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Those of us who like to stay on the bleeding edge of technology have been impatiently awaiting the release of OS X 9 Mavericks and iOS 7. Pundits are predicting dates from early October to as early as next week,  when new iPhones are expected. If you plan to upgrade right away, plan ahead. Major upgrades often bring headaches along with improvements.

Before anything else — Back up! If something goes wrong, you want a safety net. And don’t just create a fresh backup, but test it to be sure it is a complete and valid backup. Yes, once upon a time, I had an upgrade go bad and my only backup decided to go belly-up. Shame on me for not checking it before relying on it. Fortunately, it was my laptop and didn’t contain any of my critical files. Those are on my iMac that has 3 different backup drives. Three? You bet. One drive contains my Time Machine backup, one is a bootable Super Duper! clone, and one has daily backups of my Home Directory and Documents folder. Paranoid? Who, me? And yes, my super critical files are also backed up on my SugarSync cloud account, but… External drives are cheap. You can pick up a 2 TB drive for under $100 just about anywhere. No excuses.

Next, if you are in the middle of a critical project, wait until you are finished with it before upgrading. There is a unwritten law somewhere out there that says the software you need the most will need an upgrade to work with that new operating system — and it won’t be out for another week or so. Another “been there, done that” thing. Fortunately, I have both a MacBook Air and an iMac. The iMac is my business computer. All upgrades go on the MacBook first. I test everything as much as possible on it, and only when I’m sure it won’t break anything critical do I install it on my iMac. Saves a lot of headaches and swearing.

iPhone, iPad, iPod touch? Again, back it up. It doesn’t take that long to connect to iTunes and do a fresh backup. Now, I have run into problems with iPad/iPod backups stalling out. If something goes wrong with a backup and it stalls, go into iTunes Prefereces, select Devices, find the offending backup and delete it. To be safe, I quit iTunes and restart it before trying the backup again. Once again, if something goes wrong with the upgrade, you can revert to the latest backup and try again.

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