With Back to My Mac, you can access your Mac’s hard drive and swap files from any Internet-connected Mac running OS X Lion (10.7.5) or later. You can also use Screen Sharing to open applications and edit files on another Mac, to access other machines on your home network, or even to upload important files to iCloud.com.
My iMac’s hard drive crashed. I just checked my external hard drive, and it says the last successful backup was about a month ago. How do I get the data off of my external drive without restoring the computer back that far? There’s still some important stuff there.
Local backups copy files to an external drive that’s connected to your Mac, then stored in your home, office, or even hotel room. These backups have two main benefits: speedy data transfers and bang for your storage buck. Many drives 1TB and larger cost roughly $100 to $200, delivering plenty of room for multiple versions of all your documents. The tradeoff is that local backups are just as susceptible to theft, accidents, and natural disasters as your Mac (don’t tell it we said so).
Thanks to iOS 5, iOS devices now have the option to back up wirelessly to iCloud once a night. That’s a great way to ensure that even casual users safeguard their data, but it’s not so convenient if you’re away from Wi-Fi when your iPad requires a full restore. For more control over when backups occur—and where they’re stored—make sure you connect your iOS device to your Mac via USB at least once a day (you can also initiate backups by Option-clicking your device in the iTunes sidebar and choosing Back Up). Either way, you’ll force iTunes to create an archive you can use to restore data and settings to your device, and even to port your backup to another Mac to restore device settings in a pinch.
Developers have spent all summer putting the forthcoming iOS 5 through its paces, which includes beta testing Apple’s new iCloud service, which can backup and restore data from an iOS device (among other things) -- which will get its first big test this week as Apple purges those developer backups ahead of a gold master for the new version.
Much to the chagrin of Apple Geniuses everywhere, a new report claims “about half” of iOS device owners have never backed up their new toys via iTunes, a move that would certainly make tech support easier. Thanks to the forthcoming iCloud, that problem may soon be a thing of the past.