Your computer is probably one of the most important things in your life. It has your photos, your documents, your emails, your videos – your entire life seems to be on it! So the last thing you want is to lose all of that information therefore backing up must be one of the things you do on a regular basis.
There are several options for backing up your Mac:
1. Time Machine
This comes built into your Mac, you simply need to connect an external hard drive and go to Time Machine in System Preferences, from there you follow the steps to set it up and then it’s automatic. You have to make sure the drive is plugged in regularly and that time machine runs. You could also invest in a time capsule from Apple which isn’t cheap but it certainly makes things easier as it is a wireless backup system.
2. Super Duper
This also requires an external hard drive and essentially clones your entire hard drive onto it – the great thing here is you get a bootable drive, so if your internal hard drive dies (and that’s one of the most common ‘deaths’ on a computer) you can boot your computer from the external drive. That sounds scary but it’s not hard and it’s well worth having. You can get the basic version for free but if you want it to do things on a schedule and aren’t going to play around with AppleScript or Automator to make it do it automatically you’ll want to upgrade.
This is rather like Super Duper but free, again you get a bootable backup of your computer onto an external drive.
This is an online backup system for your whole computer. There are various plans from just your machine to external hard drives as well (so for example if you’ve copied all your films and TV shows to an external hard drive to make life easier you can back that up). You simply download and install the software, then it works in the background. It’s a yearly fee but this is one service that scales and you can back up your external drives too which depending on what you have on it may be a big factor to think about.
Dropbox is usually known as a file sync tool but it’s great for backing up your files too. All you have to do is sign up (you get an extra 250mb by using my link and another 250mb by using an educational institutions email address such as a .edu address or a .ac address), download the program, and store your crucial documents in the Dropbox folder. You will only get 2.5GB of space if you click on my link and use your college/school email address, but you can follow their set up steps to get a hit more space, and invite your friends and you’ll get an extra 250mb for everyone that signs up – up to 8GB which is plenty of space to store your crucial documents, you can also upgrade to a paid plan and get a lot more space.
SugarSync is rather like Dropbox except you start with 5GB of space, you can invite people to sign up too and get bonuses of 500mb per person. You can also choose which folders from anywhere on your computer to sync instead of being given a folder. If you sign up using the link above then you will get a 500mb bonus.
7. Manually copy files to an external hard drive or USB drive
This is probably the least effective backup method as it relies 100% on you. If you forget to back up a fie, or to update it when you edit it then you’ll end up losing a lot more data that you’ll be happy with.
The absolute best way to back up?
Choose 2 or 3 automated options and stick with them. I use a time capsule through time machine, Dropbox, and SugarSync. I’m not paranoid but I know my data’s safe!