Back in April, we went over the basics of backup. I mean you don’t have to back up all your stuff - just the stuff you don’t want to lose forever. But your backup is only as good as it’s ability to run consistently and your ability to restore the data that’s been backed up. This recently hit home for me with my home iTunes server. I have an older Mac mini set up with an external storage unit to house all of my family’s iTunes purchases and serve them up for our Apple TVs. You don’t have to be a technologist to know that a boatload of red lights on IT systems are usually not a good sign. Yet the picture above is exactly how I found the repository for my movies & music. After all of the tests I knew, I had to declare it dead. So not cool!
Backups in the age of re-downloading. . .
I wasn’t too freaked out because I knew I had things backed up to the cloud. Of course, any home movies or items not purchased from iTunes would need to be restored from backup. But I figured it would be faster to just log into the iTunes Store and go to my purchased items and re-download. Great idea, right? Well. . .kind of. When I logged into the iTunes Store, it only offered me my last 50 purchases. Wowzers! I had a LOT more than that that I’d purchased from iTunes over the years. Where was it?!? Well, it seems that when you buy a movie from iTunes, you’re essentially buying permission to view the movie - not necessarily ownership of the file. As such, the studio and/or iTunes can adjust the rules affecting redownload even after purchase. So. . .I ended up really glad I had backed everything up. I told iTunes to download what it could and I had my backup provider ship me a USB drive with my data. Within about 3 business days, I had all of my data back and my iTunes server up and running again - much to the delight of my kids. But I think the takeaway needs to be even if you expect to be able to just re-download something in the event of a disaster, there’s no substitute for backing up your own copy.