Hoping to get control of your Inbox in 2015?

Each late December, when the new year is approaching, I instinctively think about goals for the coming year. Of course, that leads me to think about the resolutions I made for the current year and whether or not I accomplished them.

Many of my goals are technology oriented. You may have some technology goals yourself.

I often hear clients say that they want to learn how to use their iPhone or iPad better, or learn how to use cloud storage.

I must confess that I had mixed results with my resolutions for 2014.

These were my successful intentions for this past year:

  1. Get my husband’s and my computers set up to automatically back up in the cloud.
    Unlike an external hard drive, it’s the easiest and most cost effective way to protect your digital files from a disaster like fire. After extensively researching our options, I chose a service called Crashplan. Now, all of our files, folders and photos are constantly backed up on Crashplan’s remote computers somewhere.
  2. Learn something new on my iPhone, iPad or computer.
    This was easy because it has become a daily habit of mine. I am constantly looking for time saving apps or tips to make my life easier. And keeping up with all the changes those updates bring is mandatory for me.
  3. Create some online classes.
    I really loved creating video courses on “How to Create an iPhoto Slideshow” and “How to Use Your iPhone for Free (or nearly Free) in Europe.” Self-paced, online learning is a great way to learn a new skill, idea, hobby, etc.

My difficult and incompleted goals for 2014 were:

  1. Clean out and organize my digital closet (aka computer).
    Get files organized into folders, clean out the Downloads folder and delete old files. This is about as much fun as cleaning out the basement or garage! I started my digital de-cluttering, but it’s just so hard to finish it!
  2. Clean out my overwhelming Inbox.
    Delete, delete, delete old emails and organize the others into email folders. This might even be worse than organizing the files on my computer, but I’ve come up with a trick that might help me for 2015. I am going to have the computer automatically file emails from past years into folders labeled “Inbox 2014,” “Inbox 2013,”, “Inbox 2012,” etc. It will make the current Inbox look manageable and make it more rewarding as I tackle and clean out each old Inbox. It’s all a mind game!
  3. Organize my digital photos and video clips.
    I use an awesome program on my Mac called iPhoto (there are similar programs for PC’s). It can categorize pictures by date, location, event and who’s in the photo.

Which leads to my 2015 New Year’s resolutions.

Yes, I will continue to work on my digital housekeeping and I intend to create some more online classes.

The topics I’m considering will help you

  • learn how to use iTunes
  • learn how to organize and store iPhone/iPad photos, and
  • learn how to use the upcoming, new Photos program for Apple computers.

What about you? I encourage you to come up with some technology goals of your own.

The important thing is to keep learning, or at least striving to learn.

To help us both get started, here is my “Empty Your Gmail Inbox Mind Game!

Need to backup your computer? Here’s how.

We all know it.

We’ve been told many times.

Everyone should be backing up their computers.

In our house, we’ve been backing up two iMac’s automatically to an Apple external hard drive called Time Capsule. It works great, but I’ve never felt that it was much of a backup solution. Here’s why. It only takes one power surge, even with surge protectors, to fry every computer and the Time Capsule. I won’t even think about a whole house disaster like a fire!

Imagine how you would feel if something or someone caused you to lose all your digital photos and computer files.

If the thought makes you feel slightly nauseous or even suicidal, you need a better backup system.

There is nothing 100%, guaranteed secure. Major disasters can happen. But an out-of-your-house-or-office copy of your files, encrypted and in the cloud, is a simple and safe solution. And it is finally an affordable solution!

Let me quickly explain the difference between Cloud Backup and Cloud Storage. Read more

Getting Your iPhone (or iPad) Ready for iOS7 – Part 1

The introduction of two new iPhones and a totally new operating system for the iPhone is always a great time to do some housekeeping with your old iPhone (and iPad). You may not be upgrading to a new iPhone anytime soon, but you will be needing to upgrade your iPhone’s operating system which is called iOS to the new version iOS 7.

Before you begin any iPhone housekeeping, backup your device through iCloud, iTunes or both. That way, if you accidentally delete something important, you can restore your phone to its “pre-cleaned” state.

iCloud backups are the easiest because they happen wirelessly. iCloud backups are stored “in the cloud” on Apple’s iCloud servers. With an iTunes backup, you will need to connect your iPhone to your computer. iTunes backups are saved to a file on your computer.There are reasons for choosing one over the other, and for backing up both ways.

iCloud is wonderful for having your iPhone back up automatically, every day, whenever your device is connected to Wi-Fi, power and is on the Locked screen. If you’re like me, and not in the habit of connecting your iPhone directly to your computer each evening, you can rest assured that your data is getting backed up if you set up automatic iCloud backup. Because iCloud’s free storage plan is 5 GB, it is not a good option for backing up photos and videos if you store more than 1- 2 GB of them in your iPhone. (You can pay for more storage.)

