Gather peace of mind for the Holiday season with this simple computer ecosystem.
Always have two external hard drives for your day to day operations. Why? Because the size of iMac and MacBook Pro hard drives are actually getting smaller: You will pay a premium for anything above a 500GB internal hard drive. That's not much room if you have an epic music collection, or a filmmaker, or a pro photographer. So here is what we recommend:
MEDIA DRIVE: store your excess photos, videos, and music (and lesser used documents) on this external drive. There are exceptions of course, but they may require you to have A PORTABLE DRIVE for taking with you on the road. Media drives tend to be 2-3 TB in size and stay at home. This gives you tons of storage for the future.
BACKUP DRIVE: Remember Time Machine? It is built into the MacOS and has saved many butts over the years. Setting up the software is easy. The hard part is figuring out WHAT and HOW MUCH to back up. With the new configuration discussed above, use this math to figure out how much to backup: Add the total size of the Mac's internal drive + the total size of the Media drive. These drives do not have to be full right now, but believe us, they will get full eventually. So roughly, a 500GB internal drive + a 3TB Media drive = 3.5TB. Round that up and you should get at least a 4TB drive for backups. With your fancy Thunderbolt or USB3 connectors, Backups will be lightning fast!
CLOUD BACKUP: Wait! What about that fancy Cloud stuff I keep hearing about? Can't I backup to the cloud? The answer is YES, BUT. There are several fine services out there that can capture Terabytes of data, but at a monthly subscription fee. Also the initial backup is slow. Very Slow. As fast as your WiFi connection can allow.
CLOUD SYNC: What about iCloud, DropBox, and Google Drive? Aren't they already backing up your phone and computer? The answer: Phone yes, computer no. Smart phones like iPhone have a much smaller hard drive and thus easier to back up (you did turn on iCloud backup on you iPhone, didn't you?). The competing services like DropBox and Google Drive require you to move files into a special folder, which is then synced to their respective Clouds, not the entire computer. Please remember that before you depend on them for something really important, like your family photos.