I have written about backups many times before. But I still know a lot
of people that never do backups. And I think I know why. Every time I
have written about backups I end up with a huge list of things people
should do. I have also read a lot of similar posts.
This is the post where I tackle everything, and divide everything into
The first stages will go through the bare minimum that I believe that
everyone need to have. It won’t cost much, and it’s a bare minimum
setup. Then I’ll move on to what I think is a very good and adequate
backup solution. Before I finish the series with my advice on a little
bit more crazy backup solution.
The first step
The first step into the world of backup should be something simple,
something easy; something that just gets you started.
I’m just going to explain how important backups are, before we move on.
Most people that really care about backups have experienced major
data-loss at some point. And you should be smarter than us, and do
something about it right now. You hard drive will fail at some point; or
your operating system might fail so badly that you need to re-install
it; your file system could also fail; but the most annoying thing is
when somebody steal your device, or something like a fire breaks it.
I think moving into some kind of online backup is the first step. It
don’t require much money or knowledge. There are many alternatives, but
I think Backblaze is the best option. I
have used it for many years, and it just works. You get unlimited
backups for $5 a month, per computer. They are one of the few providers
that actually mean unlimited: you can backup all your data, no storage
limits. And everything is uploaded as fast as your connection allows.
It’s also easy to restore backups on Backblaze. You can restore single
files or folders in their web-interface, or order a USB drive with your
complete backup if you need it all.
We don’t have the same options when it comes to iOS, there are more or
less one option. And that is the built-in backup solution. USE IT. You
can backup 5GB for free. Enable it on your iPad and iPhone; and make
sure everything is safe.
But I don’t have anything.
I know a lot of people that claim they have “everything” in some kind of
cloud syncing solution. Trust me, there are always something that wasn’t
synced. Or isn’t where you expected it to be. A solid backup isn’t
expensive, and it might save your bacon at some point.
A good backup strategy
The next logical step is go have a solid local backup. This dosn’t
require much money. Just get a external drive. I always go for a drive
that is at least twice the size of my system. So, I use a 1TB drive to
backup a 256GB SSD.
Just plug it in, format it; and configure Time Machine; and wait for it
to complete. And Time Machine will back up your system every hour or
something as long as the drive is plugged in.
This makes it very easy to restore single files, or moving to a new
computer. I have used it when I’m upgrading to a new model, or when
computers have failed on me. You just plug in the device, start the new
computer and tell the installer that you are restoring from Time
Machine. And wait for a few hours; depeding on how much data you have.
There are not much you can do with iOS. But I always connect my iPhone
and iPad to my mac and make a manual backup with iTunes once a month.
iCloud should be enough. But it’s such a time saver to have a local
copy. Always do it before updating or restoring your phone.
You should have a pretty decent backup strategy by now. But there is no
such thing as “too many backups”. I have three backups, plus a lot of
stuff that is kept in Dropbox and Evernote. I have one copy of
everything in Backblaze, I have a Time Machine backup. And I clone my
system to another drive with
I mainly do this to have a bootable backups. To have something to work
from, if my drive fails.
I also used to have a cloned copy of every single external drive
containing something else than backups, back in the day.
Most people have less backups than me, and a some people have more. My
personal opinion is that you are pretty secure if you have an online
backup, plus a Time Machine backup and a cloned copy.
Different people, different needs.
Remember, any good backup solution should be automatic. Make sure you
don’t have to do anything to back up.
Some people use two cloud backups, plus Dropbox, plus many cloned copies
and Time Machine. I think that’s a little bit over the top. Just make
sure to have a system that are secure enough. So you don’t have to worry
about losing data.