Over the holidays, iMore readers will take many a photo, adventure through sandy and snowy tundras alike, help their relatives set up new Macs, and maybe just set up a new device themselves. But no matter where you venture off this winter, if you care about making those memories a little more permanent, please: Back up your devices (and those of your friends and family).
Tech is now a vital part of our lives, and the tangible ways we've kept memories — scrapbooks, film cameras, drawings — are fast becoming entirely digital.
We all have these stories: I've lost college term papers, art projects, and ten years of photographs from a drive failure. Funnily enough, the only remnants I have left from that time are film prints from a disposable camera — without them, I would have no real log of my life for a decade.
Many of these "tech failures of Christmas past" stories I've shared with iMore readers over the years, in the hopes that you can learn from our mistakes. And that's the theme of our holiday gift to you, Twelve Days of Tech Tips: Every day, I (and fellow iMore staffers) will tell a story about our tech — and hopefully supply you with a few helpful ideas for your own life.
We are what they grow beyond
Our lives are short, and the holidays we get to spend with our loved ones shorter still. Some of our fondest (and, let's be honest, sometimes worst) memories are made at this time of year.
While not all memories may be worth holding onto over the years, you'll never again live the same second you're living now. You'll never have this year's Christmas Day again, whether you're sharing it with pets or your mum and dad, your drunk relative or your newborn baby, friends or Twitter, Pokémon raids or strangers on Twitch.
If you want the option of looking back at these memories — good or bad — you need to back up your data. And you need to get your friends and family on this bandwagon, too.
Because you're older than you've ever been today, and while that can be awfully scary — it's also a milestone for how much you've conquered, be it this day, week, month, or whole mess of a year.
On the first day of Christmas, check our master backup guide
It's all well and good to talk about how backing up your data is important, and how none of us (probably) want to suffer data loss — but the biggest hindrance to this is the general feeling that backing up your data is Difficult. It requires Fancy Programs, or Extra Hardware, and it probably Costs Money, right?
Spoiler: Every word I just said may feel true, but it's wrong. Backing up has never been easier. You can do it with apps built in to your devices, use cloud services or existing drives in lieu of extra hardware, and there are quite a number of free options.
To help you give the gift of easy backups — whether that's a gift to yourself, a family member, or a friend — we've compiled an incredible resource guide to help get you started.
If you're interested in in-person backups, we've got that too, along with suggestions for great hard drives for backups. (We've even got a roundup of iOS-compatible thumb drives you can use to back up your iPhone and iPad's photos or files.)
You can also check out a roundup of the best photo backup services, if you're primarily worried about the safety of your images. (You can also go old school and order prints of your images, of course.)
From there, we've got full guides on the physical process of backing up your Mac, iPhone and iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch — they're designed to be as easy as possible to follow to help relatives and others through the often-daunting process of backing up your information. (And just in case you or they run into problems, we've got a troubleshooting section for backups.)
If you know someone concerned about how they'd restore their data from a backup after a loss, we've got that too. And if you or a family member was unfortunate enough to lose data without a backup, we've got some last-ditch options for restoring that data.
To all a good night
Happy Twelve Days of Tech Tips, iMore readers. We hope you enjoy this series, and let us know in the comments about your backup strategies (and how you've helped your family and friends back up).