Backing up for life

The other day, our office assistant mentioned in passing that all the entries had disappeared in the Notes app on her iPhone. Could I take a look at it? Usually, missing entries are not gone, but just hidden. Notes supports multiple lists and it’s easy enough to make entries someplace unintentionally and then close it up.

Not so. All but a couple of entries were missing. Nothing I saw gave me a clue as to why they disappeared. None of her work hours logged for the last month or her family medical records or the many other reminders she had entered over the last few weeks were there. This little slice of her life was gone. And although it could be recreated, it would be a pain to do. The punchline, of course, is that the iPhone was not backed up.

If there is one thing that Apple does well, it is offering options for its customers to easily back up their data. Time Machine software makes it a simple task to create timed backups of your Mac. And iCloud does the same for Apple mobile devices. You just have to turn it on.

I get it, though. In fact it’s a credit to Apple’s technology that people generally don’t experience data loss enough to be as concerned about it as I am. And it requires a little time to set up and maintain. But when you really look at how much important data gets stored on our devices over months, it’s worth taking time to protect it. Particularly with an iPhone that is with you everywhere and is exposed to everything from drops on the floor to outright theft.

Here is what to do right now:

  • Go to Settings > iCloud and sign in with your Apple ID if not already signed in.

  • In iCloud settings scroll down to Backup and be sure it is turned on. You can also see when the last backup took place and force a backup if it hasn’t done so recently.

  • You may also want to sync other iCloud apps like Notes, Reminders, and Contacts which will have the effect of backing them up by syncing them to iCloud and your other devices.

  • I also recommend having Photos use iCloud Photo Library for the same reason.

You can also plug your iPhone into your Mac and manually backup everything to iTunes. I do this every month or so as a double backup.

Because we are so connected and information driven, we need to be aware of the downside of personal data loss and put some safeguards in place to keep it all safe and available.

iPhonePaul Einarsen