external hard drive


I am the designated tech expert in the family.  It doesn’t matter what it is, I will somehow know how to use it.  It could be a pager that existed before my conception, but I just innately know how to fix it.  Which means I get asked for assistance with a lot of stuff.  I try to hammer home the importance of certain security features in order to protect my family members, but also so it makes my life easier if they need my assistance.  Backing up your files regularly, for example, is hugely important.

It’s this reason that I am going to help walk you through how to set up a backup remotely for someone in your family so they don’t have to.  What’s the one question that I get asked all the time?  How do I share my photos between my devices, or where did my photos go?  It’s always about photos.  These are our precious memories so follow these steps to help your mother or grandmother always have access to them.

mac os high sierra

Share Your Screen

To start, do you know how to share your screen?  Trying to give tech support over the phone can be a nightmare.  Save yourself some energy and make sure they know how to share their screen with you when you’re not in the same location, physically. To lay the groundwork for screen sharing, confirm that your Mac-using loved one(s) know what Messages are, and how to use it. Once you’re both online in Messages from your respective Macs, open a conversation with them. In the upper right corner of the Messages window, click Details. In the box that appears, next to their name and photo, click the screen-share icon pictured at left — the one that looks like one rectangle atop another — then select “Ask to Share Screen.” Once they grant your request, you’ll see their screen and be able to talk with them as you work.

time machine

Set up Time Machine

The more backups the better!  If they haven’t already done so, get them to set up Time Machine.  You should also invest in an external hard drive. I know they can be bulky (even though they’re quite slim), but having another back up somewhere isn’t a bad thing.  This is great especially if your laptop dies.  (Gasp) . Sure, some of your stuff will be in the cloud, but what about those things you didn’t get a chance to put in there?


Create a Cloud Backup

Speaking of the cloud, make sure you’ve got an iCloud account.  Before you make this leap, ensure that your loved ones have a fast Internet connection with unlimited data. You’ll be moving a lot of gigabytes on a regular basis, and you don’t want that process to take forever, or blow out their phone or ISP bill.


What a Great Gift

And that’s kind of it.  This isn’t an overly complicated process. Nor is it costly.  Sure, you might have to get an external hard drive, or you could invest in a service to back up your files for you.  But this really does make a really great gift.  This gives you an opportunity to stay in touch with your loved ones while helping them out with something.  It’s a bit of a win-win.  They will always know how to find their old photos of you as a child, even if you want to forget that those even exist.  Consider gifting this in some form to your parents or grandparents next year for Christmas.

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