We’ve posted answers to a few common support questions below; for less common issues, you can also visit our discussion forums – do a search there and you should find an answer to almost any question you might have.
Our very detailed online instruction manuals (iOS and Android) can also help – they include detailed tutorial walkthroughs of all of Pleco’s major features. We’re also happy to answer your questions ourselves, of course – you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through this page.
Retrieving Past Purchases
To retrieve your past order information from a Palm or Windows Mobile copy of Pleco, or an Android copy purchased through our website, visit the My Orders page. For copies originally purchased in-app on iOS or Android, you can generally recover your purchases by going into the “Add-ons” screen and tapping “Restore iTunes Purchases” or “Restore In-App Purchases.”
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m trying to reactivate my purchases on iOS and I keep getting a “regrant failed” error
I’m trying to buy / restore your iOS software and I get a “please purchase this application first” error
This usually means that your copy of Pleco has gotten detached from your iTunes account – a particularly common issue for customers in China. To fix this:
- Back up your flashcard database, if you have one – see the instruction manual for help with this.
- Delete Pleco from your device. (tap-hold on its icon and tap on the (X) button)
- Go into the system “Settings” app, tap “Store,” tap on your email address, and tap “Sign Out.”
- Reboot your device, by holding down the power button and sliding to power off (and then powering back on again).
- Go back into Settings / Store and sign back in to your iTunes account.
- Go into App Store and re-download Pleco.
- Go back into the Pleco “Add-ons” screen and try restoring purchases again.
- If you backed up your flashcard database, see the manual for instructions on how to restore it from that backup.
I moved to China and now I can’t make / can’t restore purchases in your Android software
To buy our Android software in China, visit the Pleco Store. To restore an in-app purchase that you made outside of China while you’re in China, contact email@example.com – unfortunately, there’s no good way for us to support doing that automatically, but if you contact us we can easily look up your order and provide you with an alternate activation code.
My paid add-ons have stopped working
On iOS, you can usually restore purchases by going into the “Add-ons” screen and tapping “Restore iTunes Purchases.” If you originally bought our software on Palm or Windows Mobile and transferred your license over from that, visit the My Orders page on our website and you can recover your activation info from there.
On Android, if you bought Pleco originally as an in-app purchase you can restore your purchase by tapping “Restore Purchases” in the “Add-ons” screen. If you bought originally from our online store, simply re-enter your Registration ID in the “Registration” screen – visit the My Orders page if you need help recovering it.
Should I choose iOS or Android?
The depth of feeling on both sides of this debate is such that we don’t want to even hint that we might think one platform is superior in general to the other one. However, for what it’s worth we can state objectively that our iOS sales are roughly 3x our Android sales, and that those numbers appear to be fairly typical among other mobile app developers – we have lots of users on Android, but the bulk of our revenue comes from iOS.
Feature-wise, there are a few Pleco features exclusive to each platform. Our iOS app has a much more robust document reader than our Android app, with support for tap-lookups in web pages and EPUB/Word/PDF/TXT/Pages/RTF/HTML files – on Android we only support PDF and TXT. However, we make up for that on Android with our “Screen Reader” feature, which allows you to tap-lookup words in any app on your Android phone via a floating button (particularly useful for chat apps like WeChat). Also, on account of its closed filesystem we include a few features on iOS that we don’t bother with on Android – our iOS app has a built-in file manager and built-in text editor because there isn’t a convenient way to do those things in a third-party app on iOS. iOS is also currently the only platform on which we support flashcard sync between devices, as we haven’t yet found an Android equivalent to iCloud that’s not blocked in China.
On that note, in terms of the logistics of using a mobile device purchased abroad in China, you’re probably a lot better off with an iPhone simply because Google’s services are currently blocked in China and Apple’s are not; a foreign iPhone is generally a lot more functional behind the Great Firewall than a foreign Android phone because it can still reach Apple’s servers to download apps / install system updates / perform searches / etc.
Which device should I buy?
iOS: You can’t really go wrong with any of the current iPhone models Pleco-wise – even the humble iPhone 5s has a blazing fast 64-bit processor. Likewise with iPads; all of the current models (even the humble iPad mini 2) are 64-bit-powered and should run Pleco beautifully. Our app takes full advantage of the larger screen on the iPhone 6/6s Plus and the split-screen mode on the latest iPads (including the iPad Pro). The latest iPod Touch also has an extremely fast processor and should run Pleco fine.
