What is your backup strategy for those family members who aren’t Power Users?

I think I would try to explain to her that her cloud storage is not a backup. Yes, she will have copies of any files or images she has saved to the cloud…but her OS, applications and all data not saved to the cloud will be gone - music, video, contacts, other application data files, email, etc.

Some of that could take hours to reinstall while other parts of it would just be gone forever. She needs to understand the danger she is playing with here.

Plus, any backup plan that only stores you data in a single place is at risk of loss. You never want critical data subject to a single point of failure!

With an external USB drive and a program like CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper she can create an exact bootable clone of her system disk. Should that drive fail completely, she simply plugs in her external drive with the clone, boots up, and is back to work in minutes. The system drive can then be repaired at her leisure.

Note however, if that scenario ever arrives, she will then need another external drive to keep a clone of the first external in case it fails.

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If her computer fails she can go to the library and sign out a laptop or use a station there and log into Google Drive and get on with her work. She’s undoubtedly using IMAP based email so all her mail will still be on a server. I’d also bet all her music and videos are streaming and/or purchased online.

If she’s using R with tons of custom libraries and hours of survey data that she collected or some such scenario then by all means clone the system. But it sounds like her usage is pretty generic. Backblaze should be more than sufficient.

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Smile and walk away then.

If her machine crashes I’m sure the school has some sort of tech support to get it back up, and if her files indeed reside on Google (like most students) she’ll only have to deal with downloading any lost or corrupted apps. (Well, there may be a few files lost that she’d put on the desktop or remained in her downloads folder, but it’s her decision… :man_shrugging: )

This no-touch, let-the-cloud-handle-it future is the future people want. Even Steve Jobs wanted it for consumers and discussed the dream… 22 years ago.

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Yep and since she has an iPhone she’ll have her photos as well. Sometimes we power users can’t force people to comply and that’s ok.

Meantime iCloud and other cloud based services have improved and Apple is offering real service. But you are right one back-up is not enough but iCloud is sooo much better then Nothing. Most users with laptops dont’ bother plugging in a hard drive often limiting the only available backup there is is the first one you made for them :-/

Just sign them up for iCloud storage or if they are family members add them to your family plan. They wan’t even know its there until they need it so you don’t’ have to deal with their crocodile tears when their Mac goes up in smoke and you can be the hero by just signing them in and let iCloud do it miracle.

I am doing this almost weekly, client needs a nuke & pave or buys a new computer. It’s always fun to hear how amazed they are that their stuff comes right back.

IMovie and GarageBand are not part of iCloud Drive. And I don’t recommend adding these folders to the drive since the syncing of the large files will cause a poor user experience.
Same for photographers using something else then Photos. You need to add those folders to the iCloud Drive. But these files might also be so big causing a poor user experience.

That being said, the moment a user is doing things like creating movies, music or using more advanced image editing software they are at a “level” where they should be able to comprehend the importance off and how to make back-ups.

95% of all Mac users just want their Photos library, desktop and documents folder and aren’t interested in anything else.


They she has iCloud storage and is all good. Is there I way I can copy her stuff from iCloud periodically for her? My dad says “oh but Amazon has free photo backup”.

If you have her Mac so iCloud does NOT manage storage and keep the originals in Photos you can make a backup to a hard drive using Time Machine, SuperDuper, Carbon Copy etc. Or just simply copy the user directory (home folder) to an external drive.

If there is some very important data like book keeping, special documents or important pictures. Make an extra copy to a 2nd or 3rd drive (usb stick)…

Today its Amazon, tomorrow G-Drive then there is Wasabi etc. Changing services is risky and chasing the deal is not worth it. Most users cant handle it and will need your help to clean up the mess. Thats why I charge $125 per hour. See how good that deal on storage is when it needs to be cleaned up…

For most users iCloud just works, its invisible in the background and does its thing.
Next step is DropBox if more control or sharing is needed.

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Do you have backblaze? Create an account for her on a mac, log her in, and let backbllaze handle it :wink:

I have a B2 account using Arq to encrypt on my end but I’d suppose I’d buy her a subscription.

so you could do her backup for her on that, just add her icloud to an account on your mac and voila!

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I was given an old iPad Air 2 while I was Mac-less. Became my mums ‘personal computer’. Someone in their 50s who was blissfully ignorant and slightly ‘against’ technology for a long time. Ideal device for the job as it’s easy to use, maintenance low and reliable. It’s also one of the longest lasting, most reliable Apple products I’ve ever seen.

Similarly, my gf had an old iPad mini 2 and recently I bought her the 2019 Air 3 10.5", that’s her ‘main PC’ too, alongside an iPhone.

Both of them are far from power users but still enjoy / depend on this level of computer to get things done and have a pretty easy time doing it. For them, thankfully iOS’s full backups to iCloud through Family Sharing can be done. I upgraded from 200GB to 2TB iCloud Drive space, so they are free to use this space for constant, full backups without even needing to know it. All privately and free for them.

For me, it’s Time Machine on the Mac and iOS backup for my phone.