This is not a fun or sexy post, but I am BEGGING you, read through to the end, you will thank me some day if you follow this advice.
Imagine this…You’re happily sitting at your kitchen table, laptop in front of you, reliving your last family vacay (instead of doing whatever it is your supposed to be doing). All of a sudden the screen goes black (or blue, depending on whether you’re on a mac or PC) and nothing works - not ctrl+alt+delete, not restarting, nothing. Panic sets in, you’re telling yourself to breathe, but in the back of your mind, you know it’s the worst-case scenario. So you take your computer to your local repair shop or Best Buy, and they tell you they can possibly recover your data, and that you should, before they attempt to fix your computer, and it will cost you HOW MUCH?? Anywhere from $200 for light recovery to upwards of $1450 if your hard drive has gone kaput.
Here are your options to avoid this hellish scenario: Get an exterior hard drive. Right now. No seriously. Amazon has them – here’s a list and trust me a Terabyte is more than you’ll ever need.
Plug it in and either a helpful assistant will come up and offer you a schedule of back ups, or you can hand select what you want to be backed up – I do my photos, videos, email, docs, programs etc. Make sure whichever one you buy is good for the type of computer you have either Mac or PC and keep in mind, once a hard drive is formatted for one, you will lose all of it’s data if you have to reformat it for the other.
The outcome of this scenario can either be a small inconvenience (if you have your data backed up or a major, stressful meltdown if you don’t). You don’t want your child to lose all the research they’ve done for that science project, or the spreadsheets you have for your budget and accounting. Get a back up device. Spare yourself the stress.
Ready for the next scenario? Your entertaining your toddler for a moment by giving them your cell phone. All of a sudden, somehow, the phone ends up in a body of water, and leaving it in dry rice overnight doesn’t bring it back (hint: this can actually work – if you ever drop your phone in water, try leaving it in a bag of uncooked rice overnight, depending on how submerged the phone was, it can survive it’s trip in the puddle. I’ll spare you the yuckier scenario :). Anyway, let’s say no amount of drying will bring back your phone. If you followed my advice and backed up your data, you’re not worried, if you didn’t, you’re sending out that message on Facebook asking everyone for their contact info because you’ve lost everything stored on your phone. If you have an iPhone, you can back up to the cloud, you get 5GBs free and more than that you have to pay for. You’ll want to back up your photos, videos, contacts, messages, notes etc. purchased music and apps are automatically available for download once you have a new device by signing in with your Apple ID. To manage your iCloud settings or upgrade your storage, click on Settings, iCloud, Storage. This info also applies to iPads which, of course, also need to be backed up.
I can tell you from personal experience, my phone had a meltdown and simply stopped working, thankfully I had insurance on my device (which I also HIGHLY recommend) and I was able to replace it almost instantly, and you have no idea the little dance I did when after I signed into my Apple account; my entire phone shifted and downloaded until it looked EXACTLY like my old one. From my contacts to my favorites down to the photos I had on my home and lock screens, everything looked exactly the same. It was uh-mazing!
On an Android device you can download an app like Helium App Sync, which will walk you through the steps of setting up a schedule for backing up your device, as well as what it should back up.
On any device, you can connect the item to your computer using a USB cable and back up manually. On an Apple device it will open iTunes and walk you through the sync. On Android you have more control and can drag and drop files you want to back up.
I was serious when I started out this article – PLEASE, PLEASE back up your data on your important devices – I promise you, one day you will thank me. If it’s not something you want to deal with yourself reach out, but please do it!