How to Do Ad Hoc Backups of Your Calendar, Reminders and Contacts Data on Your Mac

| How-To

Part 4 - Archiving is Half the Story – Learn How to Restore Your Data

If you are using iCloud services for synchronization of your Calendar, Reminders and Contacts data… congratulations! You may not necessarily need to run through the restore process described below, since restoring synchronized data from iCloud is pretty much painless and automatic. However if you choose to create these archives anyway as described above, it wouldn’t hurt to understand the manual restore process.

For the three apps in question, go to File > Import, and select their respective archive files that you saved following the procedures in the previous section. You will be warned about the danger of losing any existing data if you proceed, so be careful.

Restore warning dialog box in Calendar

Be careful to heed any warnings you are given when restoring data

The bottom line is this: you can run through data archiving and backup procedures all you want, but until you know how to restore the data, you’ll never feel 100% confident about the procedures involved. Practice restoring at least once so that the process won’t be foreign to you during those times of abject trepidation when you do lose data.

An effective exercise and confidence builder for you is to recreate the restore process in a temporary account on your Mac. Let’s take a look at how to go about doing this:

  • Once you create your archive files, save copies of them inside the Shared Folder - a special area for sharing files between accounts on your Mac. A quick way to get there from Finder is via Go > Go to Folder, then enter /Users/Shared in the “Go to the Folder:” dialog box.

The Shared folder

Any file placed within the Shared folder can be used by all the accounts on the Mac

For details on using the Shared folder, please read my article, “How to Use the Shared Folder in OS X” right here on TMO.

  • Create a new standard account on your Mac. You can give the new account a simple but meaningful name; “Test” would be a likely suggestion.
  • Log onto the new account. If and when prompted, do not enable iCloud for the account.
  • Once logged onto the new account, go to the Shared folder – again, via the Go menu, as previously described. Locate the archive files you placed there previously, and copy them to the desktop.
  • Finally, go into the apps in question, and via File > Import, select the appropriate archive files to restore your data into the new account.

Once you are satisfied that the restoration process worked, tuck the procedure safely into your memory banks and log off your test account. You can then delete the account from your Mac, but I recommend you keep it handy for any eventual system troubleshooting or testing.

In conclusion, data backup redundancy is very important. With all the malevolence and technical glitches that happen all over the Internet, you should never be without duplicate or even triplicate copies of your most valuable data. One or more of these, in turn, should be located off-site.

In showing you how to make quick ad hoc backups of your critical Calendar, Reminders and Contacts data, I hope to have also sparked within you a sense of urgency about the importance of maintaining your backups as well as understanding the necessary data restoration procedures.

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Doesn’t Time Machine back up these files?

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