With 2015 upon us, it’s best to close out 2014 with some important housekeeping for your Mac, iPad and iPhone.
It begins where it always begins, and we know we sound redundant at this point, but it warrants repeating: back up your equipment. One of our most common service calls is for data loss, and often the data is not able to be replaced because either there wasn’t an inadequate backup, or there was no backup at all to retrieve data from. Ugh. Chances are you’re reading this right now, and thinking, yeah, I’m going to back up my stuff next week – but guess what, you’re not. Unfortunate, as Apple has made the act of backing up so easy for us all these days. That being the case, here’s what we recommend.
For Your Mac
Begin by buying two hard drives. That’s right, two. With the advent of USB 3 there are many great inexpensive options these days from LaCie, Western Digital and G-Tech that offer fast backups and the necessary storage space to backup either your laptop or iMac. If you’re looking for even more speed, opt for pricer (yet drastically faster) Thunderbolt drives from LaCie or G-Tech among others. The two things to keep in mind are how much backup capacity you actually need and what interface you have to connect the drive.
To determine the necessary capacity of the new drives, you need to know how the size of your current Mac drive. The easiest way to do that is via About This Mac on the Apple menu (the menu you get by clicking on the Apple in the very top left of the screen). Select About This Mac, and then when that screen opens, click on the Storage tab to reveal the storage specs of your Mac. NOTE: If you’re not running OS X Yosemite, finding this info will be slightly different, but you still get to the info via About This Mac.
Since Time Machine can backup multiple versions of the same document or file over time, it’s worth purchasing backup drives that have more storage space than the drive you intend to backup. This way you also have plenty of space to backup older versions of your work.
For the full guide on how to backup, here’s an article we posted on World Backup Day that talks you through the basics.
Here’s the added twist here: backup your data twice. That’s right, twice: once to each hard drive. Then you want to take one of those two hard drives and keep it somewhere completely different from the first backup drive. For example: if you’re backing up your office computer, leave the second backup at home. If you’re backing up your home computer, leave the second backup at work, in a safe deposit box, or somewhere that a total loss at home (i.e. a fire) wouldn’t also destroy the second backup.
For iPhones & iPads
Even if you have iCloud backup enabled (which you should) it’s useful to do a complete backup to your Mac every now and then. Plug in your iOS device, launch iTunes and navigate to your device window in iTunes. Once there you should see the above information in the Backups frame of the window. Change the setting to This Computer and click on the Back Up Now button. Wait for the backup to finish – being aware that if you have a lot of data on your iPhone or iPad this could take quite a while.
Something else to be aware of is that if you have a MacBook Air, or other Mac with limited storage, this backup could be problematic if you have an iOS device with 64GB or 128GB of storage. If that’s the case, and you have options, backup to a Mac with ample storage, or if you’re feeling Mac savvy it’s possible to change the default iOS backup location to an external hard drive (like the external drive you backed your Mac to above). If you’re interested in that, here’s a solid guide for how to backup to an external drive.
If you’re interested in Tech Haven’s complete guide to moving into 2015, here’s a handy checklist we prepared that should help you out.
The list includes best practices advice like changing your passwords, updating your software and more. If you want to start 2015 with Apple life optimized, it’s worth a read.