I'm a father, manager, programmer, scrum master, geek, & movie lover.

Backup Your Shit!

Nobody wants to lose their contacts, texts, music, documents, photos, & videos. Before 2000, I didn’t. Then I lost all my data, and it cost $2500 to get it back. That was just 40GB. Today I have 2000GB. I hate to think what that would cost to get back.

The only rule of backups you need to know is this:

Two is one, and one is none”.

If you have a Mac and an iPhone or iPad, here’s what to do:


  1. Turn on iCloud Photo Library.
  2. Turn on iCloud Backups. Yes, this costs money, but it’s SO much cheaper than paying to recover lost data, and much less painful than not being able to recovery any data at all.
  3. Regularly sync & backup (turn on encrypted backups) your iOS device to your Mac.


  1. Turn on iCloud Photo Library. If you have enough free space on your Mac, tell it to download the originals of all photos and videos. That’ll act as a backup of your iCloud Photo Library.
  2. Sign up for Google Photos (free) and install their Sync tool. It won’t back up your photos and videos at their original resolution unless you pay, but the free plan still gives you high quality copies, and that’s much better than nothing.
  3. Turn on iTunes Match, which will upload all your music into the cloud. This will also make it appear in the Music app on iOS. This can free up lots of space on your iOS device, because instead of syncing to music to the device, you can just stream your own music from the cloud through the Music app.
  4. Turn on Document and Desktop Sync for macOS, but do not turn on Optimize Storage for macOS, because that actually prevents you from being able to backup your files! (It purges infrequently accessed files, so the only copy of them is in the cloud, therefore they won’t be copied to your backup drive).
  5. Move all your documents into Dropbox. Note: This isn’t a backup, because if you delete your document from your Mac, it’s gone from Dropbox & iCloud too. Both Dropbox & iCloud only guard against losing or breaking your computer, not against mistakes.
  6. Buy an external harddrive slightly larger than your Mac (if you have an external drive with data on it, buy an external that is slightly larger than your Mac and current external drive combined)
  7. Buy SuperDuper and schedule it to run daily at noon. When it pops up, that’s your reminder to break for lunch.
  8. If you want to go all-out, buy a 3rd external and use it as a TimeMachine drive. This is handy for hourly backups, which are useful when you do something you didn’t mean to do. It’s likely that a nightly backup isn’t recent enough to help you in these situations.
  9. Install Backblaze, which will backup ALL your data offsite for just $5/mth. Tell it to backup your mac and your external data drive (if you have one), but not your external backup drive or TimeMachine drive. An offsite backup like Backblaze is critical because it’s the only thing that can protect you against flood and theft which would presumably also result in you losing your external backup drive(s). Plus, you never have to remember to run Backblaze. It’s just always running. That’s priceless.

This isn’t really backup-related, but please install and use a password manager, such as 1Password or LastPass. It saves you so much hassle. No more remembering, and it makes it easy to use a different secure password for each site or service. That keeps your private information safe.