I was recently asked by a Mac user about transferring and backing up files for their laptop and mobile devices.  Nowadays, it seems like there is “more than one way to skin a cat” so-to-speak when it comes to digital storage and file transfer. As I was gathering and composing this information, I thought it might be befitting to share it with you all as well.


How to copy files from iPad to Macbook Pro

There are a couple of methods to copy files from your iPad to your MacBook Pro.  While I’m not very familiar with iCloud, you should be able to transfer files with your iCloud account. To do so, simply:

MacBook Pro iCloud Setup

iPad iCloud Setup


Another method of copying/transferring files is by Bluetooth.  This is done by using AirDrop. To set up AirDrop:

iOS Setup

Mac Setup


Another method is using a cloud-based service called Dropbox.   Register for free and get 2GB of storage free.  Files can be stored and accessed by any device with an internet connection. To use Dropbox, simply:


And lastly, you can use flash drives to store & transfer files from one device to another.  It is not the most preferred method (and in some cases may not be supported) but may be an option if need be.  See the following article for more information.



Most recent copy of files

This can be a tricky thing…especially when storing/saving/transferring files from one location to another.  While typically most files are time-stamped (either when it was last created / updated / uploaded), it still may be difficult to determine what the last version of your file was.

The best method that I can give is to devise some sort of scheme by which you name your files.  You can either:

  • Name your files by date chronologically (filename-Aug-17.pdf, filename-Aug-21, pdf, etc.)
  • Name your files by version number (filename-version1-2.pdf, filename-version1-2.pdf, etc.)
  • If possible, inside your file, add information of version number or last updated.



File Backup

As stated before, you can use cloud-based services or flash drives to store (and transfer) files.  What I recommend is buying an external drive to back up your Mac (and anything you sync from your mobile devices).  Thunderbolt drives are amazing fast but very expensive right now.  USB 3.0/2.0 drives work great and are very versatile.   As far as what size do you need, the general recommendation is 2x to 3x the size of your HD (i.e. 512GB, a 1TB to 2TB external drive should serve you well). This will give plenty of extra space for file storage and allow your drive to work faster. I would look at reviews for what model/brand is the best for you.

For Macs, it is good to reformat the drive in a Mac OS Extended format (if you are going to strictly use it for your Mac).  Otherwise, you can reformat your drive (if it doesn’t come this way) in a FAT32 format to make it cross-compatible with WIN systems.  The only issue I’ve seen with that is that you cannot transfer files larger than 4GB.

Once you have reformatted your external drive, you will want to set up your drive with Time Machine.  Time Machine is a native Mac application that assists with backing up your Mac. For assistance setting up Time Machine, visit

The pros to using Time Machine is that it is a complete system backup…so if your system goes down, you can easily restore your system with a Time Machine Backup; you can also do a custom restore where you can easily restore one file from a backup. So if you accidentally delete a file, if it is saved in a previous backup, you can restore that file.  The con to using Time Machine is that the default scheduling of backup is in my opinion too often.  A bit frustrating when you are trying to work and your system is slow because it’s working on the backup in the background.  BUT, there is a solution which I recommend. Download Time Machine Editor which will allow you to customize the scheduling of your backups.  I typically select a time in the late evening/early morning hours when I am asleep and the computer is not in use.


You can backup mobile content on your iOS devices by syncing with iTunes. You have the option of creating a backup on your local computer or iCloud.

Info: Sync your contacts and calendars.
Apps: Manage your apps and file sharing.
Podcasts: Sync your podcasts.
iTunes U: Sync your iTunes U courses.
Books: Sync your books and and PDF documents.
Audiobooks: Sync your audiobooks.
Tones: Sync your ring(tones) and other alert tones.
Photos: Sync your photos. Learn how to sync photos with iTunes.

For more info on how to sync with iTunes, view


Hope this helps!



Posted by synergy711

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