Back Up Before Upgrading to macOS Big Sur or iOS 14!

If you poll a room of Apple experts about the one topic they get frustrated about, many will launch into rants about how too few people back up. Backups are important and should never be underestimated. You can never predict when your Mac or iPhone will be lost or stolen, melt in a fire, or just break.

The one time when backups are especially important is before you upgrade to a major new operating system, and Apple is in the midst of releasing major updated for both the Mac and iOS devices. If you’re thinking “What could go wrong?” the answer is, “Lots, and wouldn’t you like to be able to revert instantly if something does?”

On the plus side, Apple has made it easy to back up your devices. Let’s take a look at what you have to do to back up your Mac and iOS device.

Mac Backups
On the Mac side, backing up with Time Machine ensures that you can not only restore your entire drive if necessary, but also easily recover a previous version of a corrupted file. If you don’t have an external drive, you can purchase them for around $100. All you need to do is plug it in to your Mac and in most cases, your Mac will recognize the hard drive and ask you if you want to back up to it. It’s that easy. On a side note, since a fire or flood would likely destroy your backup drive along with your Mac, I always recommend an offsite backup made via an Internet backup service like Backblaze.

What happens if you don’t back up and your Mac gets damaged such that you can’t access important data? That’s when things get expensive, and if you have a 2018 MacBook Pro, you have even fewer options.

Historically, it was relatively easy to remove a drive from a broken Mac and recover the data from it. Data recovery got harder with solid-state storage, and even more so with the introduction of the first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, thanks to Apple’s new T2 encryption chip, which encrypts data on the drive. To simplify last-ditch data recovery, Apple put a special port on the MacBook Pro’s logic board and provided a custom recovery tool for Apple Authorized Service Providers. With the 2018 MacBook Pro, however, Apple removed that port, so only data recovery specialists like DriveSavers can recover data from such damaged machines, and only then if they have the user’s password.

So please, back up your Mac before something goes wrong. It’s fast, easy, and inexpensive to get started, and again, I’m happy to help.

iOS Backups
We’ve all seen, if not experienced, a broken iPhone or iPad. They’re durable little devices, but they won’t necessarily survive a drop onto a sidewalk or into a toilet (yeah, it happens more often that one thinks). It’s also way too easy to forget your iPhone at the gym or in a restaurant. So a backup is necessary if you don’t want to risk losing precious photos or having to set up a new device from scratch. Plus, just as with a Mac, things can go wrong during major iOS upgrades.

Again, Apple made it easy to backup your iPhone or iPad. There is no reason not too have it backed up. Apple provides two ways of backing up your iPhone or iPad, iTunes and iCloud.

To back up to iCloud, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > iCloud Backup, turn the switch on, and tap Back Up Now. For backups to happen automatically in the future, you must have sufficient space in your iCloud account. Apple gives you 5 GB for free and can buy more if you need it. I always recommend people to buy more as it’s inexpensive for what you get – peace of mind. To backup to iCloud, your device must be on a Wi-Fi network, connected to power, and have its screen locked. The good news is this option will back up your device every day automatically.

To back up to iTunes, connect your device to your Mac via a Lightning-to-USB cable, launch iTunes, and click the device icon to the right of the media menu.

Then, in the Backups section, click Back Up Now. If you’re prompted to encrypt your backups, we encourage you to agree since otherwise your backup won’t include passwords, Health information, or HomeKit data. For automatic backups via iTunes, select This Computer. After that, every time you plug into your Mac, it will back up.

Again, if you have sufficient iCloud storage, I recommend backing up automatically to iCloud because its automatic backups work well at night when you’re charging your devices. Then, make extra backups to iTunes whenever you think you might need to restore, such as when you’re getting a new iPhone or iPad, or when you’re about to upgrade to a new version of iOS.

If you are a member of my site and have a question on this, just ask by starting a chat below. Backups are important and I am happy to help.

(Image: Hard Drive 016, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jon_a_ross’s photostream)

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