, after coding regex to smartly auto-correct for common casing, title-casing, and punctuation/contraction errors in a surprisingly content-aware fashion — without damaging collection tiles deliberately using non-standard casing).]

I haven’t had either of my Apple TVs databases dumped in ages.

Enough said. Let’s get to work.

FREE SPACE

Disable the downloading of AppleTV screensavers, and delete the one’s the are already on your device. (Apple’s 4K screensavers can take up a surprisingly huge amount of space, and claim superiority over all other disposable data — meaning AppleTV will delete your Infuse cache before it deletes any of its screensavers).

Since Apple provides no easy way to delete previously downloaded screensavers individually or en masse, the key to forcing the Apple TV to delete them is to load the device up with enough non-volatile content (i.e. apps) that the box will have no choice but to delete its screensavers to free up the space required to install all the apps you attempt to install.

  1. Switch to “Aerial” screensaver (as this type is required to reveal the option that new screensavers not be downloaded).
  • Settings / General / Screensaver / Type / Aerial
  1. “Hide” all the “Themes” (It’s working for me, but it probably isn’t necessary).
  • Settings / General / Screensaver / Themes / [Landscape, Earth, Underwater, Cityscape] / Hide
  1. Prevent downloading of new screensavers.
  • Settings / General / Screensaver / Download New Video / Never
  1. Temporarily prevent AppleTV from offloading existing apps (in order to free up room for newly downloaded apps) as the goal of this step is to fill your device with apps (and force the deletion of all cached content — the last of which will be the excess video screensavers).
  • Settings / Apps / Offload Unused Apps / Off
  1. Open the AppStore and search for the largest free apps you can find, and downloaded all of them until your Apple TV is full and can’t download any more apps without it asking you to delete something previously installed.

  2. Verify all screensavers are gone by selecting “Preview” and attempt to skip through the various video-screensaver scenes — by tapping right or left on the remote while viewing the screensaver(s). If there’s only the one, and it keeps repeating … SUCCESS!!

  • Settings / General / Screensaver / Preview / /
  1. Once you’ve verified all screensavers were removed, it’s safe to delete all the new apps you just downloaded.

PRESERVE SPACE

Additional steps you may choose to take to prevent your AppleTV from clawing back the free-space you just recovered.

  1. Set up your AppleTVs to offload all unused apps (I had over time installed a great many; including all the premium streaming apps and several of the free ones; plus a few racing and strategy games. They take up a lot of space on a 32GB device). Offloading frees up space while still leaving the app accessible to be redownloaded next time you need it.
  • Settings / Apps / Offload Unused Apps / On
  1. This one is obvious — Delete apps you no longer use.

  2. Preventing the automatic downloading of tvOS updates and App updates (which will download into cache and potentially erase Infuse’s metadata cache if the AppleTV has gone low on space again) may help users who otherwise have very little free space on their AppleTV (because of the type and/or number of apps they need to use regularly, in relation to the memory capacity of their device.)

  • Settings / System / Software Updates / Automatically Update / Off

  • Settings / Apps / Automatically Update Apps / Off

  • Settings / Apps / Automatically Install Apps / Off

  • If one only does the above updates on-demand, any resultant dismissal of Infuse’s metadata cache should be easily enough to associate with the specific action that resulted in it.

Since completing steps 1-8 above, I’ve had no more metadata dumps.

During that time, I‘ve only ever had the Infuse, YouTube TV, and YouTube apps continuously installed and in regular daily use. However, I often have one or two other paid streaming apps installed and running alongside my core three at any given time (the rest are all offloaded).

This has never caused me cache-limit problems; though I should note I only stream using these apps; I never download content to my AppleTV for offline use. If I ever desire something from a streaming service to be available offline, I download it to my iPad.

  • If you notice Infuse’s cache was dumped while you were playing a feature-rich video game, understand that the only persistent content games have to work with is that involved in their initial download. All content subsequently downloaded after one starts loading a game is downloaded to vulnerable cached memory and this cached data, if space is limited, may overwrite Infuse’s cached data … and Infuse’s recaching of data (when you next open Infuse and rebuild its cache) may similarly overwrite your games’ cached data. :recycle:

And that’s all, folks!

(Apologies for inevitable typos. My eyes have been mostly stuck together the last few hours. Time to :yawning_face::sleeping:

EDIT: I had to move each of my recent posts up one because I hit the “no more than three replies in a row” exclusion. So this post used to be Part 1. It’s now Part 2. Etc.

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