Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bottom line: Be prepared for today's iOS release and keep your computer safe, too!

Details: Today Apple will release the latest version of its operating system for iPhones and iPads, iOS 6. This means an exciting new set of features, like tighter Facebook integration, attachments in the Mail app, a new Maps app, and other great advances (here's the full list). It'll take a couple of steps to get the new version, and you may want to wait a few days since servers are likely to be packed with download requests today and tomorrow. When you're ready, make sure to follow these steps to get it:

1. Upgrade your iTunes. It takes a new version of iTunes to handle the new iOS. On a Mac, you can click on the Apple menu, then on "Software Updates," or in Windows in iTunes click on the "Help" menu, then "Check for Updates."

2. Back up your device! This step is really important! Sometimes software updates will do unexpected things to the data in your apps. To do an overall backup, plug your device into the computer, right click on it from iTunes, and select "Backup."

3. When iOS is released, select "Check for updates" after clicking on your device in iTunes. As the download and installation proceeds, you've got to be patient. Once you've started, just leave it alone until installation is complete.

But while we're talking about backing up your device, it may be a good time to think about other backups. Like your computer. If you lost all your data on your computer today (like if you dropped it or got hacked), do you have a back up of your data? It's pretty simple nowadays to back up your computer. Apple provides a built-in Time Machine in its computer operating systems, and there is plenty of software for Windows as well. Most will back up your computer automatically without your even thinking about it after the set up. Even if you have to get a new external hard drive, it's worth it!

Another option, for people with a good internet connection at home, is to back up your entire computer to cloud storage. This is different from DropBox or Google Drive that holds only a few gigabytes of storage. Services like BackBlaze will automatically backup your computer and all external hard drives. Why would you want this if you already have an external hard drive back up? Well, if your apartment burns down or a thief steals your computer and your hard drive, you're still sunk. It really sucks up your internet connection if you choose this back up (my first backup is still running and won't complete for...well..another 240 days), but it could be another valuable way to back up your stuff.

And after you're done with that, you should probably make backups of the backups...just kidding. There is such a thing as back up paranoia. But it pays to keep your data safe and sound!




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