How to set up a backup plan for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad for your New Year’s resolution

Don’t get caught out with lost data on your iPhone, or a Mac that won’t start up. Make a plan to backup all of your documents and apps, then make sure you do — and test — that backup.

Call it a New Year’s Resolution if you like, yet this could be much more important than promising yourself you’ll go to the gym more. Apple devices are study, long-lasting, and very well made — but none of that will save your data if your iPhone is stolen.

These days we can be deeply grateful that so much of what we keep on all of our devices is automatically backed up by iCloud. But let us put it another way: that iCloud backup won’t save your data if you accidentally delete it yourself.

Backups are for protecting you against your own mistakes — which absolutely every one makes — and for protecting you against theft. You know this, even if you put off thinking about it, but what gets even more forgotten is that backups keep you working.

They protect you against the time you would lose having to install apps on a new device, and having re-authenticate yourself everywhere. You’ve had your devices for a long time and on every single one you have made myriad tiny settings changes, so many that you can’t count, and which you’ll have trouble remembering to do again.

So you unquestionably need backups. You need a backup plan — which you need to put into action, and which you need to test.

Start backing up now

When you’re done, your Mac will be quite able to backup itself at regular intervals without you giving it another thought. Your iOS devices won’t, though, or at least not as thoroughly as you will.

Plus, backing up is not something you do once. You have to do it regularly, and one way to help you do that is to make it part of your schedule.

Add a repeating monthly reminder to your To Do list, pop it every two weeks into your calendar. And begin it now, at the start of the year when you’ve hopefully got some time to get it going.

What you need

You have to end up with a regularly-updated copy of all the data, documents, and settings on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. If you’ve got an Apple Watch, that backs itself up to your iPhone, so backing up the iPhone covers it.

There is one more…