How to Back Up Everything
Years ago, when you only had one desktop PC with a copy of Microsoft Office and Creative Suite, backing up your data was easy. Today, your documents are scattered across apps like Google Docs, Spotify, Evernote, and a handful of social networks.
Your backup strategy needs updated to fit today's workflows. Instead of simply dragging some files to a flash drive, you need to download an archive of everything from your favorite web apps—and remember to do it on a schedule phone cleaner
. Apps with integrations can automatically save copies of your data to another app. Then, once you have all of your files on your computer, it's time to create a true backup of everything.
But first, what if you've deleted a file already and need to restore it?
Undelete Recently Deleted Files
You just hit delete on a file, and you're about snap your laptop in two. Don't. Odds are, you can recover the file.
If the file was saved in Dropbox or Google Drive—or if you made in an iOS or Mac App Store app that auto-saves to iCloud—and it's been less than a month since you deleted the file, you're in luck. Here's how to get your files back.
You know you should back up your files. But it's a chore that's easy to ignore until you accidentally delete that Facebook album—right after deleting those same pictures from your phone.
Accidents happen. Even your most-trusted gadgets and apps could go haywire and lose your data. Or, more likely, human error could wipe-out your treasured files.
Backups give you some peace of mind. They're your insurance for all kinds of digital disasters. And trust me: You'll be grateful for your backup when your smartphone hits the pavement.
Here's how to back up anything and everything—including your web app data—to make sure you always have a second copy in case of emergency.
Originally published June 21, 2016; updated August 23, 2017 with new pricing and screenshots for backup services, and new backup export links for web apps.
What is a Backup?
Ever worried you'd lose a sensitive document, perhaps your birth certificate or ID card? The best safeguard is to copy it and use the copy by default, while keeping the original stored away in a file cabinet or safe.
Backing up your digital files is the same. A backup is just "an extra copy of data in case the original is lost or damaged". In some ways, having the same file on your phone and computer is a backup, as is having the same file on your computer and in Dropbox or iCloud.
The problem is, you could lose your phone and computer the same day. Or, you could delete your file in Dropbox, which would instantly remove it from your computer, too.
That's why you should have a backup of all your data that's stored somewhere safe and separate from your everyday devices (like on an external hard drive, or a remote server). Then if you delete something, or your computer dies, you can pull discarded files out of the digital dumpster.
Fun fact: Backup is the noun (aka "Here is a copy of my backup."), while Back up is the verb (aka "You should back up your computer.").