Why aren’t my orders synchronised across multiple iPads?
A few factors can cause this to happen, but before we delve into any particular issues, let's first understand how the iPads communicate with each other.
For example, imagine a store with:
- 1 Host iPad (aka Local Server), i.e. the cashier's iPad
- 2 Ordering iPads (A and B), which waiters use to take orders
The Ordering iPads communicate with each other via a router and the Host iPad; never directly with each other.
If Ordering iPad A creates an order (which needs to be synchronised with Ordering iPad B), then Ordering iPad A updates the Host iPad via the router first and then the Host iPad updates iPad B via the router.
There are dependencies not only on signal strength, but also on the router’s ability to process/relay the data, as well as the Host iPad’s reliability in relaying the original information to the other ordering iPads.
From time to time, the iPads might stop synchronising - and the information flow breakdown may happen either on the Ordering iPad, the Host iPad or the router (assuming signal strength is not an issue).
Here are a few important best practices which would prevent the most common issues:
Ensure only ONE Host iPad performs checkouts
The 'Host' assignment can be done within the StoreHub app > Settings > toggle 'This is Local Server' to ON.
However, limiting the checkout to only the host iPad is a practice that must be enforced in your store(s).
If any of the ordering iPads are used to checkout as well, then the synchronisation between the iPads might cause problems, because multiple iPads would constantly be competing to become the 'Host'.
The Host iPad must ALWAYS be kept awake
The real-time synchronisation between all iPads depends on the Host iPad being awake at all times.
If the Host iPad goes to sleep (screen is dimmed), or if you exit the StoreHub app, then the synchronisation will be compromised. This behaviour is tied to the iPad’s technical design, so you would need to ensure the iPad screen does not turn off.
There are 2 ways the iPad screen would turn off:
a. There is a battery-saving setting on the iPad that causes the iPad to sleep every few minutes. Change this setting by going to the iPad > Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock > select Never.
b. If your staff has a habit of turning off the iPad screen when not in use, or to save electricity, please tell them to leave the iPad screen ON.
Router compatibility and workarounds
StoreHub has been selling the RT-AC1200G+ router, which is suitable for small-scale multiple iPad sync setups (e.g. 1 Host + 1 Ordering iPad or 1 Host + 2 Ordering iPads).
Through testing and feedback, we've realised this router does not handle large-scale setups well (e.g. 1 Host + 3 Ordering iPads onwards). Its limited RAM is unable to cope with the exponential traffic introduced by every additional ordering iPad within the network.
The issue with larger store setups are caused by the router’s processing power - which affects its ability to sync.
If your store’s setup is relatively small and buying a new router with higher processing power is not an option, we recommend some of the 'rebooting' activities below as short-term workarounds to improve synchronisation:
1. Restart the router every day (switch the router off, wait for about a minute, then switch it on again).
2. Deactivate and Reactivate the iPads once a week.
3. If you do need help with your router or need help in choosing an alternative, do contact our Support agents via live chat or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope the information above has helped; should you need more information after reading this article, do get in touch with us!