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icloud-backup

Actually I wrote a post a year ago called “Why I recommend iCloud backup to iPhone users”. Not much has changed since then. I still run into people all the time that have a mishap with their iPhone or iPad such as water damage, it gets lost or stollen or for some other reason they are forced to get a replacement device. Getting the replacement is usually as simple as heading to your local Apple Store and either getting a warranty replacement or buying a replacement. However, these same friends and relatives are shocked to find out that they lost key information from the iPhone or iPad that wasn’t backed up. We’re no longer used to plugging in our devices to sync them on a regular basis. Most information comes to your device via WiFi or Cellular. When you get your new device chances are you’ll have your contacts, email, notes, and Safari bookmarks. You’ll be able to redownload all of your apps and music. However if you’ve never backed up your iDevice then you’re going to be missing all the photos you took on it that were in the camera roll. You’ll be missing all your text messages and worse you’ll be missing all the information in all of your apps. This data can only be restored from a backup and I would dare say that most users out there have NEVER backed up their devices or the backup is several weeks/months old.

If you’re a Mac users chances are you backup using Time Machine. It’s a no brainer. It happens automatically in the background and you never have to think about it. If have a hard drive problem or accidentally delete a file some day, chances are you’ll be able to easily restore from your latest Time Machine backup. When it comes to iOS devices you have a choice. You can either backup via iTunes (via a USB cable or WiFi) or you can backup to iCloud via WiFi. When I help new iPhone users setup their devices I always turn on iCloud backup. Since you get 5GBs of free storage on iCloud and it will backup your valuable data from your iPhone (iPad or iPod touch) automatically each day as long as you’re on WiFi, why not? ¬†Backing up to iTunes is fine as long as you’re going to be diligent about doing it. I rarely plug in my iPhone to my computer anymore and while iTunes will do WiFi sync, it’s usually hit or miss and requires the computer to be awake and iTunes to be running. However, with iCloud backup it happens for me every single night as long as my iPhone is on, plugged into the charger and on my WiFi network (which is every night).

If you like the convenience of Time Machine for your Mac backups then I’m guessing you’re going to like that same convenience when it comes to iCloud backups. It’s built-in to your iOS devices and you have 5GBs of FREE space on iCloud, so why not? By the way, you can still occasionally backup to your Mac using iTunes. You can switch back and forth. I backup to iTunes when I’m about to upgrade to a new iPhone simply because the restore will be faster. Once I’m up and running on the new iPhone I switch back to iCloud backup.

When was the last time your iPhone or iPad was backed up? What have you added or changed since?

I think that a warning should be built-in to iOS that simply says “Your iPhone hasn’t been backed up in over 10 days or NEVER. Would you like to enable iCloud backup now? It’s free.”



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  • Fran

    While iphone and ipad mini are used on a secondary account, I do back them up regularly.
    Every Friday morning, after the trash goes to the street, I back up the iphone, ipad at the same time the Samsung devices get backed up as well. Then the iMac, Mac Mini and MacBook Air get their backups too. I don not use time machine all the time. Once a week works for me.

  • Frank

    Terry, good column as always.

    Fran, right on! All one needs to do is to set up a repeat Calendar or to-do entry, and do the synching when prompted.

    It’s fast; we’re often at our computers anyway; and it means our data has been stored locally and NOT ON A 3RD PARTY SERVER (even if it is Apple!).

    Do we really want to turn over all of our photos, contact info, browsing history or bookmarks, notes, etc. to someone else?

    Now, one big plus is that the info is stored elsewhere, off site, whereas having it solely on our phones and Macs in our house is a recipe for disaster.

    But large, fast hard drives have gotten so inexpensive that one can buy two and rotate them between work and home.

    • terryleewhite

      Thanks Frank, by all means if you’re going to be diligent about plugging in your device and backing it up GREAT! However, I find that most people won’t and then cry about it when their stuff is gone forever.