The difference between backing up an iPhone to iCloud and iTunes

Recently I was hiking in the Adirondacks with my iPhone in my pocket when I got caught in a torrential rain storm. I’m not a crazy case guy, so, as is always the, uh..., case, my iPhone was naked. I didn’t think was a problem. I had on a killer Patagonia rain jacket that was supposed to be completely water proof, including the zippered front pockets, which is where I put my phone when the rains arrived. As it happens, they weren’t waterproof enough (Yeah, Patagonia, I’m looking at you...) and my phone took on more than a couple drops of rain.

I won’t go into the details of the damage, but I wasn’t worried because I have AppleCare + and this was the first time in all my years of unprotected iPhone use that I had to take advantage of it. I also had a full iCloud backup, which put me in good stead once I had a new phone in my hands. But, since an iCloud restore also meant I’d have to be near Wi-Fi and plugged in to get my phone back us to speed. So, I created an iTunes backup before I replaced it at the Apple Store. Yes, I could see my phone in iTunes but the display was dead.

So, I plugged in, backed up and got my phone replaced, and restored my backup from iTunes.

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Starting up using a Network Home and a NetBoot Image

This is the last episode on the NetInstall service, which will let us connect to a network home folder that the user can customize to their liking, using a NetBoot image that they can’t change at all.

To get started with this final ep you’ll need the disk image you created in episode 6 and an external disk to restore the image to.

Creating a fresh OS install

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Setting up NetBoot with Network Home Folders

You may recall from our episode on starting your Mac using NetBoot images that using a NetBoot image requires you to go through the setup process every time you restarted your Mac. This sounds useless, on the face of it, but it isn’t when you use this feature in conjunction with a default image that never needs to change and user accounts and Home Folders hosted on your NetInstall server.

For our last two NetInstall episodes we’ll use the NetBoot service with network Home Folders and Open Directory user accounts.

First steps

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How to use dictation on your Mac

Once again, I am in a place where I can’t work directly with my servers to test the NetInstall steps and images, so... we’ll take a brief detour here to take a quick look at your Mac’s built-in dictation features.

I can hear you now

You may think you have to wait for Siri to appear in macOS Sierra before you can talk to your Mac, but your Mac already has a way to listen to everything you say and to turn what it hears into text. You can enable this feature, which supports over 30 languages and many more dialects, using the Dictation & Speech preference in System Preferences.

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Customizing a NetBoot image

Important: It was noted by a reader last week that in El Capitan you need to bless a NetBoot server in order to use it. If you cannot start your Mac from your server perform the following task:

  1. Restart your client Mac from the Recovery Partition (Command-R)
  2. Open the Utilities menu and select Terminal
  3. At the command line type:
    csrutil netboot your server’s IP address
  4. Restart your computer and start up from your server image

Over the last several weeks you’ve created and started MacsNetInstall, NetBoot, and NetRestore images using the basic settings available in the System Image Utility’s image assistant. Next we’re going to create a custom NetBoot image, which we’ll use to create images containing pre-configured settings.

Last time we did this we created NetBoot images using an image created using AutoDMG, this time we’ll use the Customize button in the System Image Utility. You should note that some of the options you’ll see using the Customize button are also available when using the Assistant, but you have more options when creating a customized image.

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QuickBooks Self-Employed: A much-improved business finance app

I’m away on vacation this week and too far away from my servers to make our last two NetInstall episodes work, so this week we’ll take a look at QuickBooks Self-Employed. Next week it’s back to the NetInstall service.

It’s been about a year and a half since I last looked at QuickBooks Self-Employed, Intuit’s business finance app aimed directly at self-employed business owners that don’t have a corporation and who often have their personal finances mingled with their business finances.

When last we visited the app there was a lot to like about it, but, as is the case with most version 1 apps, there was also much that could be improved. I’m happy to to say that QuickBooks Self-Employed has evolved into an even more powerful tool.

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Starting up from NetBoot and NetRestore images

In our last episode we created two images: A NetBoot image to start an entire operating system over a network and a NetRestore image to restore a block-for-block image of an existing Mac. You should also have added these two images to your server’s NetBootSP0 folder. To verify that these files are here, from the Finder on your server:

  1. Click the Go menu.
  2. Click Go to Folder.
  3. Confirm that the two NetInstall images you created last week are in this folder.
    If these folders are not here, copy or move them from where you originally saved them to the NetBootSP0 folder.

Verify that that NetInstall service is on and working

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