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Tip #8: An Excuse for a New iPod (As if You Needed One)

An iPod can be used as an external hard drive where backups of important files can be placed. The good thing about the iPod is that it tends to be with you even when your computer is left unattended. So chances are that if anything happens to your computer at home or in the workplace, at least the files on your iPod will be safe and sound. To switch on hard drive mode, launch iTunes, go to the iPod settings, and check the 'Enable disk use' box. An iPod icon will now appear on the Desktop and in the Finder windows, onto which you can drag and drop any files you want stored. Backup software will simply treat the iPod as an external hard drive, allowing you to use high-end features like automation and encryption.

On the downside, by no stretch of the imagination can an iPod be considered the ideal place to store files. Bouncing around in your pocket isn't the best place for any hard drive, and iPods are often dropped and broken (I've done this myself). It's also rather limited in capacity, with the current top-of-the-line model limited to a mere 80 GB. iPods also get lost and stolen, so critical or sensitive data should be saved elsewhere. All things considered, it would be unwise to treat an iPod as your entire backup strategy. But alongside some more robust system like an online storage service, the iPod can be a very convenient and easy to use supplement.

Figure 8

Figure 8 iPods are surprisingly useful devices for making casual backups, but you'll probably want to augment them with something larger and more secure.

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