How to set up automatic iCloud backups

On your iPhone/iPad:

  • Touch Settings > iCloud.
  • Scroll down and touch Storage & Backup.
  • Touch Manage Storage.
  • If you have multiple devices listed under Backups, touch the one you are currently using.
  • Under Backup Options, you will see the amount of your iCloud free storage that will be used beside Next Backup Size.
  • Touch Show Apps to see how much data each app is storing.
    • You can select to not backup data on an app by app basis, which I only recommend for advanced users who are backing up certain apps separately.
    • Camera Roll usually takes up the most memory, so you may want to save some of those photos to your computer and delete them from your iPhone/iPad now. Or, if you’ve set up your Photo Stream to automatically save on your computer or PC (and you backup your computer), you can turn off Camera Roll backup.
  • Go back by touching Manage Storage > Storage & Backup in the top left.
  • From the Storage & Backup screen, touch iCloud Backup ON.
  • Touch Backup Now.

iTunes is another way to backup your iPhone and if you regularly connect your phone to the computer, it’s a good method. You can also set up your iPhone to wirelessly backup through iTunes, but it’s a bit more cumbersome for most people. Your iPhone can be set to to only one method for automatic backups: either iCloud or iTunes. I recommend using iCloud for your daily automatic backups and a weekly manual backup through iTunes because it saves the backup on your computer.

How to set up weekly iTunes backups

On your computer:

  • Open iTunes.
  • In the top menu bar:
    • On a MAC: click on iTunes and then Check for Updates…
    • On a PC: click on Help and then Check for Updates…
  • Update iTunes, if your version is not up to date.
  • In the top menu bar:
    • On a MAC: click on iTunes again and then Preferences…
    • On a PC: click on edit and then Preferences…
  • Click on Devices
  • Check the box for Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically
  • Click OK.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer with the iPhone’s USB cable.
  • Click on your iPhone in the left sidebar, under Devices. (If you don’t have a sidebar click on View > Show Sidebar in the top menu.)
  • With the Summary tab selected, look at the Backups box.
    • Under Automatically Back Up, select iCloud if it’s not already selected.
    • **Optional: Select Encrypt iPhone Backup if you want all your account passwords included in the backup. I recommend doing this if you have lots of apps with logins, but you do have to create a password for your backup file. Pick one you will remember!
    • Under Manually Back Up and Restore, click Back Up Now.

  • When the backup is finished, click on the eject symbol beside your iPhone in the left sidebar and disconnect your iPhone from the computer.

If you know how to use Siri, Reminders and Alerts, tell Siri something like this:

“Siri, remind me to backup my iPhone in iTunes every Sunday at 8pm.”

That will help you remember your weekly iTunes backup!

Watch for the rest of my iPhone housekeeping tips soon!

Getting Ready for a New iPhone 5 from an older iPhone

A few housekeeping reminders if you have a new iPhone 5 coming soon.

  1. Order a good case to protect your new phone immediately.  Amazon.com is a an easy place to see lots of different options and user reviews.
  2. Order an extra screen protector.

    Brand new screen protector and clean phone. It never stuck at the edge!

  3. If you’re switching from AT&T to Verizon start the process to unlock your old iPhone.  It takes about 5 days.  Here’s the link to request the unlock: https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/
  4. Get rid of useless apps on your old iPhone.
  5. Get rid of those same useless apps in your iTunes account.
  6. If your phone is showing that you have apps that need updating, update them now.
  7. Rearrange your apps and group them by most used and/or similarity.
  8. Clean up your contacts just because it’s a good time to do so.
  9. Delete photos from your camera roll that you don’t want anymore.
  10. Clean up docs from apps on your phone.
  11. Delete old notes.

When your new iPhone 5 arrives and BEFORE you turn it on, back up your old iPhone. I recommend backing it up to iCloud like this:

  • On old iPhone, touch Settings.
  • Touch iCloud.
  • Scroll down and touch Storage & Backup.
  • Make certain iCloud Backup is ON.
  • Touch Back Up Now.  This will may take 30 or more minutes.
Next post will be about the initial set up of your new iPhone 5!