Do you have a backup?

If I take away your device right now, and replace it with a brand new one. Would you lose any data?

This is a question I’ve asked many friends, colleagues and family members whose main interest isn’t technology. It’s a question I ask when people ask me advise about how to use their Mac or iPhone. And the response is almost always the same: But all my photos are on my iPhone. Or: But all my files are on that Mac

I could have asked: do you have a backup? But that’s a technical question. People often explain that they have a big drive at home with all media that doesn’t fit on their tiny laptop drive. Which is storage, not a backup.

Rephrasing a technical question and removing all jargon makes it an easier question to answer. And it often shows those people that they have a critical flaw in their system.

The next question they always ask is: so, how do I backup?

One question, and future drama prevented.