So you just bought yourself a shiny new Mac to replace your old Apple machine. Congrats. Now for the bad news… You’re probably not done adding to your shopping cart. You’ve got a couple more important decisions to make…
I’ve just upgraded to a 2017 iMac and thought that as a veteran Mac owner I knew all of the ropes. Guess what? I don’t. If you’re like me and like to hold onto your Apple products for as many years as possible (versus always having the latest and greatest) you may not be entirely up to speed on current needs and best practices to properly get your new Mac up and running.
Here are a couple of items I had to consider after unboxing my new pride and joy:
New External Drive for Time Machine Back Up
Eliminate the Weak Link
You might be wondering… “What about Barrett’s old backup drive? Can’t he use that with his new iMac?”
Well, sure I can. But the idea of a years-old drive working to back up all of your files worried me more than a little byte…
I say buy yourself a brand new backup drive, and get a good one.
I’m a big fan of G-Technology drives. They’re not the cheapest game in town, but the extra bucks are well spent when it comes to preserving your digital life.
I could have gone with either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt 3 drives (similar pricing) but figured on reserving my two iMac Thunderbolt 3 ports for faster needs than Time Machine backups.
- My Choice: 6 terabyte G-Drive USB 3.0
$199.95 on Amazon
You’ll Always Need More Storage
Now, you must be thinking, “Wait a minute! Why get a 6TB drive to back up a 3TB machine?!”
The answer is if you’re like me… eternally generating lots of photos and videos and plan to move into the 4K video landscape… you’re going to need plenty of storage.
Yes, a Time Machine drive can do double duty and simply store files along with Time Machine backups.
I recommend always buying a bigger drive than you think you’ll need. Trust me.
It was only another thirty bucks for an extra 2TB.
(Isn’t that crazy cheap?)
External DVD/CD Drive
How Old is Too Old?
Thinking about whether I need one of these gives away how ancient my old iMac is.
(If you’ve read this far, I hope you’re a friendly tech geek or a Luddite who’s turned over a new leaf. Either way, I’m hoping you’re not going to judge me when I admit my old iMac is from mid 2010.
Can you believe it’s seven years old! And it’s still ticking. Yes, it’s slower and glitchier, but it’s doing okay. Still, sometimes you’ve just got to call it, before the circuits just don’t fire up anymore. So when Apple announced the 2017 iMac refresh, I knew my number had come up… before my iMac’s did. I think by all reasonable considerations it was time to do the upgrade.
At Home with Discs
So my iMac slid out of its packaging looking lean and mean and without a slot for discs. Actually, Apple eliminated native optical drives in iMacs a long time ago.
Your choice is to buy an Apple USB SuperDrive to plug in or utilize “DVD or CD Sharing” from another Mac.
Apple explains how to do that here.
I appreciate the work-around option, but remember that CD transfer project you started but never finished? Yeah, I’ve got one of those too. I’m not quite ready to entirely eliminate discs from my life yet.
(Maybe I’ll be disc-free in time for my next iMac upgrade!)
- Apple’s USB SuperDrive is only $79.
Considering how much we’ve already spent on our new Mac, I think we can give ourselves permission to take this step.
(However backwards-thinking it may seem)
And yes, there are cheaper third-party optical drives on the market, but if you’re buying a Mac, there’s probably a part of you that doesn’t want to immediately turn it into a ‘Franken-computer’ with some no-name drive attached to it.
I give you permission to keep it all-Apple.
Spending an extra $280 to activate your new iMac is not insignificant. On the other hand, there are always add-on devices to any all-in-one solution. The iMac is no different.
The only choice here is whether to spend a little more on better quality.
When it comes to maintaining your digital harmony over the long term, that’s always money well spent!