Among used iOS devices, we’re about to start requiring iOS version 10 as a minimum, and are planning some future optimizations to OCR that will require a 64-bit processor, so we would not recommend getting anything older than an iPhone 5s, iPad Air 1, iPad mini 2, or the latest iPod Touch.
Android: for Android, the situation depends on whether or not you’re going to be in China, since most of the Google services that Western Android phones rely on are blocked there.
If you’re not planning to take your phone to China, we recommend that you get one of Google’s Pixel phones / tablets (or their older Nexus ones); they’re a very good value for the features they include, and because they’re from Google they always run the latest, best, most stable version of Android you can get. Devices from other manufacturers tend to be overpriced and to add a lot of extra customizations that only serve to make Android worse, on top of which it’s rare for them to receive operating system updates as quickly as Google’s own devices do. At this point in the evolution of mobile devices, having the newest software matters much more than having the newest hardware, and the best way to make sure that you get access to that with Android is to buy a Pixel or Nexus.
If you are going to be in China, we’d recommend waiting until you get to China and buying an Android phone made by a Chinese OEM for the domestic Chinese market; you won’t have reliable access to Google’s services in China and so won’t want a phone that depends on them, and it’s difficult to buy a non-Google-dependent Android device outside of China. If you need to purchase a phone outside of China that you can also use within China, an iPhone really is your best bet, but if you strongly prefer to stick with Android then we’d recommend getting a phone from a major Chinese OEM or one that can easily be re-flashed to a custom version of Android, so that you have the option to find / install a better version of Android for China than the one it ships with.
How do I get started?
Our software can be kind of intimidating, but the tutorials in the instruction manual (iOS / Android) should walk you through most of the basics. The most important thing to remember is that most of the options have been pre-configured to work well for most people; if you leave everything that you don’t understand on whatever its default setting is, you should be OK.
How do I back up my flashcards?
On iOS, tap on the “Import/Export” item in the sidebar, tap “Backup Database,” save the file, then go into “File Manager,” “Edit,” tap on the backed-up flashcard file, “Zip”, tap “Edit” again, tap on the (now .zip-archived) flashcard file, tap “Email,” and email the file to yourself as an attachment.
On Android, tap on the “Import/Export” item in the sidebar, tap “Backup Database,” save the file to a convenient location on your device’s SD card, then copy it from there to your computer by USB (or whatever other method you like).
How do I synchronize flashcards between devices?
On iOS, we now have basic support for iCloud sync between devices which you can enable in the Settings screen / Flashcards.
On both iOS and Android, you can move flashcards between devices by backing up flashcard database on one device and restoring it on the other. To do this, run the “Backup Database” command – under Import/Export in the sidebar – and then send that backup file to your other device; on iOS you can do that through File Manager / Share Files, on Android it’s usually best to use a file sharing service like Dropbox or Google Drive. (if you’re running Android 4.4, you can actually save / open files directly on Google Drive without having to copy them manually) After you’ve transferred the database, use the counterpart “Restore Database” command on the other device to activate your backed-up flashcards on it.
Can I move my purchase between iOS and Android?
Yes; just copy down the Registration ID from the Pleco “Registration” screen on one device and enter it in the other one.
Does your software work without an internet connection?
Yes – it requires one for the initial download / activation, but once it’s set up and activated all of its features should work quite well without an internet connection.
Does your software support traditional and simplified characters?
Yes, it fully supports both, though OCR supports a slightly smaller number of traditional characters (about 5000, versus 6500 or so simplified) and we have a couple of dictionaries that are traditional- or simplified-only (they’ll all be prominently marked as such in “Add-ons”).
Does your software work on a non-Chinese phone?
Yes; both our iOS and Android apps ship with built-in Chinese fonts so they should work well regardless of the manufacturer’s support for Chinese.
Does your software work on Amazon Kindle Fire tablets?
Yes; our app is not currently available in the Amazon AppStore but you can type pleco.com/getandroid in your tablet’s web browser to download it directly from us.
Do you support other languages like Japanese?
No, and no current plans to do so – there’s a lot more we want to do with Chinese first.
Does your software work on desktop computers or laptops?
Not at present, no. We are considering a web-based version though. Also, Apple have announced that they’ll be releasing some tools (“Project Marzipan”) to allow iOS apps to be easily ported to macOS sometime in 2019, so we hope to be able to take advantage of that once it’s available.