Backup iPad – Vital information about iPad backups
As with any computer, having a backup is vitally important. The iPad is a computer and has the same requirements for backing up as does your iMac, MacBook Pro or even a Windows machine. A good strategy is to have the 3-2-1 approach and what this means is that you should have 3 copies of the data, in 2 different places and 1 of those places should be off-site. What this means is that, apart from the data on the iPad itself, you should have 2 other copies. One of the copies can be on the hard drive of your computer and there should be another copy on an external format. That external format could be an external hard drive, a CD or a DVD, or on a backup solution in the cloud. I would be inclined to have a copy of what was on the hard drive of my computer on both an external hard drive and also in the cloud. So how do we go about having a backup iPad, fully completed, that we can be secure in the knowledge that whatever happens we are covered?
Backup iPad through iTunes
The first line of defence without backup strategy, is to let iTunes do what it is supposed to do and that is to do a backup iPad each time you do a sync with your desktop or laptop computer. iTunes will create backups of settings and various other iPad information and can use those backups to do a restore to the iPad. It is also possible to use those backups, to be able to transfer that information to another device, if perhaps you have bought a new iPad.
A good place to start is to go to the iTunes menu, and click on preferences. From the icons at the top of the dialogue box, click on devices to see the device preferences. Your iPad will have been backed up through the iTunes automatically and you can see in the list the device backups. I can see that on my iPad, there is a backup from yesterday and I can use that, to restore iPad from backup. Also from within the device preferences it is possible to delete iPad backup, but there will not be many occasions when you need to do that.
Using Time Machine on your Mac as part of your iPad backup strategy
Backing up any data as a Mac user is remarkably easy, when you are making use of the Time Machine function within OS X. It is so easy and requires no setting up that it is a no-brainer and can be helpful on certain occasions to backup iPad. To make this work all you have to do is to connect a hard drive, of about twice the size of your internal disk and switch Time Machine on. That’s it done, backups organised, or at least the first layer of the 3-2-1 strategy.
iTunes only creates one backup during the synchronisation process and it stores it in the folder – library/application support/mobile sync/backup/. So if you don’t want to use the latest backup created by iTunes, you need to go into Time Machine to be able to find an older version, that folder, is where you would need to look.
Create a backup manually
If you right click or do a control click on the iPad in iTunes, on the left-hand side under devices, you will see a context sensitive menu, and one of the options is to backup. From this menu you can also eject the iPad, transfer purchases from the iPad and do an iPad restore from backup.
Encryption of iPad backups
When you look in the iTunes summary screen, you will see in the options section, the possibility to encrypt your iPad backup. You will be required to set and remember the password, so that you will be able to access those backups, in order to use one, to backup iPad later. You only need the password if you require to restore an encrypted backup. It will not be necessary to enter the password each time you are doing a backup iPad, during sync.
Restore iPad from backup – how to use your iPad backups
To restore iPad from backup, control click or right click on the iPad underneath devices, in the left panel of iTunes. Choose the option, restore from backup and you will see a dialogue appear, in which you will see the iPad name and the date and time of the last backup. That latest backup will have happened on your latest synchronisation. Choose the restore button and the backup will be restored. So as you can see it is quite easy to have your iPad restore from backup.
Restore iPad from backup, from other than the latest one available
In the summary window of iTunes for your iPad, underneath the button which says check for update, you will see a restore button. With just a single click on that restore button, you will restore iPad from backup to the original settings. If instead of returning to the original settings you want to use an older backup, that you have perhaps an external disk, then the thing to do is to option click/alt click on that button. When you do that you will see in a Finder type window, that you can choose to backup iPad from an older file.
Backup iPad – What to do now
- If you haven’t already set up Time Machine, then connect to a hard drive by USB or FireWire to your computer and click the button to get it started.
- Use SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner to create another backup of your computer hard drive to another disk.
- Sign up for an account with Dropbox, or something similar and have the latest backup iPad, as made during the last synchronisation, copied to the Dropbox folder. Backup iPad to Dropbox in this way to have extra security.