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What Are Backups and Why You Should Have Them

If you’ve ever had to bring a computer, phone, or tablet for repair, you may have had the technician ask you if you have a backup before they service your device. Those of you who didn’t have a backup and have lost your data likely remember this more than others.

A backup is a copy of your data (pictures, videos, files, etc). A backup is important to have in case something happens to the device your data is on (loss/theft, fire, other physical damage, virus, software malfunction). Nobody likes to hear their pictures are gone forever and many of us don’t have several hundred dollars sitting around for the data to be recovered from a damaged device.


Backups are crucial.

So how can you backup your information? There are a few different options.


Computer Backups

Use an external hard drive to backup your files. You can do a full system backup of your files using Time Machine (Mac) or Windows Backup and Restore and/or File History. These backups need to be done on an external hard drive. If you’re backing up a Mac using Time Machine, you will need to use a hard drive that is formatted for Mac (you can either buy them pre-formatted, or format the drive using Disk Utility).

Now, the issue with the external hard drive is it’s often in the same physical location as your computer. So if there’s a fire or theft, there’s a good chance that your backups are gone with your computer and no longer helpful to you.

The best way to backup your files would be to use an online service like Crash Plan, IDrive, Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox etc.


Mobile Device Backups

Think of how many pictures you have on your phone right now…any special memories you would hate to lose? This happens all too often because people aren’t backing up their mobile phones or tablets. Many assume their provider or manufacturer can somehow get their photos back from a lost, stolen or damaged phone, but unless the device is backed up, this is incorrect.


iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches have two options for backup. Either using iCloud or iTunes. Backing up to iCloud will likely require the purchase of additional iCloud storage (iCloud comes with only 5GB of storage). An iTunes backup requires you to plug your iPhone, iPad or iPod into your computer and create a backup there. Keep in mind, if you don’t have a backup of your computer as well, if something happens to your mobile device and computer, you have no backups.

Here is the knowledgebase article from Apple explaining how to do either of these backup options.


Android Phones and Tablets

The easiest way to backup an Android phone or tablet is through Google. Backup options can be found in the settings of your phone/tablet. You can also backup to your computer by setting your phone to be read as a removable storage device (your computer sees your phone/tablet similar to a USB drive).

Here is an article that details a few ways to backup your android devices.


Windows Phones and Tablets

Windows phones and tablets have a similar backup system as Android devices. Backup options are located in your system settings and use OneDrive to save your backups to.

See this article on backing up windows mobile devices.


Note with online backups, transfer of new files to update backups will use data. All NETSPECTRUM internet plans include unlimited data so you don’t have to worry about your usage, but some providers may cap your usage and charge overages or slow down your speeds once your cap is reached.


Want to learn more internet terminology? Check out our Common Internet Terms Explained blog post.

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