Backing Up Your iOS and OS X Devices

World Back Up Day is just around the corner and the best way to celebrate is by backing up your information!

By Simply Kelowna’s Brandon Marnier

Last week we covered the basics of what a back up was, how to choose where to back up, and we gave a brief overview of how to back up to through the method you chose. This week we are going to go a little deeper and detail how to back up with a few methods.

Backing Up With Time Machine:  
“Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Back to the Future

Time Machine is a built in way to backup your OS X device that utilizes an external hard drive (either wired or wireless) to save your data regularly. Time Machine works by making a copy of everything on your computer and using this first back up as a reference file. Whenever your Time Machine backup drive is connected hourly back ups are made of any changes that you make on your computer. Using the original backup file as a reference allows Time Machine to only backup changes which means your future back ups happen much more quickly.

Your back ups are organized into daily, weekly, and monthly back ups as time goes on. This means that if an important file is lost you can retrieve it by accessing the appropriate date and time that the file was created. If your computer crashes you can restore from your latest backup, or if the crash was caused by software, you can roll back to a previous date of when your computer worked.

In order to back up with Time Machine you must first connect your external hard drive. Once connected you should be prompted with a message asking if you want to use this drive as a Time Machine backup. By selecting “Use Disk” you are permitting your Mac to reformat your external drive (if the drive is already formatted correctly it will skip this step) and begin the process of backing up. Your first backup may take a while depending on the amount of storage you are using on your computer. To access information on a Time Machine backup you can select your drive and open it. Your backups will be stored in a file called Backups. Alternatively, you can select the Time Machine icon on your menu bar and press “Enter Time Machine”.

Backing up your iOS Device
Backing up your iOS device is a very simple process and you have two options. You can use either iTunes or iCloud.

To backup with iTunes connect your device to your computer and open iTunes. In the upper left hand corner your device should appear as an icon. If you click on your device you will see a button that says Back Up Now and once you click that button your backup will begin. This process will back up all of the files on your iOS device. Your files will not be viewable as they are encrypted and compressed to save room. In order to access your files you will need to erase your device and restore from the applicable backup. Your device will then automatically back up whenever it is connected to iTunes (unless you have turned this feature off).

To backup to iCloud go to the settings application on your device. From here, navigate to the iCloud section and make sure you are signed in. If you are signed in you will see a section that says backups. Select backups and turn it on. Once turned on your device will back up as soon as it is connected to wifi, power, and the screen is locked. You can also force a backup by pressing “Back Up Now”. Again, your files will not be viewable because they are encrypted, compressed, and stored on Apple’s servers. In order to access your files you will need to erase your device and restore from the applicable backup. Your device will continue to back up automatically whenever it is connected to power, wifi, and the screen is locked.

With Apple’s new iOS 10.3 update they are utilizing a new file structure which has the potential to save you gigabytes of space. If your iOS device is short on storage, we recommend trying the new update.

Backing Up Single Files
So you don’t need your whole computer backed up but there are important files that you do not want to lose. This is a situation where you have a lot of options. You can use cloud based storage systems to store things like PDFs, documents, pictures, or other files. You can also choose to use small external storage devices such as USB Flash drives or SD Cards (such as ones made by Kingston, iLeef, or JCPAL). OS X can utilize many of these devices while iOS needs specialized devices that have their own applications.

In order to backup single files on OS X to external devices you first need to connect your external storage device of choice. Next you need to find the files that you want to back up. Dragging and dropping those files to your device in Finder will be the easiest method or you can copy and paste.

To backup single files on iOS with external devices you must first find a device that supports iOS. Great examples of these devices are iLeef’s Leef Bridge and JCPAL’s iSave. With an external storage device chosen you will now need to download the relevant application (mentioned on your product’s box usually). Once downloaded you can choose which files you would like to migrate individually.

Backing up individual files to a cloud based service is a great option. iCloud is the easiest option as it has built in functionality with iOS and OS X devices using something called iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive can take certain types of files and store them in Apple’s servers allowing you to not only backup your files but also edit on the fly and see those edits happen on all your other devices (as long as the program supports this feature). To turn on iCloud Drive on OS X navigate to the iCloud preference pane in your System Preferences and click on the check box next to iCloud Drive. To turn on iCloud Drive on iOS devices navigate to the iCloud section in your Settings application and turn iCloud Drive on.

If you have any questions or need help backing up your devices come on down to your local Simply Computing location and talk to a representative.